Gov. Rick Snyder: Department of Health and Human Services to help Michiganders lead healthier, productive lives

Department to take lead in River of Opportunity, approach to services

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today recognized the launch of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the new department charged with helping all Michiganders lead healthier, more productive lives.

Snyder was joined at the Ingham County Department of Health and Human Services by Nick Lyon, director of the MDHHS, along with other MDHHS leaders, and community partners.

“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is about promoting the River of Opportunity by focusing on people to improve outcomes,” Snyder said. “By aligning programs in a smarter way with less fragmentation, we can do more to ensure that our efforts are coordinated and that our residents are receiving the services they need to lead healthier lives and help them gain independence and support their families.”

The Ingham County office was selected as the site of Tuesday’s event because of the existing coordination of services among agencies located at that office or nearby. In addition to MDHHS, the Ingham County Health Department and Ingham County Department of Veterans Affairs office is at that location, and Community Mental Health of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham is within a few blocks.

“As the new Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, we are focused on promoting health, wellness and self-sufficiency in all stages of life,” Lyon said. “The launch of this new department marks weeks of collaboration with our partners internally and externally. I look forward to the coming months as we work to improve access to the resources and information necessary to improve the lives of all Michigan residents.”

The MDHHS was first announced in the Governor’s 2015 State of the State address, and became official Friday, April 10 at 11:59 p.m. Nick Lyon was tapped to lead MDHHS in the executive order issued Feb. 9, 2015. The executive order announced the creation of MDHHS through the merger of the former Michigan Departments of Community Health and Human Services.

The MDHHS organizational structure reflects the department’s vision and priority areas, and as such will have a special emphasis on children’s services, aging and adult services, service delivery/ community operations, health services and family support, as well as population health and community services.

Lansing foster parent Abby Nowiski said during the event that coordination involving the former DHS, MDCH and Community Mental Health has helped her and her husband, Dan, assist foster children with mental health needs. The agencies have worked with each other, the Nowiskis and biological parents of the children -- the type of coordination that will be expanded upon with creation of MDHHS.

Under the new model, the Office of Services to the Aging was restructured with an expanded scope as the Aging and Adult Services Agency. The executive order called for this agency to be comprehensive in its focus on coordinating all services for Michigan’s adult and aging population so that adults and seniors receive the services that best fit their needs.

Additionally, the launch of MDHHS was accompanied by the transfer of the Autism Council and State Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to the new department. Additionally, most licensing processes currently within the Office of Children and Adult Services have been transferred from the former Department of Human Services to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Lyon brings a wealth of health policy and budget expertise to his new role. Before joining MDCH and serving in multiple leadership roles, Lyon served as director of the Office of Budget Development and General Government within the State Budget Office and as finance officer for the Department of Attorney General.