Survivors of catastrophic vehicle accidents and their families met at the state Capitol again on Wednesday afternoon to urge lawmakers to adopt legislation ensuring them continuing access to critical medical treatments.
Dozens of survivors traveled to Lansing to demonstrate the genuine impact of the no-fault reform law on their lives to lawmakers.
“Our carers have continued to work at a significantly reduced pay level; however, we just spoke with our agency this week and they’re probably going to eliminate them, leaving us with no caregivers at all,” Lesley Bush said on Wednesday.
His and Sherry’s continuous worry is that their adult daughter Angela may lose the attention and medical equipment that her no-fault policy is supposed to cover.
“How they’re treating her and everyone is awful,” Sherry remarked. “At the kennel, you wouldn’t treat dogs and cats like this.”
Advocates for survivors of catastrophic auto accidents claim that the no-fault auto reform law has made it extremely difficult for them to obtain the medical care they require.
By the new law, which went into effect on July 2, any medical service that is not already covered under our federal Medicare statute, such as in-home caregivers and transportation to medical services, will only be reimbursed at 55% of what it was in 2019. The rule also restricts family members’ ability to provide care to only 56 hours each week.
Approximately 18,000 Michigan residents are presently receiving medical benefits through their auto no-fault insurance policy.
No-fault has helped people like Rachel Kolar, who was in a car accident around eight years ago.
“I’m not sure if I would have become anything if I hadn’t had no flaws; I’m very lucky to have none,” she added.
But now her family is having difficulty getting Rachel the physical therapy she requires.
“They’re taking away my opportunity to improve; I’m regressing and going backward,” she explained.
Survivors and their families have been making regular visits to the Capitol since early 2021, hoping to persuade lawmakers to find a small legislative remedy to the new medical-fee schedule that would ensure their continuing access to care.
Rep. Phil Green of Michigan presented HB 5698, a potential cure, in January with bipartisan backing. That bill has been stuck in committee so far.
Late last year, several proposals with similar goals were proposed, but none of them gained any support in the Assembly.
A group of around 20 survivors and their families visited House Speaker Jason Wentworth’s office in the Capitol building on Wednesday, expecting to meet with him about their concerns.
“We’re only here because we’re desperate,” says the group “One of Wentworth’s staffers was informed by Maureen Howell.
Sam, Howell’s kid, was injured in a car accident a few years ago. Sam has accompanied his mother to the capitol on each of their visits, enthusiastically telling their story with legislators.
“Inside the speaker’s office, Maureen remarked, “People are dying; families are in upheaval; lives are irreversibly affected.”
Wentworth failed to appear, and his office requested that the group be removed.
Despite yet another setback, the group remains undeterred, vowing to keep pushing for a legislative fix until they can rest assured that their loved ones will always have access to the care they were promised when they paid into Michigan’s no-fault vehicle insurance system.
At least five crash survivors have perished since the amendments went into force, Martha Levandowski, the administrative director of CPAN, an organization dedicated to protecting Michigan’s car no-fault system, told FOX 17 earlier this year.
According to other activists, at least seven crash survivors have died since then. After losing some access to care, these people are said to have deteriorated.
Between September and October of 2021, the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) completed a report commissioned by the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI).
Since the most recent component of the no-fault law entered into force in July of 2021, 1,548 crash survivors have lost access to care, according to their research.
A total of 3,049 medical-care workers have lost their employment.
96 health-care providers claim they can no longer take customers with no-fault insurance, while 140 say they have had to “seriously curtail” their services.
Twenty-one healthcare businesses have had to shut down totally.