Michigan Institutes New Implicit Bias Training Rules for Licensed Healthcare Professionals – State of Reform
Michigan healthcare professionals are now required to complete training on implicit bias, disparity reduction, and ongoing research as part of acquiring or renewing their license.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) said these requirements will apply to new applicants and those renewing existing licenses or registrations. These new requirements came into force on June 1, 2022.
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Two years ago Governor Whitmer released Executive Directive 2020-07, which ordered LARA to promulgate rules incorporating implicit bias training for healthcare professionals. The guideline began as a recommendation from the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities and took 2 years to materialize.
“LARA is proud to help our healthcare professionals provide the highest quality care to all patients,” said Orlene Hawks, director of LARA. “While technical knowledge and clinical skills should always be maintained at a high level, it is equally important that healthcare professionals understand how they perceive and interact with the communities they serve. With this new training requirement, we anticipate improvements in care delivery, stronger relationships with communities, and ultimately better health outcomes.
This training includes a variety of topics ranging from implicit bias to health equity and how to integrate strategies to reduce disparities, including administering self-assessments. Training should also include strategies for addressing the negative impact on biases, understanding their impact on judgment, perception and actions, and discussing current research on the effects of implicit biases.
Starting June 1, new applicants for a healthcare license or registration will be required to complete 2 hours of training, while renewals of existing licenses or registrations will require at least 1 hour of training per license year . For example, physicians renewing their license in 2025 will need at least 3 hours of implicit bias training to complete their license.
These new rules affect 400,000 state-licensed professionals to reduce racial health disparities and improve health outcomes through “hands-on education.”
“Today’s new training guidelines will help us mitigate the impacts of implicit bias and ensure that every patient in Michigan receives the best care possible,” Whitmer said. said. “These rules will save lives and improve health outcomes for generations of Michiganders, especially those who have historically and consistently faced discrimination. They will make Michigan safer, healthier and fairer.
The Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) expressed support for the new rules. Brian Peters, CEO of MHA, said the training is the next step in Michigan’s long history of hospital-led safety and quality improvement work. He also said that many state hospitals already require this type of training for their employees.
“Yes, we might need time for our clinicians or employees to go through this training,” Peters said. “But if we avoid re-hospitalizations, if we avoid complications that require an extended hospital stay, we’re going to save them time with better outcomes.”
Urged to meet the demand for these trainings, the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) said Many professional medical training companies claim to meet the new LARA requirements, but most do not. MSMS said they are under contract with LARA to request a formal mechanism for these organizations to be reported and for LARA to provide information informing them of their non-compliance.
“Physicians who, in good faith, have completed the implicit bias content [should] not be penalized for inaccurate marketing [by professional medical education companies]“said a text message Press release.
MSMS said it was open to reviewing some courses for healthcare professionals to ensure they complied with the new rules.