Funding increases for opioid research, physician access
State Rep. Edward J. Canfield, D.O., who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, has announced the committee has finalized its budget recommendations.
Canfield said he’s especially pleased that the agreed upon budget proposal includes increased funding to enhance opioid testing. With Michigan’s steadily increasing opioid addiction and overdose epidemic, research is needed to improve prescribing practices and treatment programs.
“As a physician, I know the solution to our state’s opioid epidemic isn’t to simply lock up abusers,” said Canfield, of Sebewaing. “Abuse and overdose are avoidable, but we must tackle the issue at the source by doing all we can to prevent addiction before it happens.”
The budget also allocates $11 million for incentive programs to increase the state’s ability to recruit, train and retain primary care physicians in underserved areas throughout Michigan. The state will provide partial student loan repayment for physicians who commit to working in areas of the state that don’t currently have enough medical professionals to serve the number of residents in that community.
“It’s unfair and impractical that so many people across Michigan have to travel extreme distances just to see a doctor,” said Canfield, who helped spearhead one of the loan repayment programs. “These incentive programs are a unique and innovative method of encouraging critically needed specialties to serve those areas of highest need, urban and rural underserved communities throughout the state.”
Other funding outlined in the budget includes:
- $33 million to offset the 1 percent decrease in federal funding to the Healthy Michigan Plan;
- $1.4 million to increase base salaries of state psychiatrists to help retain talent at state hospitals;
- $8 million for testing and response related to water contamination to the environment from perfluoralkyl and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS);
- $411,000 to increase the monthly Medicaid personal care supplement paid to adult foster care facilities that provide care services to Medicaid beneficiaries;
The budget recommendations now go to the full House Appropriations Committee for consideration.