By Jessica Mathews & Jon King /

Rehabilitation facilities and in-home providers who help people catastrophically injured in car crashes could apply for $25 (M) million in state aid under legislation sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The Senate unanimously approved the bill after amending it to allot $25 million instead of $10 million. The House blessed the change on a 79-30 vote. The Post-Acute Auto Injury Provider Relief Fund will temporarily reimburse health care providers whose businesses might be severely impacted by the 2019 auto no-fault insurance reforms.

Starting Friday, there will be a 45% reduction in what auto insurers can be billed for post-acute services that do not have a Medicare code. The Republican-led Legislature and the Democratic Governor slashed the reimbursements as part of a 2019 law to lower drivers’ premiums by containing medical costs and letting them forgo unlimited benefits.

Brain injury clinics say the funding is inadequate and a new fee schedule should be changed.

Republican State Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township said in a press release that while the changes offered drivers flexibility and lower car insurance rates, some providers have yet been unable to transition their business models to compensate for the changes.

The release states the fund, which would be operated by the state Department of Insurance and Financial Services, would enable affected health care providers experiencing a severe, systematic deficit in their business because of the fee schedule change to seek financial help.

However, Democratic State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. of East Lansing says the money is “not even close” to what is needed, and called the $25 million “a bridge” between the House and Senate to try and resolve the issue for affected families, who he says “deserve nothing less than that.”

To be awarded assistance, applicants would be required to submit relevant documentation that fee schedule changes are causing systemic losses, proof that business cost-saving measures are insufficient to continue to provide care, and evidence of efforts to alter their business practices to comply with the new law.

The bill now goes to the House for concurrence before heading to the Governor Whitmer’s desk. Theis' press release is attached.