Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Testimony on Nassar-inspired bill package to continue on Tuesday

April 24, 2018
Ex-MSU physician Larry Nassar raises his right hand before reading a statement on the third and final day of sentencing on Feb. 5, 2018 in the Eaton County courtroom. Nassar faced three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County and was sentenced up to 125 years.
Ex-MSU physician Larry Nassar raises his right hand before reading a statement on the third and final day of sentencing on Feb. 5, 2018 in the Eaton County courtroom. Nassar faced three counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County and was sentenced up to 125 years. —
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

The Michigan House Law and Justice Committee will continue to hear testimony this week on sexual assault legislation crafted in response to ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's crimes.

Testimony is scheduled to continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Room 521 of the House Office Building, located at 124 N. Capitol Ave. in Lansing. There will be another meeting in the same location on Wednesday at 2 p.m., or whenever the House gets out of session.

Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, is the chair of the committee and is seeking testimony from medical professionals, educators, private citizens and Nassar victims in an effort to continue crafting the bill package.

​At last Tuesday's meeting, senators heard testimony from Dr. Rose Ramirez, a family practitioner at Jupiter Family Medicine in Belmont, Michigan.

While Kesto noted she was speaking neither in favor of nor against any of the bills up for discussion, Ramirez had many concerns about the bill package and the impact it would have on medical professionals.

Ramirez said she felt the bills could serve to increase workloads for professionals in a field scrutinized enough already.

"I would just be really careful that what we do protects victims and prevents further abuse from occurring, yet doesn't penalize physicians and other healthcare workers with overregulation," Ramirez said. "Those in healthcare, we are in one of the most regulated professions there is, and we keep getting more and more added on our plates." 

The bills — particularly one requiring a longer period of preservation for vaginal and anal penetration records — didn't provide much room for human error, said Ramirez, former president of the Michigan State Medical Society.

That could potentially criminalize doctors who forget to enter a record, cause data loss or otherwise violate the law without bad intentions. 

The committee pushed back on some of Ramirez's statements. More regulation of health professionals is exactly what's needed to prevent another Nassar, Rep. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, said.

"What you're describing as burdensome is a huge part of the problem that we're dealing with here," Theis said. "I don't know where this is supposed to land, but I do know that we should be requiring a much higher standard of anybody who's going to be working in that area."

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