Senate Introduces Behavioral Health Funding, Including MHA Priorities

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State legislative action continued during the week of Oct. 25, including committee votes on bills impacting behavioral health and certificate of need.

The state Senate introduced a $350 million supplemental spending request related to behavioral health. The bill includes the MHA priority of providing $100 million to fund additional inpatient psychiatric beds and $20 million to improve behavioral health services in hospital emergency departments. The proposal also includes additional funds to attract behavioral health providers and add funding to the Essential Health Provider Loan Repayment Program that would allow psychiatrists to be added to the list of professionals eligible for loan forgiveness. The supplemental was referred to the Appropriations Committee, and the MHA encourages the Legislature to quickly pass this important funding to improve behavioral healthcare in Michigan.

On a related note, the state Senate Government Operations Committee reported Senate Bills 597 and 598 that would create new specialty integrated plans to replace the current prepaid inpatient health plans and contract with each community mental health services program to deliver physical and behavioral health services to Michigan’s Medicaid population. The MHA-supported bills were amended in committee to slow the timeline for the transition from the current system, which could now take up to eight years in the committee-approved legislation. 

The House Health Policy Committee approved four Certificate of Need (CON) bills that make no substantive changes to covered services. House Bills (HBs) 507450755076 and 5077 would require CON Commission reports and minutes to be posted online pursuant to certain deadlines and would require annual meetings of the Legislature’s Joint Legislative Committee, which oversees CON.  The committee did not make changes to the legislation from the introduced version, and the MHA has confirmed that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services does not expect the bills to hinder the success of the program. The bills will next be considered on the House floor.

The House Health Policy Committee also took testimony on HBs 526152625263 and 5264, which are related to improving the availability of an MHA-supported non-opioid directive form. The package is currently being amended based on stakeholder input and will be discussed again in future committee meetings.

Members with questions on the state budget or healthcare legislation may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.