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News Notes from the CEO- September 2022

September News 2022 Update

For many, the month of September signals the end of summer, the beginning of autumn, and the start of a new school year. For many of us, Labor Day (the first Monday in September) means the end of summer vacation, but, it’s important to keep in mind the true history behind this holiday: Labor Day is a celebration of laborers, of workers. And, it was introduced at a time when labor meant something far more grueling than it generally does today. It became a federal holiday in 1894 to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States.

Behavioral Integration

Health care and health policy experts in Michigan all agree that the behavioral health system is not meeting the needs of Michiganders. At its core, the proposal would better integrate the Medicaid program financially, operationally, and clinically through a public procurement the creation of specialty integrated plans (SIPs). Senate Bills 597598 aim to integrate behavioral health and physical health financing from public prepaid inpatient health plans (PIHPs) to private Medicaid health plans, in hopes of improving whole person outcomes.

The Senate Bills 597 & 598 appear to eliminate local control and local decision making. The new version of SB 598 could give our local mental health care decisions to out-of-state based for-profit insurance companies. The big question that we must ask is if these bills will improve the behavioral health care for Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens. In short, this proposal moves the management of the state’s Medicaid behavioral health dollars from the public sector, who has managed it since 1964.

Although the existing CMH system is far from perfect, privatization could put profits ahead of what is in the best interest of the more than 300,000 Michiganders with mental health and/or developmental disabilities who rely on the critical supports and services the current system provides. Privatization could mean less person-centeredness, less choice, and greatly reduced financial transparency’ Some Goals for an improved system: 

  • Broaden access to quality care

  • Improve coordination & cut red tape

  • Increase behavioral health investment and financial stability & transparency.

Core values to preserve and strengthen:

  • Person-centered

  • Self-determined

  • Family-driven

  • Community-based

  • Recovery-oriented

  • Culturally competent

  • Evidence-based.

Best Regards,

Kevin McGuckin

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