Legislative Updates

Legislative changes that affect our local substance use disorder support landscape. The Opioid Project aims to keep local residents and stakeholders informed on current issues before local, state, and federal government organizations.

Below you will find important issues that are currently before various levels of government. For each issue, we try to provide the most current information, so please check back frequently for updates.

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Current Issues

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Michigan House Bill 4925 (2021)
 

Bill Status




Next Hearing



Previous Hearings

Introduced, Referred to House Health Policy Committee

TBD

June 17th, 2021

June 3rd, 2021

Bill Overview

 

House Bill 4925 would amend the Mental Health Code to create the Behavioral Health Oversight Council within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to advise DHHS in developing and executing public behavioral health policies, programs, and services. It would also authorize DHHS to contract with an administrative service organization (ASO), which would assume certain responsibilities from DHHS and DHHS-designated community mental health (CMH) entities. The other four bills are complementary and amend other acts to account for changes in HB 4925.

Issues Presented in Related Hearings

 

Statements in Support: 

  • The Autism Alliance of Michigan (6/3/21) supports the increased accountability, which belongs to one entity. The creation of BHAC demonstrates balanced geographic representation, representation of persons receiving care, representation by MDHHS, and a statewide view of MH services. The new structure will help those who are moderately affected. Better coordination of care is important to the autism community. To serve better

  • The House Fiscal Agency (6/3/21) estimates a savings of $70 million in administrative costs.

  • The Michigan Health and Hospital Association (6/4/21) supports the concept of the legislation and urges the Legislature to form a workgroup to address shortcomings of the current system.

  • Community Mental Health Association of Michigan: The bill breaks down barriers to accessing mental health services offered by Michigan’s community mental health system. 

  • Mental Health Association of Michigan (6/3/21) supports the bill:

    • The bill would create uniformity and reduce administrative costs. It will utilize a single IT platform, integrate administrative functions, and remove managed care and administrative functions duplication. 

    • An opportunity to truly establish a person-centered public behavioral health system.

    • Help to overcome systemic challenges. 

    • Lead to fewer bureaucratic layers for those being serviced and empower DHHS to oversee the core functions of the systems (rate setting, clinical guidelines). 

  • Mental Health Association President Marianne Huff also supported HB 4925 and other bills in the overall package, HB 4926, HB 4927, HB 4928, and HB 4929, saying the bills would help the system overcome systemic challenges during the years.

 

Statements Against: 

  • The Community Mental Health Association of Michigan argues that the bill eliminates a core tenet of Michigan’s public system-the local public community mental health system serving, on behalf of the state, as 

    • Mental health safety

    • Service network organizer

    • Partner with a large number of health and human services collaboratives. 

  • Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township) asked: What role will community mental health play if this bill passes?

  • Christine Gebhard, CEO of North Country Community Mental Health Authority (6/17/21), asks the bill’s sponsors not to dismantle the decades of investment in an infrastructure that is “nationally recognized as one of the most innovative, comprehensive, and community-based systems in the country.” Argues that the bill will not increase access to care or solve workforce shortages (e.g., direct care workers). States that there is already an entity that oversees the MH and SU State plan; improves BH outcomes; serves as advocates; and monitors, reviews, and evaluates the allocation and adequacy of mental health and substance use services within the State. HB 4925 would unnecessarily create a Behavioral Health Oversight Council when, perhaps, it is the existing Advisory Council that needs restructuring and increased accountability.

Bill Related Documents
Michigan Senate Bill 597 and 598

Introduced by: Sen. Mike Shirkey (R)
                          Sen. John Bizon (R)


 

Bill Overview

 

Senate Bill 597 would allow private specialty integrated plans (SIPs) to provide physical health care services and behavioral health specialty services for eligible Medicaid recipients.

 

Senate Bill 598 requires the state health and welfare department to issue contracts with a SIP for Medicaid recipients that suffer from a handful of disorders. This includes foster care children. Both bills would shift Michigan’s system away from public oversight and shift responsibility for managing public services and supports to private health plans.

Bill Status



Next Hearing



Previous Hearings

Introduced, Referred to Sen. Government Operations Comm.

September 14th, 1 pm (CLICK FOR MTG. INFO)

Issues Presented in Related Hearings

 

Statements in Support: 

  • The Michigan Association of Health Plans (MAHP) supports both bills (7/16/21). Medicaid is divided into two parts; the CMH system is outdated. Medicaid is difficult to navigate and needs to be modernized. Services will be easier to access, more consistent across the state, simpler to navigate, and better coordinated. 

  • Michigan GOP (7/16/21) states the bills will integrate physical and mental health care to be patient-centered and outcomes-based. The science shows when mental health and physical health care are addressed and evaluated together, it leads to better outcomes for both.

 

Statements Against: 

  • The Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) opposed the legislation as introduced. They believe the public mental health system should have adequate state funding and local control and oversight by our counties to ensure quality and accessibility to residents. 

  • The Community Mental Health Association of Michigan (CMHA) opposes both bills (7/16/21). Integration must begin and focus at the patient level, not the financial level, and there must be public accountability/public governance to protect vulnerable citizens. Recommends using the budget surplus to expand access to MH and addiction services for those with mild/moderate conditions, address the need for more inpatient care settings, and find ways to expand and increase MH and addiction workforce shortage. It will not improve care for the most vulnerable citizens; it will put more money into the pockets of insurance companies.

  • West Michigan CMH (8/8/21) worries both bills would dismantle integrated care for people living in local communities. They threaten the safety net in place for those who need to make the choice to continue medical treatments or take care of their basic needs. Dr. Lisa Hotovy-Williams (director) tried to work with the pilot program being proposed in the bills but had to back out after 2 ½ years because they determined it was not feasible. 

  • St. Clair County CMH advocates for a NO vote on both bills. 

  • Lapeer County CMH advocates for a NO vote on both bills.

Bill Related Documents