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Thereafter, defendants filed a motion for summary disposition under MCR 2. In response, Centennial made the same arguments it had made in support of its motion for declaratory judgment and preliminary and permanent injunction, i.
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Centennial also argued that the need for an evidentiary record precluded summary disposition under MCR 2. With regard to the issue of. With respect to the remaining issue, which is as to the status of these accident and incident reports, we have state section that says that information generated for a nursing home quality assurance and peer review committee is confidential. The legislature, I think, wants to encourage full and free discussion by peer review and quality assurance committees of shortcomings in nursing home operation.
It wants to make certain that those discussions can be based upon complete and reliable information furnished the committee without fear of civil repercussions in litigation for money damages by those who may have been involved or suffered the injures giving rise to the review. At the same time, the legislature has delegated to the state agency here the power to promulgate rules and regulations regarding reports in connection with nursing home activities.
And we have rule which says that the nursing home has an obligation to maintain accident and incident reports. It seems pretty clear to the Court that the problem stems from the fact that those reports and that information can be used in a broad variety of contexts without the protection of the confidentiality cloak thrown over similar information that may be submitted to a peer review committee.
It seems to me that the answer to that question is a matter of law, and as a matter of law, I think the answer is yes. Centennial first argues on appeal that the trial court erred in granting summary disposition to defendants. Centennial asserts that the plain and unambiguous language of MCL Acknowledging the importance of the peer review process, defendants counter that there is nothing in the history of the privilege to suggest that the Legislature intended that a health care facility could use the process as a repository for any and all information it saw fit to deposit therein.
Defendants further assert that in order to effectuate its statutorily mandated responsibilities, both on the state and federal level, MDCIS promulgated R Both of these questions are subject to de novo review. The existence of a privilege is a mixed question of fact and law. The court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts.
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The starting place for the search for intent is the language used in the statute. However, judicial construction is appropriate when reasonable minds can differ with regard to the meaning of the statutory language. Centennial argues that MCL We disagree. MCL The records, data, and knowledge collected for or by individuals or committees assigned a peer review function in a health facility or agency, or an institution of higher education in this state that has colleges of osteopathic and human medicine, are confidential, shall be used only for the purposes provided in this article, are not public records, and are not subject to court subpoena.
All of the following records shall be kept in the home and shall be available to the director or his or her authorized representative for review and copying if necessary:. An accident record or incident report shall be prepared for each accident or incident involving a patient, personnel, or visitor and shall include all of the following information:. Subsection 8 defines the types of items that can fall under the peer review by class and subclass.
In Marchand , a doctor had, of his own volition, kept records on a medical procedure he had used. In so doing, the Court distinguished Marchand , and offered the following reasoning:.
As in any situation regarding application for professional employment, [the physician seeking staff privileges]. In that sense, materials in the file relating to. In the case at bar, we believe that the collection requirement must be limited by the function of the committee and the interest the privilege is designed to protect. The privilege is designed to assure that honest assessment and review of performance is undertaken in peer review committees.
It is assumed that candid and conscientious evaluation would be undermined if the work of the peer review committee was not, in some way, privileged.
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The rationale for protecting the confidentiality of the records, data, and knowledge of such committees was set forth in an oft-quoted opinion of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia:. Candid and conscientious evaluation of clinical practices is a sine qua non of adequate hospital care. To subject the discussions and deliberations to the discovery process, without a showing of exceptional necessity, would result in terminating such deliberations.
We conclude that this is simply to broad a reading of the statutory privilege. Certainly, in the abstract, a peer review committee cannot properly review performance in a facility without hard facts at its disposal. However, it is not the facts themselves that are at the heart of the peer review process. Rather, it is what is done with those facts that is essential to the internal review process, i. Simply put, the logic of the principle of confidentiality in the peer review context does not require construing the limits of the privilege to cover any-and-all factual material that is assembled at the direction of a peer review committee.
This provision broadens the coordination required in M.
Thus, contrary to the Court of Appeals analysis, M. While M. Our application of the plain language of these provisions does not render M.
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If Congress again chooses to require broad coordination, the additional reduction prescribed in subsection 27 f 5 will be triggered. That federal law does not presently require the reduction does not render M. Because M. The Court of Appeals stated in dictum that even if M. That subdivision provides:. Amounts paid to individuals in the course of liquidation of a private pension or retirement fund because of termination of the business or of a plant or department of the business of the employer involved shall not be considered to be retirement benefits. The Court of Appeals determined that plaintiff's pension was not a retirement benefit within the meaning of M.
This factual conclusion was erroneous. Although the Ameritech Traverse City office was closed, the record does not reflect that the pension fund was liquidated. As such, liquidation would involve the Ameritech pension fund distributing all its assets. The distribution of a single employee's vested interest is not a liquidation of the pension fund.
In addition, plaintiff could have elected to accept her pension benefits as a monthly annuity, which clearly refutes the Court of Appeals conclusion that the fund had been liquidated. Our dissenting colleague maintains that we misconstrue the meaning of M. We reject the dissent's view. The meaning of the phrase in M. A word is not rendered ambiguous, however, merely because a dictionary defines it in a variety of ways.
Upjohn Co. Herald Co. Bay City, Mich. This doctrine stands for the principle that a word or phrase is given meaning by its context or setting. Genesee Co. Livonia Schs, Mich. Moreover, the dissent does not explain how the fund was liquidated where, as discussed above, plaintiff could have chosen to collect her pension benefits as a monthly annuity. Further, the dissent asserts that M. We do not apply preferential rules of statutory interpretation, however, without first discovering an ambiguity and attempting to discern the legislative intent underlying the ambiguous words.
Crowe v. Detroit, Mich. Our constitutional obligation is to interpret, not to rewrite, the law. The Legislature apparently determined that the same result should obtain regardless of whether an employee opts for a monthly annuity or for a lump-sum payment. Here, if plaintiff had elected a monthly annuity in lieu of the lump-sum payment, no question would exist that she would have been ineligible to receive unemployment benefits.
Moreover, plaintiff chose to accept her pension benefits instead of relocating to another Ameritech office. Ameritech had offered plaintiff the opportunity to continue her employment in another location, but she declined to do so. While the dissent contends that plaintiff had no choice but to accept her pension benefits, the record does not support this assertion. Accordingly, the condition set forth in M. It is undisputed that plaintiff received a pension benefit on the basis of her age and years of service.
Mesc Revised Benefit Interpretation No. App at 47, N. While this issue is one of first impression in the context of unemployment compensation, it has been addressed in the somewhat analogous context of worker's compensation. White v. McLouth Steel Products, decided sub nom Corbett v.
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Plymouth Twp. The question was whether the nontaxable nature of the rollover transfer precluded coordination of the retirement payments with the worker's compensation benefits. This Court ruled in favor of the employee. This Court also stated that its interpretation was consistent with the language of M.