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State issues anti-bias training rules for healthcare professionals

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New anti-bias rules were made final and official Tuesday by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The rules require licensed or registered health professionals to undergo training to help recognize and weed out implicit bias.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer traveled to a Lansing health clinic to make the announcement. She said the pandemic in Michigan is being tamed, but the COVID-19 crisis laid bare disparities in who has access to the best health care. 

“As we work to eliminate COVID, we still have to continue thinking about how to close gaps in our health care system,” she said. “And ensure every Michigander has access to high-quality health care – free from systemic bias.”

Whitmer issued an executive directive to create a task force that would examine COVID-19 and race disparities. The group was led by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist.

“The lack of equitable access to these services, especially in Black and brown communities and less-wealthy communities, has been made visible with deadly clarity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

The new administrative rules could have been blocked by a Republican-led legislative committee, which allowed the rules to take effect without objection.  

The new rules take effect a year from now. The governor says that will give health care providers time to find or create approved training programs. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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