The Michigan CARE Act, recently signed into law by Governor Snyder, is set to take effect on July 12, 2016. Michigan becomes the 29th state to enact the CARE Act, which is intended to support and equip family caregivers with information and training when loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. A copy of Public Act No. 85 is available here.

The new law will require hospitals to:

  • Record the name of the family caregiver at admission (plus relationship to patient, telephone number, and other contact information);
  • Notify the family caregiver when the patient is going to be discharged or moved to another facility; and
  • Provide instructions to the caregiver about any medication and treatment instructions (i.e., the discharge plan) he or she will need to perform when the patient returns home.

As part of the process of providing instructions to caregivers, the CARE Act requires that such instructions be communicated, to the extent possible, in “nontechnical language” and in a “culturally competent manner” and in accordance with the hospital's language access services. The discharge instructions also must be documented in the patient’s file, including, at a minimum, “the date, time, and contents of the instruction.”

The legislation was supported by the AARP, as well as nurses, who have been pushing a nationwide effort to lobby states to adopt the CARE Act. The Michigan Health & Hospital Association opposed the bill.

With the implementation of the CARE Act a little over a month away, it’s important that hospitals, physicians, nurses and other staff members involved in the care and discharge of patients begin preparing for the law’s requirements. If you have any questions, or require assistance regarding compliance, please contact Gary J. McRay at (517) 371-8285 or Julie L. Hamlet at (616) 796-2515.