New Michigan policy to increase funding for mental health clinics

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)—There’s a new move to help the mental health crisis in Michigan.

Beginning this month certified community behavioral health clinics, and addiction clinics will be reimbursed through Medicaid for its services the same way our state pays for physical health care. The initiative is being called, “The Behavioral Health Initiative.”

The initiative aims to provide extra funding to mental health clinics to expand access.

“We have been able to put some services we didn’t have before like our services navigator,” said Dr. Sara Lurie, The Chief Executive Officer of the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties, “and some mobile crisis services.”

The organization offers mental health services to emergency rooms, Veteran services, and local law enforcement. Dr. Lurie says people who aren’t able to access support earlier in a mental health crisis will utilize resources such as, “clinic crisis services.”

Dr. Lurie stated they previously relied on grants to expand services, and says the organization is one of the 13 clinics to be reimbursed by Medicaid.

“Part of our mission is that people with behavioral health needs have a good quality of life and are able to participate fully as citizens in the community,” Dr. Lurie stated.

“Generally about 20 % of those folks who have a substance abuse problem really do have mental health issues that need to be dealt with,” said Phil Pavona, Founder of nonprofit, Families Against Narcotics.

Pavona says mental health and addiction go hand-in-hand.

“We know that people who suffer from both substance abuse and mental health there’s often this very small window of opportunity to where you found them in the community and can provide help for them,” Pavona stated.

“No person struggling with mental health issues or addiction should ever go without the treatment they need because grant funding runs out. Health care is health care – whether it is above the neck or below the neck. That’s why I have been so dedicated to creating a way to fund all health care needs as part of our health care system. Now we are finally making that a reality.”

–Debbie Stabenow, Senator (D)

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and MDDHS allocated $26.5 million state and federal dollars to support certified community behavioral health clinics statewide.

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