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Michigan House OKs tests to integrate physical, behavioral health care

April 19, 2017

Two new financing models to test the integration of Michigan’s separate physical and behavioral health services for Medicaid beneficiaries were approved by a Michigan House appropriations panel. In replacing language known as Section 298 from last year, the House panel asked the state Department of Health and Human Services to create a public statewide behavioral health managed care organization to manage covered state Medicaid services to an unspecified number of beneficiaries.

Snyder’s proposed health budget up 2.8%, but no funding for mental health integration pilot projects

February 10, 2017

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is proposing a 2.8 percent increase in the state’s fiscal 2018 health and human services budget, but no additional funding for mental health integration pilot projects or potential cutbacks in federal Medicaid funding.

Of the state’s proposed $56.3 billion state budget, 45 percent, or $25.54 billion, is to fund the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. General fund support for MDHHS, excluding federal and one-time sources, also could increase 2 percent to $4.46 billion in 2018 from $4.37 billion in 2017.

“My vision is for Michiganders to be healthy, productive individuals, living in communities that support health and wellness, with ready access to affordable, patient-centered and community-based system of care,” Snyder said in a statement.

We Can’t Ignore the Mental Health of Our Students If We Want Them to Be Successful

February 6, 2017

“Education is the key to success.” It’s a phrase we hear time and time again, repeated ad nauseam by educators, leaders and parents. From the beginning, we are taught that if we stay in school and earn good grades, we will have a shot at a life of achievement. Yet another part of that equation is often overlooked. If education is the “key” to success, what is the “key” to education?

The burden that comes from living with an untreated mental health disease can consume a child’s life and hinder their ability to learn. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that as many as 1 in 5 children in the United States show signs of a mental health disorder—which can include anything from attention-deficit disorder to anxiety to autism spectrum disorders. Left untreated, mental health issues can force students into a downward spiral, leading to chronic absence, poor test scores and dropping out.

Children who come from low-income families are especially at risk. A study by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente found that students who live in poverty experience a greater degree of adverse experiences, such as housing instability, violence and food insecurity—making them more prone to long-term mental health consequences. Unfortunately, they also have fewer resources available to them to invest in their mental health. According to the Children’s Defense Fund’s 2014 State of America’s Children report, nearly 45 percent of youth living in poverty who needed mental health care between 2011-12 did not receive the necessary treatment. Among-African American children, this number reached up to 55 percent.

In order for our country to move forward, we need to make sure every child—regardless of their background or economic standing—is provided with the opportunity to develop the key cognitive, social and academic skills they need in order to grow into healthy and productive citizens.

Carrie Fisher, the inspiring mental health advocate: ‘I am mentally ill. . . . I am not ashamed of that’

December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher was in her mid-20s when doctors first diagnosed her with mania— at the time, she said, she refused to believe it.

“I thought they told me I was manic depressive to make me feel better about being a drug addict,” Fisher told Diane Sawyer in a 2000 ABC News interview. The iconic “Star Wars” actress was also fighting a drug and alcohol addiction. When she turned 29, doctors told her she had bipolar disorder; this time, she told WebMD, she “accepted” the diagnosis.

“I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital,” Fisher said to Sawyer. “I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple — just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully. And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive.”

Over the years, Fisher also used humor to cope with her illness, such as when WebMD asked what it was like to be the “poster child” for bipolar disorder. “Well, I am hoping to get the centerfold in Psychology Today,’ ” she cracked.

“That’s my way of surviving, to abstract it into something that’s funny and not dangerous,” she told People. “It is not an entertainment. I’m not going to stop writing about it, but I have to understand it.”

The former “Star Wars” actress, best-selling author and activist died at age 60.

President Obama signs 21st Century Cures Act

December 13, 2016

Paying tribute to both bipartisanship and his vice president — who was galvanized by his own son’s death to change the way the United States combats cancer — President Obama signed legislation Tuesday that aims to increase funding for medical research, speed the development and approval of experimental treatments and overhaul federal policy on mental health care.

“We are bringing to reality the possibility of new breakthroughs to some of the greatest health-care challenges of our time,” Obama said. “It is wonderful to see how well Democrats and Republicans in the closing day of this Congress came together around a common cause. And I think it indicates the power of this issue and how deeply it touches every family across America.”

