Bill ensures retired psych employees returning to work will keep pensions
State Rep. Phil Green, of Millington, has voted in support of a House plan to combat the ongoing shortage of behavioral health professionals in the Thumb area and across Michigan.
The issue was brought to the Legislature’s attention last term during the House C.A.R.E.S. Task Force statewide tour, which aimed to find ways to improve Michigan’s mental health system by listening to mental health experts, families of patients and law enforcement officials.
The plan allows certain retired mental health professionals to come back to work with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) without forfeiting their pension benefits.
“The statewide shortage of psychiatry employees is another factor posing a serious threat to the mental health care our residents desperately need,” Green said. “It is particularly critical in light of the governor’s threat to defund the expansion of the Caro Psychiatric Facility. We must do all we can to ensure residents have access to quality care from experienced professionals. I’m proud to support this measure to encourage retired, experienced experts to return to work in the wake of our worker shortage.”
The state already allows retired psychiatrists to continue to keep their pensions during reemployment with the state. Green contends the state should extend that same opportunity to other mental health care professionals such as physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, counselors and therapists to combat serious shortages in such roles.
House Bill 4156 was approved unanimous, bipartisan support and now moves to be considered by the state Senate.
The vote continues Green’s efforts to improve mental health care access in the Thumb. Green is fighting the governor’s March announcement that she would halt construction of the Caro Center expansion project. Green said he was disgusted by the decision that he believes was politically charged and not in the best interest of Michigan residents.
“I came to Lansing to ensure my neighbors in the Thumb are heard and their interests are represented,” Green said. “I will continue to fight for those interests as long as I’m in office.”
Rep. Green talks about a House vote this week to approve the distribution of nearly $2.9 billion in federal funding to help unemployed Michigan residents support their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure approved by the Michigan House will provide an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits retroactive to Aug. 1.