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Rep Mary Whiteford
House advances Whiteford’s plan improving mental health access for young Medicaid recipients
RELEASE|September 16, 2020

The state House has approved Rep. Mary Whiteford’s plan to combat the serious shortage of psychiatric hospital beds in Michigan.

Whiteford’s legislation would require the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to establish psychiatric residential treatment facilities (PRTFs) for Medicaid patients under the age of 21. PRTFs are non-hospital facilities designed for young people who have experienced substance use, sexual abuse, developmental issues, head injury, dual diagnosis, or other mental health diagnoses. The primary goal of the facilities is to provide necessary therapeutic treatments and services to improve and stabilize a young person’s condition until services are no longer necessary.

“When other services prove ineffective, children living with mental health conditions need access to dedicated residential treatment facilities,” said Whiteford, of Casco Township. “PRTFs provide a place for children who are stabilized, but not ready to go home, with a safe place to live in a residential setting where they can continue their care preparing them to go back home.”

While the federal government provides a structure for these types of facilities, Whiteford said there is currently no structure provided at the state level. Her plan would allow PRTFs to be licensed, established and regulated through Michigan’s DHHS.

Whiteford is a registered nurse and the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

House Bill 5298 now moves to be considered by the state Senate.

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