Policy and Advocacy

How the Mental Health Association in Michigan (MHAM) Works

  • MHAM gathers and interprets information about mental health problems and conditions for the public and individuals who shape public policy in Michigan.
  • MHAM evaluates a variety of public and private mental health services; making recommendations for improvements in these programs; and stimulating demonstration projects to link individuals to needed services.
  • MHAM makes available to the public, as well as providers and recipients of mental health services, educational literature covering all aspects of mental health and mental illness.

 

Current Policy Initiatives

A. Monitor, analyze and attempt to influence as necessary the state's Fiscal Year-20-and-21 budgets. Included will be efforts to increase wages for mental health direct care support staff.

B. Maintain a broad, multi-interest coalition (Michigan Partners in Crisis) to collectively address and advocate about problems of adults and minors with mental illness inappropriately entering the justice system – prison, jail, juvenile.

C. Work with other interested organizations to seek recipient rights legislation that accomplishes the following:

  • Create meaningful legislative changes to the Mental Health Code so that the rights of those that the public mental health system is intended to serve are preserved and protected in a meaningful way.
  • Make the State Office of Recipient Rights a Type I (semi-autonomous) agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and require that local recipient rights offices report to the State Office of Recipient Rights. (Lt. Governor Calley's Mental Health & Wellness Commission recommended in 2014 that local Recipient Rights Offices report to an independent third party.)
  • Create a viable early option for mediation in resolution of rights complaints.
  • Advance the dispute resolution recommendations of the MDHHS Section 298 Facilitation Workgroup which is an effort to improve the coordination of physical health services and behavioral health services in Michigan.

D. Regarding eligibility and priority status for publicly funded mental health service:

  • Stimulate a standard statewide definition of severity-of-condition;
  • Facilitate transfer of "mild-to-moderate" mental illness benefit and funding from Medicaid Health Plans to Community Mental Health Services Programs (CMHSPs).

E. Revise PA 248 of 2004 to protect mental health medications prescribed within Medicaid from prior authorization under both managed care and fee-for-service arrangements. This has been recommended by the Calley Commission, the MDHHS Section 298 Facilitation Workgroup, and the department's recent psychotropic task force under budget section 1867.

F. Monitor and provide leadership as appropriate to statewide developments in the integration of behavioral health and physical health care based on the work of the Legislature's Section 298 project.

G. Seek, and act upon if presented, opportunities to legislatively advance recommendations of the Governor's Mental Health Diversion Council and its committees.

H. Consider and, if warranted, draft legislation on enforcement of federal parity law in Michigan. (Enforcement of that law is left up to the states.)

I. Advocate for legislative changes to Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) provisions, and other related Chapter 4 issues, in the Mental Health Code and continue statewide AOT trainings for local stakeholders.

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