Whiteford: DHHS budget delivers care effectively and responsibly

Categories: Whiteford News

The Michigan House today approved the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) budget proposal, announced Rep. Mary Whiteford, who chairs the DHHS Subcommittee.

Whiteford said the plan for the 2019-2020 budget year dedicates tax dollars responsibly and efficiently to allow the department to effectively deliver care to the people of Michigan.

“Government should always strive to spend money better, just like every family in Michigan,” said Whiteford, of Casco Township in Allegan County. “Without sacrificing services, this budget ensures every dollar is used effectively toward delivering care to Michigan’s vulnerable population.”

Whiteford, a registered nurse, served on the House C.A.R.E.S. Mental Health Task Force last term. She said the budget proposal prioritizes funding for fulfilling the task force’s recommendations, including $2 million for the C.A.R.E.S. Hotline, a 24-hour resource for those experiencing mental health crises with nowhere to turn.

Continuing her commitment to accessible mental health care, Whiteford has publically stated her disappointment with the governor’s decision to halt construction of a state psychiatric hospital in Tuscola County – a project approved by the Legislature in 2017 that would result in a total of 200 beds. Whiteford said this budget proposal clarifies the Legislature’s original intent to use funding for the Caro Center and nowhere else.

“There are hundreds of people desperately awaiting mental health care,” she said. “We cannot wait any longer to start this project.”

The proposed budget plan also:

  • Combats the opioid epidemic by dedicating more than $30 million in federal grant funding toward reducing unmet substance abuse treatment and prevention needs.
  • Continues to address Flint water contamination and prevent lead exposure statewide.
  • Supports seniors in need of assistance after a lifetime of paying taxes.
  • Increases funding for rural hospitals to ensure people in every corner of the state have access to dependable health services.
  • Provides reimbursement for Michigan’s psychiatric health care providers to ensure children receive quality mental health care.
  • Funds the expansion or school-based health clinics in our state to ensure children get the physical and mental health care they need.

The DHHS budget now moves to the Senate for consideration.