350 Losing Mental Health Services at CMH
Clinton, Eaton, Ingham Community Mental Health Authority is dismissing about 350 people from mental health care due to funding reductions. In almost all cases, CMH is limiting its services only to those with Medicaid. This is causing disruptive cuts in services to persons with mental illness. The people dismissed from care are those who are:
- On Medicare (or Medicare plus private insurance): Medicare and private insurance do not cover many CMH services such as case management, which can involve a combination of therapy and other practical social work supports. (Dual eligibles with Medicare and Medicaid are not affected.)
- In Medicaid Spend-down: Some people are required to pay hundreds of dollars a month to qualify for Medicaid. This is not feasible for those too ill to work and with limited income. CMH will no longer help cover the treatment of this group.
- Uninsured and Not Eligible for Medicaid
CMH staff say that these service reductions are due to a shortage of state general fund money for mental health services. Most of CMH’s funding is through the Medicaid program. This fund source has increased due to Medicaid expansion, but it can only be used for persons on Medicaid. CMH patients who do not qualify for Medicaid, including those with Medicare (who are not dual eligible for Medicare and Medicaid), are losing CMH services.
These reductions are putting severe pressure on persons with mental illness, the Carefree Clinic which has been asked to absorb many of there patients, and family practice doctors who may have limited experience prescribing for patients with severe mental illness. This group will lose access to services that help maintain maintain people in housing and effective medical interventions such as group therapy, medication management, and nurse visits.
The CMH staff has tried to mitigate the impact of these cuts and connect people with alternative care, but these are very disruptive cuts that interrupt treatment and jeopardize the mental health of some of our most vulnerable people.
House Bill 4674 – Reform Kevin’s Law in Michigan
Representative Tom Leonard (from DeWitt Township) introduced House Bill 4674 to the Michigan House of Representatives on June 2, 2015. It would reform Kevin’s Law to make it a little easier to get assisted outpatient treatment. Here is a Lansing State Journal article about the bill. Here is testimony from Mark Reinstein of Mental Health Association of Michigan that supports and describes the bill. You can read House Bill 4674 here. Contact your Michigan state legislators about this bill. They are listed below.
Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending (CAPPS)
CAPPS has published a detailed proposal to safely reduce the number of Michigan prison beds by 10,000 in 5 years. You can read the report on ways to reduce prison beds here. Part of their proposal is justice reinvestment of the savings from fewer prisoners in preventive measures such as improved mental health treatment. Almost 20% of Michigan prisoners have severe mental illness.
Problem Solving Courts
Mental Health Courts, Veteran Courts, and Sobriety Courts have been studied as a way of diverting people from jail. The Michigan Supreme Court released an evaluation of these courts on April 16, 2015:
Walk a Mile in My Shoes 2015
Rally at the State Capitol for mental health was May 6, 2015 – the sun came out and there were lots of people! Here is a photo from our friends at JIMHO:
Mid-Michigan’s State Legislators, 2015-2016
Here is a list of our local legislators or see “Find Your Legislators” below to find the elected officials for your address.
23rd District State Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr.
PO Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909
Represents most of Ingham Co. except the NE quarter.
24th District State Senator Rick Jones
PO Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909
Represents Eaton, Clinton, NE Ingham, and Shiawassee Counties
Michigan House of Representatives
Mail for all State Representatives goes to:
PO Box 30014 Lansing MI 48909
Representative Brett Roberts, Eaton Township, 65th District
Representative Tom Cochran, Mason, 67th District
Representative Andy Schor, 68th District, Lansing
Representative Sam Singh, 69th District, East Lansing
Representative Tom Barrett, 71st District, Potterville
Representative Mike Callton, 87th District, Nashville
Representative Tom Leonard, DeWitt Township, 93rd District
Find Your Legislators:
Coordination of Services
Public Act 28 of 2014 (Senate Bill 558): Requires counties to have a written, interagency agreement on how to provide mental health services to people with serious mental illness who are at risk of entering the criminal justice system, not receiving treatment during incarceration in a county jail, not receiving treatment when discharged from a county jail, or at risk for commitment to the Department of Corrections.
Excellence in Mental Health Act
Update: Michigan developing application to be a pilot site for the Excellence in Mental Health Act.
Read Tom Watkin’s article in the Battle Creek Enquirer from June 5, 2015.
Excellence Mental Health Act Signed April 1, 2014
From the Article in the Detroit News by Marisa Schultz, April 1, 2014:
The legislation has been a personal crusade for [U.S. Senator] Stabenow, D-Lansing, whose father went undiagnosed with bipolar disorder for about a decade as she was growing up in Clare. The bipartisan legislation would set up a pilot program in eight unspecified states to fund comprehensive community mental health, such as 24-hour emergency psychiatric services.
“It’s really a landmark step forward in community mental health funding,” Stabenow said Tuesday…The Congressional Budget Office estimates the program would cost $1.1 billion over a decade. With the president’s signature, the legislation would kick-start an eight-state, two-year pilot program in which states would apply to participate to expand mental health services at the community health level. Depending on the outcomes, the program then could be expanded to nationwide program….The effort is the latest to overcome discrepancies between mental and physical health services. Stabenow noted insurance policies now must have parity between mental health and physical care coverage, but public funding for mental health services has lagged.
“People deserve to get accepted treatment for both,” Stabenow said. “That’s what this is all about.
Read the entire article in The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140401/POLITICS02/304010072#ixzz2yKRkapP9
The BRAIN Initiative
The President has proposed a $100 million project to map the workings of the human brain to provide the knowledge needed to develop treatments for brain diseases including Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and many others. See more information and links on the blog.
Follow Michigan Legislative Issues
Advocacy Info from The Mental Health Association in Michigan
The Mental Health Association in Michigan follows national and Michigan issues on their News and Public Policy page.
Michigan Citizens for Prison Reform
This group advocates for humane treatment of all prisoners, including those with mental illness. Visit their website.
NAMI National follows national mental health issues
Visit the NAMI Public Policy page for current information.