Rep. Whiteford wants ensured availability of psychiatric beds for those in need

Categories: Whiteford News

State Rep. Mary Whiteford delivered testimony today before the House Health Policy Committee in support of a bill she introduced to ensure every person experiencing a mental health crisis has a place to go.

Whiteford, who was a member of the House mental health task force, says this is a common-sense solution to a serious problem across the state. A problem she and her colleagues heard about many times during the months the task force spent listening to mental health professionals last year.

“Many times, when an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis, there are not enough psychiatric beds available to provide them with the care they desperately need,” said Whiteford, of Casco Township. “This legislation will help get people the services they need in an efficient and effective manner.”

Whiteford’s bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and maintain a state database containing information about the number and location of available beds and make the database accessible to the appropriate health care facilities and providers.

Lisa Letts, a registered nurse from Allegan County joined Whiteford for the testimony.

“As a nurse, I see the need for a database to improve efficiency of services for psychiatric patients,” Letts said. “This database would provide us with resources to better manage the availability of psychiatric beds.”

House Bill 5439 now waits to be considered by the committee.