Background on the Section 298 Initiative

The Section 298 Initiative is a statewide effort to improve the coordination of physical health services and behavioral health services. The initiative started with the publication of the 2017 executive budget, which sparked a statewide discussion on the best approach for coordinating physical health services and behavioral health services. In order to facilitate this discussion, the Lieutenant Governor called an initial meeting of stakeholders, which resulted in the formation of the original 298 Workgroup.  This workgroup met five times from March 2016 to June 2016 and produced a final report. This final report included final language for Section 298, a set of “core values” for the initiative, and a set of “design elements” for future discussions.

The Michigan Legislature used the recommendations from the original 298 Workgroup to create a Section 298, which was approved as part of Public Act 268 of 2016. Under the new Section 298, the Michigan Legislature directs the Department to develop a set of recommendations “…Regarding the most effective financing model and policies for behavioral health services in order to improve the coordination of behavioral and physical health services for individuals with mental illnesses, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders.”

The Department convened a new 298 Facilitation Workgroup to assist with the development of the report. The Department and the 298 Facilitation Workgroup have also hosted a series of Affinity Group meetings across Michigan to inform the development of the recommendations. 1,113 Michiganders participated in this process during 45 separate meetings. The Affinity Group meetings included individuals, families, providers, payers and advocates. The Department and the 298 Facilitation Workgroup used the input from these discussions to inform the development of the recommendations.

The Department ultimately submitted two reports to the legislature. The first report was an interim report that was submitted on January 13, 2017. The interim report focused on recommendations for policy changes. The second report was a final report, which was submitted on March 15, 2017. The final report includes the initial policy recommendations and incorporates recommendations on financing models and benchmarks for implementation.