State Rep. Ann Bollin today voted to expand early treatment capacity for COVID-19 patients, ease worker shortages in the health care system and keep schools open for in-person learning
The $1.077 billion supplemental budget plan is funded entirely by federal COVID relief dollars allocated to the state.
“COVID cases continue to strain our short-staffed hospitals and create challenges for schools and families,” Bollin said. “We’re offering support by investing in early treatments like monoclonal antibodies to help people recover faster and testing to keep kids in schools.”
Highlights of the plan include:
Early treatment in COVID cases: Treatments such as monoclonal antibodies often help lessen the severity of COVID cases and allow patients to recover more quickly. Studies suggest the drugs can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death for COVID-positive patients by up to 85 percent. Currently, delivery is bottlenecked at short-staffed hospitals – the House plan will expand delivery to eight additional sites across Michigan. Investment in buying and expanding delivery of the potential lifesaving drugs – and other medicines such as COVID treatment pills that are coming soon – will be up to $134 million. Priority must be given to high-risk individuals, and treatments must be offered free of charge.
Easing the health care worker shortage: With thousands of unfilled health care positions across the state, those still on the job are stretched too thin and need reinforcements. The House plan provides about $300 million for health care employee recruitment and retention and additional support for nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Keeping students in school and protecting residents: About $668 million would be provided for COVID testing overall, including $150 million for schools to buy COVID testing kits directly and allow the state to stockpile additional tests for schools. Another $150 million is on track to be allocated to schools early next year. About $100 million would be provided for private employers to test unvaccinated workers. An additional $90 million would continue the state’s vaccination program.
The Michigan Legislature previously has appropriated more than $4 billion specifically for schools to address the pandemic.
House Bill 5523 was approved by the House with bipartisan support.
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