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MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel speaks to behavioral health at Detroit CIT Conference

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) director Elizabeth Hertel spoke today at the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) International Conference in Detroit, highlighting recent behavioral health investments, projects and partnerships across the state.

Like MDHHS, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Michigan and CIT International advocate for improved access to high-quality behavioral health care. The CIT conference features sessions on crisis intervention training, de-escalation, veteran outreach, juvenile mental health and more. The conference brings together state and community partners who work to improve access to behavioral health care and improve the network of providers in communities to make sure residents get the right care they need quickly.

“Everyone deserves to have access to health care, including behavioral health care, where and when they need it, said MDHHS Director Hertel. “As part of its efforts, MDHHS is strengthening a continuum of care for everyone, especially for children. This means making sure we have and retain behavioral health care workers to ensuring access to care as quickly and closely as possible.” 

Under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s leadership, the Fiscal Year 2023 budget included: 

  • $10 million for loan assistance to attract and retain behavioral health professionals.
  • $3 million to continue to implement MiCAL statewide, a behavioral health crisis intervention and support call center available to individuals and families.  
  • $223.1 million in one-time funding for programs such as:  
  • McLaren Northern Michigan adolescent partial hospitalization ($5 million); 
  • U of M Medicine children’s emergency psychiatry and day program for children and adults ($11 million);
  • Team Wellness adolescent behavioral wraparound health care program ($8 million); 
  • Bay County pediatric psychiatric inpatient ($5 million); and,
  • Detroit Children’s Hospital psychiatric ($5 million).  
  • $57.8 million in funding to improve access to community-based and inpatient behavioral health care such as:  
  • Purchase access to private inpatient community-based services ($29.7 million);
  • Employee funding to oversee community-based programs ($750,000); 
  • Two additional units at Hawthorn Center ($10.5 million); and,
  • Behavioral health homes in new counties ($16.8 million gross). 

The Fiscal Year 2024 budget, recently signed by Gov. Whitmer, makes key investments that build upon recent budgets and current work to strengthen health care access, close equity gaps and make Michigan the best place to raise a family. It includes:

  • $279.7 million to expand Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, which serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay. There are currently 13 CCBHCs in Michigan.
  • $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. 

Michigan is also working with the federal government to add a benefit to the state Medicaid program for youth and adolescents with complex behavioral health conditions to provide a hospital level of care in a community setting. Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility Providers (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.

An additional MDHHS project is the implementation of a standard behavioral assessment for children across the state entering the mental health system or the child welfare system to address delays in assessment and treatment. This customized statewide version of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment tool will help ensure children can be seen wherever they are by clinicians who specialize in working with youth.

Critical to these efforts are trusted partners like NAMI Michigan, which is represented on the Mental Health Diversion Council housed within MDHHS. NAMI started CIT International in 1988. The CIT program is a broad community partnership that includes law enforcement, first responders, mental health providers, behavioral health professionals, community members with lived experiences and other partners to improve community responses to mental health crises, advocate for proactive access to care and reduce stigma.

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