A program to combine physical and behavioral funding through Medicaid in Michigan has come to an end. A pilot program created through an initiative called Section 298 was tried in three different regional mental health authorities in the state beginning in 2018. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon said, “After years of work to reach a consensus [on the pilot program], it has become clear that an agreement will not be reached.”
St. Clair County Community Mental Health Director (CMH), Deb Johnson said “section 298 was an attempt to privatize the public behavioral health system.” Johnson felt strongly that section 298 was not going to be good for individuals who receive CMH services. She said, “Community Mental Health boards in the state of Michigan have won the battle, but she says the war is not over yet.” Gordon, on the other hand said, “In the coming weeks, he will be sharing the MDHHS vision for a stronger behavioral health system,” adding that, “designing a system that works for all Michiganders will take careful planning and extensive collaboration with legislators, families, and individuals served by the system.”
Reporting for WGRT, Mike Smith.