The bill contains several provisions that the White House has championed, including $1 billion for opioid abuse prevention and $4.8 billion for biomedical research funding, including Obama’s Precision Medicine initiative and the BRAIN initiative. A hefty chunk of that funding — $1.8 billion — is dedicated to cancer research, a part of the bill that was renamed the “Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot” in honor of the vice president’s late son, who died of a brain tumor. The bill also aims to strengthen mental health services and access.

MI-CCBHC Demonstration Application

December, 2016

Michigan is proud of the work that has been accomplished in preparation for participation in the section 223 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) demonstration program. Michigan has leveraged many of its existing programs, including its behavioral Health Home pilots and the State Innovation Model (SIM) testing grant, to influence the direction of the demonstration programs scope of services, our proposed impact goals and the quality measures highlighted throughout this application. If awarded the demonstration grant, Michigan will be provided the opportunity to offer a more consistent and comprehensive set of evidence-based person-centered services to Medicaid populations across the states 14 CCBHC sites.

State Considering Who Should Control $2 Billion For Mental Health Programs

November 27, 2016

We may soon see a draft proposal for how Michigan will handle more than two billion dollars in Medicaid funding earmarked for mental health.

The Snyder administration caused an uproar earlier this year when it backed a plan to further privatize the public nonprofit mental health system by turning over $2.4 billion in state funding to Medicaid HMOs.

Mental Health groups said this would put control of the money into the hands of out-of-state, for-profit insurance companies.

The legislature directed the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to study the issue and recommend how it could be resolved to improve coordination of services to patients.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy: Addiction Is A Chronic Brain Disease, Not A Moral Failing

November 17, 2016

In 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry issued a landmark report on tobacco and health that changed the course of American history, spurring the decline of smoking in the United States.

More than 50 years later, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy hopes he can do something similar for addiction. Murthy’s new report on alcohol, drugs and health is the first in which a surgeon general addresses substance use disorders as a disease the nation can address.

In the more than 400-page report “Facing Addiction in America,” released Thursday, Murthy recommends evidence-based early interventions for young people, expanding treatment programs that have been proven to work, and investing in substance use prevention and treatment research.

A few specific recommendations include adding addiction screenings in primary health care settings and hospitals, creating recovery-based high schools and colleges, and establishing community forums to emphasize the medical nature of addiction.

It’s also a cultural call to action.

“I’m calling for a cultural change in how we think about addiction,” Murthy told The Huffington Post. “For far too long people have thought about addiction as a character flaw or a moral failing.”

Mentally Ill School Children Need More Resources Says Mental Health Authority

November 11, 2016

The Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority wants to increase mental health prevention resources in schools.

A recent report released by the Child Mind Institute is being used by the OCCMHA to create awareness about the need for valuable mental health supports for children.

“This report serves as a reminder to everyone who works with youth about the valuable role education plays in ensuring they lead successful and productive lives,” said Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority Executive Director and CEO, Willie Brooks. “In order for young adults to reach their greatest potential, educators, families, policy makers, and community mental health professional must join efforts to advocate for mental health prevention in schools and early intervention for children in crisis.”

A New Short Film Explores Life With ADHD

October 11, 2016

Do you know what it’s like to have an attention disorder? We’ve all heard the stereotypes. Symptoms of learning disabilities and attention disorders are often dismissed as laziness, too much energy, a result of bad parenting — or worse, that it’s all in the head. There are even those who think it’s completely and utterly made up.

But one Swedish filmmaker is shining a light on these often-misunderstood conditions. His moving four-minute silent film, “Bokstavsbarn” (or “Falling Letters”), gives viewers a glimpse into the life of a kid that struggles with attention issues.

The film is available by clicking the link above.

President Obama Signs Excellence in Mental Health Act into Law

April 2, 2014

President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law H.R. 4302, a bill to temporarily stave off Medicare physician payment cuts that also includes the historic Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration program.

The legislation, which passed the House last Thursday and the Senate on Monday night, establishes a $900 million, two year demonstration program in eight unspecified states to offer a broad range of mental health and substance use treatment services, including 24-hour crisis psychiatric services, while setting new standards for provider organizations.

Excellence in Mental Health Act

On March 31, 2014, Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 4302), which included a demonstration program based on the Excellence in Mental Health Act. The Excellence Act will increase Americans’ access to community mental health and substance use treatment services while improving Medicaid reimbursement for these services.

More people are getting healthy with the Healthy Michigan Plan

Looking for health care coverage that works for your health and your budget? There’s a new option to help working people like you get healthy — at a cost that works in your budget. It’s the Healthy Michigan Plan.

Key Features of the Affordable Care Act

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. The law puts in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will roll out over four years and beyond.