Case Management

The Effects of the New Auto Reform Laws: Less Than 2 Months In

 August 24, 2021

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

Starting on July 1, 2021, insurance companies are now required to pay only 55% of what they did previously for routine, residential care services, and rehabilitation for those who have been catastrophically injured prior to the bill taking affect.

Plus, the 56 hour per week cap on hours for nurses and at-home care givers is a huge change. This continues to make it more difficult for those who paid for their unlimited medical coverage to receive the care they need once the law took effect.

Michigan crash victims as of July 1, have been stuck with few to no options or answers as to their health care needs. The future for post-acute care providers is just as dire, as it will be “next to impossible” to stay open with these revenue cuts, John Cornack, CEO of the Eisenhower Center in Ann Arbor.

Direct Impact the Law Has Made Already

In less than 10 weeks after the law was implemented, Michigan faces major changes because of the new rate and hourly cuts for those directly impacted by the law.

Nearly 700 crash victims have already been discharged from their care providers, and at least 1,529 healthcare jobs have been lost due to the changes. Furthermore, 41 Michigan-based care companies have already had to either discharge patients or close entirely.

President of the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council Tom Judd states that these figures are most likely lower than in real life. As the collection of data is a laborious process, it makes getting exact numbers more difficult.

With around 6,600 auto crash victims that are affected by the changes the law makes, this is just the tip of the iceberg. These victims have yet to be displaced from their place of care, but, as everything continues to spiral downward, things do not look good.

Where Will the Crash Victims End Up?

After explaining how difficult it will be for post-acute care providers to stay open with the new laws, John Cornack further went on, predicting that as these providers have no choice but to continue to shut down, the crash victims will end up in various places, from psychiatric wards, nursing homes, hospitals, jails, or even become homeless.

This prediction may not be far off, as patients that used to be able to live, for the most part, independently with caregivers now struggle to get their medications, receive medical care, and get to medical appointments that would keep them healthy.

Adult foster care homes or nursing homes don’t employ nurses that have been trained to care for quadriplegics, those with a tracheotomy, or those on a ventilator. This limits options even further for those whose lives have been most impacted by an auto accident.

 In literally under 7 weeks, Michigan has already started to show the impact of this law, especially in how many lives are dramatically impacted or even will be lost due to it. Though it may elicit change down the road, this change, once more, may come too late.

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