Whitmer proposes $1.4 billion for her MI Healthy Communities plan


Courtesy: Governor Gretchen Whitmer

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Today Governor Whitmer announced a $1.4 billion proposal for her MI Healthy Communities plan.

Whitmer says the proposal will highlight three key areas that include: building up health facilities, expanding family care and investing in local public health.

Deficiencies in Michigan’s health infrastructure were revealed during the pandemic. Whitmer’s goal for the proposal is to address these issues and provide ways to meet Michigan families’ needs with mental health, create increased access to behavioral care and telemedicine, upgrade nursing homes and bolster local public health departments.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated critical gaps in our health system, and the MI Healthy Communities plan makes long-overdue investments to put Michigan families first,” said Governor Whitmer. “My plan would invest in mental health care, build up health infrastructure, keep seniors safe from infectious diseases, and provide resources to families and local health departments to expand and improve care. Right now, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity after a once-in-a-century crisis to make families healthier and safer, and I look forward to working with the legislature to spend the billions of federal dollars we have to expand care, build up facilities, and invest in every community.” 

Governor, Gretchen Whitmer

“Every day, local public health departments work hard to make the communities we serve healthier, safer, and stronger. We applaud Governor Whitmer’s proposal to support our efforts and we remain steadfast in our commitment to serve our neighbors, just as we have through the once-in-a-century pandemic. These game-changing funds are a tremendous investment in local public health.  This will position our health departments to not only face the next challenge, but also to get things done that make a real difference in people’s everyday lives.  I’ve served in public health for nearly 20 years, and this is the most significant investment into the public health system and infrastructure that I’ve seen in my entire career.” 

 Ingham County Health Officer, Linda Vail.

After a tough year-and-a half encompassing numerous struggle’s financially, mentally and physically for Michigan families, Whitmer plans to take a more complete look at people’s overall health. Whitmer says we need a significant investment in comprehensive healthcare, now more than ever.

“Access to quality mental health care is a major issue in Michigan. The Governor’s plan would address this problem in a big way. The Michigan Psychological Association supports the construction of a new hospital with up-to-date behavioral health architecture to meet the needs of Hawthorn Center and Walter Reuther Hospital patients. Further, Our organization recognizes that additional behavioral health providers are needed to address the increased rates of mental health disorders in Michigan residents.  MPA looks forward to seeing the details of the Governor’s plan.”

Antu Segal, PsyD, ABPP, President of the Michigan Psychological Association

Whitmer hopes her proposal for MI Healthy Communities plan will help meet the needs for mental health and behavioral care of Michiganders by increasing greater access to critical service and diversifying treatment across the state.

To accomplish these tasks, federal relief dollars will be used from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan towards the three key area’s of the MI Healthy Communities plan (Expanding care for families, building up health facilities, investing in local public health).

Federal dollars will be divided and go towards increasing capacity for community-based behavioral health and substance use disorder treatments, telemedicine infrastructure support, providing respite care services to relieve families and financial support for foster parents.

Whitmer says she also saw how the pandemic revealed gaps in our healthcare system, perpetuated by persistent underinvestment.

The proposal will invest in residents of nursing homes, psychiatric patients, the working poor and the homeless.

Other aspects the money will be distributed for are: infection control in nursing homes, building a new state psychiatric facility, building a new, state-of-the-art public health laboratory, to retain direct care workers, home repair and plumbing assistance, and to provide grants to homeless shelters for health-focused improvements.

“Investing in the infrastructure of Michigan’s skilled nursing facilities is essential in the efforts to continue to protect residents from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” said Melissa Samuel, President & CEO of Health Care Association of Michigan. “Using this funding to invest in our caregivers will encourage dedicated individuals to stay in the profession. We appreciate Governor Whitmer’s support of our providers and the residents they serve.”  

The proposal will also invest in Local communities and provide more resources for staying healthy. The plan will focus on providing proper support for families, communities, and small businesses.

Lastly, money will also be allocated in local communities and go towards local public health departments, COVID-19 Recovery Network Navigator Program, private childcare institutions for staff training, funding for trauma-informed community-building grants, employee wellness supports, health information technology systems and supporting predictive analytics.

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