Case Management, Legal Support

A Potential Critical Care Crisis in Michigan

 May 24, 2021

By  Deborah L Weiner Katz, OTR/L, CCM, CLCP

A new auto insurance law is set to go into effect on July 1. Although it was signed into law almost 2 years ago and have gone into effect incrementally, the worst changes are yet to come. Many are worried, if something isn’t done to alter the law before it goes into effect, then it could leave thousands without the critical care they need.

What’s at Stake

Currently, there are about 18,000 people receiving care through Michigan Catastrophic Claims Fund, which assists those who need long term catastrophic care due to car accident injuries. These individuals paid for No Fault coverage for injuries, which may have occurred as long as 50 years ago, will have their benefits taken away. In addition, newly injured individuals with serious injuries will also be impacted.

The law that goes into effect in less than 60 days will cut insurance payment rates for home health care providers, caregivers, case managers, and many other providers by 45%. That means thousands of healthcare providers and nurses will lose their jobs and medical facilities specializing in care for people with auto injuries will close. Many of these facilities offer highly specialized care for individuals with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or other serious medical problems resulting from an accident. The people in need of these services and care facilities will be left without care and nowhere to go. Michigan’s public long-term care facilities simply can’t absorb the potential influx of new patients.

Citizens Fighting Back

Members of the Facebook group We Can’t Wait are pushing Michigan lawmakers to pass two bills that would reverse the drastic cuts and replace them with a fair and reasonable fee structure.

However, these two bills are stuck in the insurance committee. We Can’t Wait is putting the blame for the delay on Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.

Mike Shirkey’s office issued this statement in response:

“These are certainly difficult and heart-wrenching circumstances, and we will look at taking up additional reforms that may be necessary when (the) plan goes fully into effect in July.”

But, the group We Can’t Wait fears that if the senator waits until July, then it may be too late to avert a crisis.

What You Can Do

The group is urging Michigan residents to mail pictures and stories about their loved ones who depend on the Michigan No Fault system for benefits to their senators and the Governor. In addition, Michigan voters should ask them to support the passage of bills SB314 and HB4486, which would reverse the drastic cuts. They are urging citizens and providers to make phone calls, write letters, sign petitions, and continue to support their efforts before these changes go into effect. Become a member of this group or CPAN- Coalition to Protect Auto No Fault for help in figuring out who to call or what to say. Feel free to contact debbieweiner@advancedrm.com with additional questions/concerns.

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