MDHHS director, health leaders discuss state’s commitment to behavioral health service access for Michigan families through nearly $364 million in budget investments

August 1, 2023

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Elizabeth Hertel joined with other health leaders today at Pine Rest in Grand Rapids to discuss with stakeholders and families how the state is continuing its commitment to ensuring Michigan families can more easily access behavioral health services. The roundtable discussion focused on the nearly $364 million in investments for behavioral health services included in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Fiscal Year 24 and FY 23 budgets.

“Everyone deserves access to quality health care where and when they need it,” said Hertel. “This year’s budget builds upon the current-year budget with investments in behavioral health services that build a Michigan where everyone can live a safe, healthy life. We will work to increase the number of providers in Michigan through scholarships, as well as continue to improve access to care through certified community behavioral health clinics, psychiatric residential treatment facilities, crisis stabilization units and mobile crisis response units to help improve access to behavioral health care for youth and adults.”

Bob Nykamp, vice president and chief operating officer at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, noted the state’s investment in behavioral health demonstrates alignment between Michigan legislators and leading behavioral health care organizations on one of the state’s most pressing health care issues.

“The need for behavioral health services has been steadily rising over the past several years, and this is especially true for children and young adults. Families in crisis have often found the services they or their children need do not exist in their area or require extended wait times for care,” Nykamp said. “This investment from the State of Michigan is a commitment to prioritizing access to care for all who need it. It allows Pine Rest and other behavioral health leaders to take action to help Michigan residents thrive.”

The FY 24 budget includes the following investments to improve access to behavioral health for Michigan youth and families:

• $279.7 million to expand the number of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) sites in Michigan. CCBHCs serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay.
• $45 million to improve facilities for school-based health services and $28.9 million to continue school-based mental health services on campuses.
• $5 million for the Michigan Crisis and Access line.
• $5 million to offer scholarships for those going to college studying behavioral health and strengthen the health care workforce.

CCBHCs are non-profit or local government agencies that are federally required to provide nine comprehensive behavioral health services, including 24/7 mobile crisis response and medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders. Nationally, the CCBHC model has been shown to substantially increase access to care, advance physical health integration, strengthen community partnerships, address health inequities and improve the quality of behavioral health services.

There are currently 13 CCBHCs in Michigan, and an additional 24 provider organizations that are currently receiving federal grant funding to provide CCBHC services. In FY22, CCBHCs provided services to 62,626 unique individuals across Michigan. Approximately 30% of individuals served were children and young adults ages 0 to 21 and 70% were adults.

These investments build upon the current year FY 23 budget, which includes $238.1 million to build behavioral health capacity. Funding includes:

• $38 million for the Pine Rest pediatric behavioral health center.
• $32 million for establishing crisis stabilization units.
• $10 million for establishing psychiatric residential treatment facilities (PRTFs).

The Pine Rest Pediatric Behavioral Health Center will offer a comprehensive continuum of care for children and teens, including new and expanded programs tailored specifically to meet the needs of those who are struggling in our Michigan community. The Pediatric Behavioral Health Center will increase access to inpatient and partial hospitalization, residential services, psychological testing, and outpatient care, along with a developing a new pediatric psychiatric urgent care center and many specialty services.

PRTFs are a new model for Michigan and provide an environment that allows someone to transition or step-down from inpatient care services to community placement. The facilities also relieve pressure on hospital emergency departments by expanding the number of beds for people who need short-term crisis stabilization or residential treatment.

Michigan Public Act (PA) 402 of 2020 created crisis stabilization units to provide an alternative to emergency department and psychiatric inpatient admission for people who can be stabilized through treatment and recovery coaching within 72 hours. Currently, MDHHS is collaborating with pilot sites and other interested partners on administrative rules and CSU development.

Another MDHHS effort to improve access to services is the implementation of a standard behavioral health assessment for children across the state entering the mental health system or the child welfare system by Dec. 31, 2023.

“Children too often wait days or weeks for an assessment to identify what treatments they need, if any,” Hertel said. “MDHHS is developing a customized statewide version of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment tool so children can be seen, wherever they are, by clinicians who specialize in working with children.”

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