The Mental Health Association in Michigan

is the only statewide, non-governmental agency concerned with the broad spectrum of mental illness across all age groups.

March 18, 2020

Letter from Lansing – January

Happy New Year from your friends at the Mental Health Association in Michigan (MHAM)!Welcome to the January 2020 edition of MHAM’s monthly newsletter that provides you with public policy updates and other matters that impact the behavioral health care of you and those you love.

“And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that never were.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

Message from MHAM Board Chair – Oliver Cameron, MD, PhD

A big change is happening at the Mental Health Association in Michigan (MHAM). After decades of sterling service, Dr. Mark Reinstein is stepping down as President/CEO. He will continue to work at MHAM, consulting on advocacy and related matters.

As of January 1, 2020, a new decade, MHAM has a new President/CEO, Marianne Huff. As part of this change-over, we at MHAM wish to be sure that all who attend to and care about MHAM and its activities know who we are: prior and present Presidents/CEOs, Board members and staff. Let me start in today’s Newsletter by briefly introducing myself. I am now serving my second time as MHAM Board Chair; the prior time a number of years ago. I am a psychiatrist, retired after about 35 years of doing clinical care, teaching, research and administration on the faculty at the University of Michigan Medical Center. I also now serve on three other boards, keeping me busy, but also connected to what the State and the mental health community are doing. I will be stepping down myself as Board Chair as of July 1, 2020, but I hope to continue to be a member of the Board. In subsequent Newsletters we will be introducing the rest of us to you, including who will be my replacement as Chair. Be well.

Oliver G. Cameron, MD, PhD

Message from Incoming MHAM CEO/President – Marianne Huff

Happy New Year! My name is Marianne Huff and I am the new CEO/President of the Mental Health Association in Michigan (MHAM). I wish to say “thank you” to all of you for your support of the work MHAM does!

We have the Trifecta for January: New Year. New Decade. New Fiscal Year for the Mental Health Association in Michigan. And, in some respects, a new beginning as I begin my tenure as the President/CEO of the Association. The “new” often springs forth from that which has gone before and as such, I am standing on the shoulder of “giants,” having been chosen as a candidate for the position by an advocacy icon, Dr. Mark Reinstein. I am aware of the amount of work that has been ongoing since the Mental Health Association in Michigan was incorporated in November of 1936 and as MHAM continues its mission “to improve care and treatment of mental illness; promote positive mental health; and prevent the onset of mental disorders”. This mission has not changed and has withstood the test of time. Despite the fact much has been done by the Association and other advocacy organizations to address the stigma associated with psychiatric disorders, the lack of access to quality behavioral health care and other public policy issues that impact the care and treatment of our constituents continues to be problematic. The work MHAM is doing to address the need for true mental health parity in this state is important. As you know, even in 2020, there is no true “mental health parity” although it is required by federal law. All of these things (and many more) make MHAM’s mission as critical as ever. And the work must and will go on!

Marianne Huff, LMSW

Section 298 & the Public Mental Health System

2019 proved itself to be an interesting year as the community mental health system witnessed the decision on the part of the state of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to end what has been known as “Section 298”. In essence, the three pilots that were chosen as part of “Section 298” which included Saginaw (which withdrew from the pilots earlier in 2019); West Michigan and Muskegon CMHSPS
(community mental health services providers); and Genesee Health Systems (CMHSP), were terminated when Governor Whitmer vetoed the part of the 2019 budget that would have allowed private health plans to contract with other providers and not necessarily with the local community mental health services provider.

To read the complete 2020 January Letter from Lansing, please CLICK HERE.