Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hedshot
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty Images News)

A bill passed last week by the Michigan legislature, if signed by the governor, will provide $414 million for healthcare providers via federal relief funding.

The package is part of a $1.2 billion proposal aimed at addressing healthcare needs and providing more COVID-19 relief in Michigan communities.

In addition to funding recruitment and retention efforts among the healthcare industry and funding for skilled nursing facilities, the $414 million for healthcare providers includes:

  • $70 million for licensed adult foster care facilities, homes for the aged and facilities that care for the elderly or adults with developmental disabilities to offset pandemic-associated expense increases;
  • $29 million to fund structural and operational improvements to help reduce the spread of infectious disease; and
  • $10 million to reimburse nursing facilities for half the cost of converting semi-private resident rooms into private rooms. Facilities would have to provide the remaining funds.

The Republican-sponsored plan, which passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support, would provide approximately $300 million for healthcare employee recruitment and retention and $114 million in additional support for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state Rep. Julie Calley (R), a co-sponsor.

Health Care Association of Michigan/Michigan Center for Assisted Living President/CEO Melissa Samuel told the McKnight’s Business Daily that the bill allocates $70 million to establish a grant program of $700/bed for adult foster care facilities, homes for the aged (both licensed and exempt) and nonlicensed residential settings for older adults and individuals with disabilities to cover COVID-19 pandemic costs.

“Specifically, skilled nursing facilities or assisted living communities will be eligible to apply for four grant programs: [adult foster care/homes for the aged] bed grants, infection control, private room conversion and respiratory protection,” she said, adding that HCAM/MCAL, the state affiliate of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, “strongly supports” the grant opportunities.

“This is a good example of using federal COVID relief funds to get help where it is needed most — and this help is definitely needed as soon as possible,” stated Rep. Annette Glenn (R), the bill’s other co-sponsor.

Dalton Herbel, director of public policy for LeadingAge Michigan, told the McKnight’s Business Daily that the $414 million for healthcare providers is “a testament to bipartisan negotiation. The Michigan House of Representatives, Senate and governor’s office were all involved and worked to get the bill passed. We anticipate it’s signature, as-is, in the coming days.” 

In addition to workforce provisions and COVID-19 therapies, $509.5 million of the Michigan bill funding would be sourced from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act, with the remainder sourced from other grants provided under ARPA, grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal fund sources. 

Michigan added 5,716 cases of COVID-19 and 152 deaths from the virus on Friday, including Thursday totals, the Detroit News reported.