Plan would save state money while providing higher quality services
State Rep. Mary Whiteford delivered testimony on a package of bills she spearheaded to make necessary improvements to Michigan’s behavioral health system.
Whiteford’s bill in the package would create a behavioral health oversight council and redesign Michigan’s behavioral health delivery system, which would ensure significant public accountability as the Administrative Service Organization’s board meetings will be subject to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act. The plan aims to save the state money while providing higher quality services more uniformly across the state.
Whiteford, who chairs the House Health and Human Services budget subcommittee said there are currently too many barriers in the system preventing the public from holding behavioral health entities accountable and ultimately allowing the system to become inefficient and unable to meet the mental health care needs of Michigan residents.
“This system has lost sight of the reason for its existence, to help our vulnerable population have their own best life,” Whiteford said during her testimony. “We have the opportunity to establish a truly person-centered public behavioral health system that ensures individuals and their loved ones have a voice in oversight. A system that is completely transparent by adhering to the open meetings act. A system that values the input of our professionals and those who directly care for our most vulnerable individuals.”
Joining Rep. Whiteford in testifying in support of the package were Dr. Michael Brashears, a behavioral health specialist with more than 25 years of experience and Marianne Huff from the Mental Health Association in Michigan.
“The Mental Health Association in Michigan supports Rep. Whiteford’s proposal because it gives persons served and those who love and support them a greater and more authentic voice in the system that is intended to serve them,” said Huff. “In the current system, the voice of those who matter most is not heard or honored in a meaningful way.”
Whiteford’s House Bill 4925 remains under consideration by the House Health Policy Committee.
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Rep. Whiteford, the Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, says the $17 billion K-12 school budget that now goes to the Governor features record funding, school equity and a focus on early childhood education.
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