Study tracking long-term impact finds auto insurance law has already led to over 1,500 patients discharged and over 3,000 jobs lost, with more coming
Study conducted in response to calls for data from Michigan lawmakers
BRIGHTON, Mich.—(Jan. 11, 2022)—The first phase of an independent study tracking the destructive long-term impacts of Michigan’s 2019 auto insurance reform has found that the new law’s 45% cut in reimbursements for catastrophic care has already led to the discharge of more than 1,500 patients and the loss of more than 3,000 jobs — with more losses ahead.
The Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI), a social impact nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by brain injury, commissioned MPHI, a nonprofit public health institute, to conduct the longitudinal study. The results of the initial phase were released today, with two additional rounds planned for later this year.
Tom Constand, president and CEO of BIAMI, said the survey was conducted in response to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and other Michigan lawmakers calling for data showing how the new law was impacting survivors of catastrophic injuries and the providers who care for them.
“These results are additional proof that Michigan is facing a growing humanitarian crisis — one that won’t end until there is a legislative fix to the new auto insurance law,” Constand said. “At a time when hospitals are already at capacity due to an ongoing pandemic, we are seeing brain injury survivors being dropped off at emergency rooms because they’ve lost their care providers and have nowhere else to go. Ending this crisis must be a priority for the Michigan Legislature in 2022.”
The survey, which tracked results across Michigan since reimbursements for catastrophic care were slashed nearly in half in July 2021, discovered from the 349 participating providers (representing 273 unique organizations) that:
· 1,548 patients have been discharged
· 3,049 jobs have been eliminated, including in-home care providers, direct care workers, case managers, therapists, and more
· 21 organizations that previously cared for brain injury survivors have shut down entirely
“Major policy decisions — even those made with the best intentions — can have a wide-ranging and substantial impact across communities,” said Dr. Clare Tanner, who headed the study and serves as the director of the Center for Data Management and Translational Research at MPHI. “Our analysis demonstrates that the fee schedule structure under Michigan’s new auto insurance law has caused a contraction of the state’s brain injury provider industry, leading to job loss and patient discharge. This report captures only the initial impact — additional surveys will be needed to measure the long-term effects.”
The survey, distributed online between Sept. 21, 2021 and Oct. 20, 2021 and shared by BIAMI with its networks and partners, also gave providers an opportunity to anonymously provide written perspectives on how the changes have impacted them and their patients.
“The patients we serve are human beings that were unfortunately innocently injured catastrophically in a motor vehicle accident,” said one. “It is horrendous that we are now being forced to discharge them because they have no resources or are being denied benefits when we have all been told that they are unlimited and lifetime for the injuries they sustained.”
Alluding to the ongoing impacts of the new law, another added: “We have stayed in this fight for our clients and for our staff but we will not be able to sustain without some immediate changes.”
The study comes on the heels of a December 2021 report
from Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan
, which found that the fee schedule “may be unnecessarily stringent and out of line with national peers, causing a crisis in access to care for victims of catastrophic accidents that occurred prior to reform.”