Michigan FY 24 Budget Provides $ 364 Million In "One Time" Funding For Mental Health Clinics
A recurring "one time" expenditure. A supplemental spending bill last year provided $233.1 million for mental health infrastructure:
New state budget provides $364M to expand mental health care
By Mark Sanchez - July 31, 2023
The new state budget that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to sign today provides $364 million in one-time funding to expand access to mental health care in Michigan.
Nearly $278 million of the funding included in the budget for the state’s 2024 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 will go to expand certified community behavioral health clinics in Michigan that provide care and substance abuse treatment regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
Thirteen nonprofit federally certified community behavioral health clinics now operate in Michigan. Another 24 organizations presently receive federal grant funding to provide community behavioral health services.
In the state’s 2022 fiscal year, certified community behavioral health clinics served 62,626 people. About 30% of them were children and young adults, and 70% were adults over 21 years old.
The existing clinics in West Michigan include HealthWest in Muskegon County, West Michigan Community Mental Health for Lake, Mason and Oceana counties, The Right Door in Ionia County, and Integrated Services of Kalamazoo.
The governor and state legislators allocated the new funding to improve access to mental health care after rising incidents rates for conditions such as depression, anxiety and substance use disorder accelerated in the pandemic.
“What we have been seeing for quite some time in Michigan and across the country is a real need for expanded services for mental health care,” Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, told Crain’s Grand Rapids Business. “People will wait until they are having an emergency and they end up going to the emergency department and then they are in a crisis, and we don’t have enough places and enough providers to be able to serve everybody.
“So, this investment is really important to ensure that people have access when and where they need it when it comes to behavioral health services. (It also allows for) different levels of service needs, not just at the crisis level and the inpatient level, but to serve people before they end up in a crisis, and allow for environments for people to go to after they’ve been in an inpatient to be able to go back into their community.”
The funding for certified community behavioral health clinic will expand an existing pilot program through the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the 13 present locations, plus the 24 other clinics that are backed by federal grants, Hertel said.
Gov. Whitmer planned to sign the FY 2024 budget today while in Wyandotte.
Other appropriations in the budget for mental health care are $45 million that will go to improve school-based health facilities and $28.9 million for mental health services on college campuses. The budget also provides $5 million for the Michigan Crisis and Access line where people in a mental health crisis can call 988 to access a counselor, and $5 million for scholarships for college students pursuing a career in behavioral health care.
The scholarship funding could help to bring more behavioral health care providers into the profession as organizations develop and open new facilities and expand capacity to meet higher demand for care.
“That money is critically important,” said Bob Nykamp, chief operating officer at Cutlerville-based Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. “We have a shortage of nurses, we have a shortage of social workers, we have a shortage of psychiatrists, we have a shortage of people work in the autism spectrum. There is a shortage and the state, I think, is making a smart, informed investment in both making it attractive to bring more talent into the state, but also having people choose these careers.”
Nykamp cites data that show one in four Michigan residents struggle with depression.
Pine Rest previously used grant money received under the federal American Rescue Plan Act to support training academies for nurses and social workers, Nykamp said.
Growing the talent pool of mental health care professionals could alleviate the competition among providers, Nykamp said.
“Instead of spending a lot of money incentivizing a nurse to move from one hospital in Michigan to another hospital in Michigan, let’s make more nurses,” he said.
The inclusion of the funds in the 2024 fiscal year budget marked the second consecutive year that the governor and legislators invested significant funding for mental health. A supplemental spending bill enacted a year ago provided $233.1 million for mental health infrastructure around Michigan, plus millions more to establish crisis units across the state, create psychiatric residential treatment facilities and other projects.
A year ago, Pine Rest received $36 million in the supplemental spending bill to develop an $86 million new pediatric center in partnership with Corewell Health’s Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
Seriously - more mental health infrastructure??
After decades of government funding & bragging, local shortages persist. Very little reaches the people who need care.
Remember, HSAs work great to let people choose the care that works for them. How about letting the money follow the patient, and stop feeding a dysfunctional system!
Another perspective on our misguided spending: Michigan Capitol Confidential takes a step back for the larger budget picture.
Michigan’s got the bloated budget blues
Taxpayers get little return from spending increases
Michigan’s government spends a lot more than it used to.
The budget was $58.3 billion prior to the pandemic. Of that, $23.5 billion came from the federal government and $34.4 billion from state taxes, with local and private money making up the difference.
The 2024 budget is up to $80.4 billion: $32.9 billion in federal funding, $47.0 billion from state taxes, and portions from local and private revenue. Spending has increased 16.8% above inflation.
This is down from the current year as temporary federal dollars are spent. Legislators can always increase next year’s budget, though, if they find some more revenue to spend.
Residents should ask a basic question of their elected officials: What did they accomplish with the spike in state spending?
Lawmakers may struggle to answer the question.
Based on Gov. Whitmer’s campaign rhetoric about fixing roads, people might think that the roads are in better shape. Roads are a little bit better. The number of roads in poor quality — at least among the ones that get measured each year — is down from 39% to 33%, according to the Transportation Asset Management Council. However, the long-term projections for road quality are worse, and lawmakers’ goal should be to put roads together faster than they fall apart.
The governor got a boost in money from the federal government that helped a little. She also borrowed from future road funding sources to build up roads, which takes the state further from what ought to be lawmakers’ goal. Despite the increase in revenue available to lawmakers, road funding hasn’t been a priority to them.
Lawmakers spend more on schools. State spending rose from $13.1 billion to $19.3 billion, a 20% increase when adjusted for inflation. The federal government showered conventional public schools with cash during the pandemic and well after.
School districts got more funding but parents and children didn’t get better schools. Fewer students at all levels are meeting basic standards. Detroit Public Schools remains the worst performing city school district in the country even with the shower of extra cash from the state and federal governments. Whitmer vetoed the chance to give parents more options.
Lawmakers have gone on a business subsidy spending spree, having authorized $4.1 billion in new business subsidies this year alone. Handing out big checks to big business is an ineffective way to create jobs, unfair to businesses who don’t get special favors, and expensive to the state budget. It also hasn’t turned the state around. Michigan has the 16th-weakest job recovery among states since the pandemic. Yet the allure of headlines about promised jobs is too tempting to politicians.
In other words, lawmakers spend a lot on intent, but without results. They may intend to improve the economy with subsidies, but it’s not working now, and what they’ve authorized isn’t going to change that. In the same vein, elected officials may want their additional school funding to produce good results, but education outcomes have gotten worse instead. And in areas where lawmakers have stated priorities, like roads, they haven’t accomplished what they’ve intended.
Perhaps this is because too often legislators want to claim success based on their inputs and intentions, rather than on what they accomplish.
Taxpayers haven’t gotten much for the increases in state spending. They ought to ask legislators to focus on results rather than inputs.
Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.
James M. Hohman is the director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He holds a degree in economics from Northwood University in Midland, Mich.
Join the bridge to the other side
- shine the light of freedom in your community.
Sign Up for MHF Insights to keep up on the latest in Michigan Health Policy