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VanderWall supports $1.2B for COVID-19 health care funding

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee Chair Curt VanderWall on Tuesday voted to approve a $1.2 billion investment of federal COVID-19 relief dollars to protect seniors in nursing homes, recruit and train health care professionals, and provide testing resources for schools.

“This legislation builds upon the billions of dollars we’ve already provided to help Michiganders continue to recover from both the coronavirus and the consequences of the harmful mandates imposed by this administration,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington.

“I am pleased to see that significant portions of this funding will be used in the places it is most needed better protecting vulnerable nursing home residents, supporting our understaffed frontline doctors and nurses, and helping to ensure schools can remain open safely in order to provide the invaluable classroom instruction our students need.”

House Bill 5523 would invest $1.2 billion in federal funding in the current fiscal year, including:

  • $300 million for recruitment, retention and training grants to help health care facilities address staffing issues;
  • $100 million for early COVID-19 therapeutic treatments;
  • $150.8 million to support screening and testing activities to facilitate the reopening and safe operations of schools;
  • $39 million to make nursing homes safer by converting multi-resident rooms into single rooms and improving air quality; and
  • $367.3 million to increase lab capacity to implement and oversee expanded COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and other monitoring activities.

The amended bill has been returned to the House of Representatives for consideration. If approved, it will be sent to the governor for her signature.