Michigan Healthcare Freedom

How Big is MDHHS? Part 1

by | Jan 15, 2022

Michigan residents are aware of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)  through COVID-19 closures, mandates, and vaccination. However, the department runs many additional programs as well.
MDHHS denied Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services’  application to build a new psychiatric hospital.in 2021. Previously, I described the apparent confict of interest when the department running state mental health programs also decides which private mental health organizations may expand services.

Just how much does MDHHS control?

Definitive limits on MDHHS are hard to pin down. New tasks, powers, and funds just keep evolving. It’s so big, it takes more than one view to get the whole thing, sort of like Google Earth or the Rose Bowl Parade.

Yet significant mental health shortages in Michigan today should cause us to question state control and spending priorities.

Does MDHHS suffer from Mission Creep?

“Mission creep” expands programs into related areas, even wandering far off mission. Massively funded by taxpayers rather than direct customer sales, the department has a strong bias towards bureaucratic interests and away from local patients. Any semblance of legislative oversight has devolved into a weak posture of “working with” MDHHS.

Three weeks of 2021 department press releases reveals a few MDHHS programs:

  • MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories a national leader in sequencing and identifying COVID-19 variants
  • Vaccines Allocated for Enrolled Providers through Local Health Department
  • MDHHS and MDARD remind parents spring chicks may carry Salmonella
  • MDHHS continues Flint mobile food pantries during April
  • Gov. Whitmer announces expansion of food assistance to many low-income students who are attending college
  • MI Symptoms COVID-19 symptom tracker surpasses 3 million entries
  • MDHHS issues precautionary consumption guideline for Lake Superior smelt
  • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services launches We Treat Hep C Campaign aimed at providing timely screening and treatment of Hepatitis C
  • Michigan leads in adoption of federal Family First Act standards to strengthen commitment to serve foster youth in family settings with trauma-informed treatment
  • Focus on improving safety of youth in Michigan’s child-caring institutions and juvenile justice facilities will continue; Committee wraps up work after setting stage for improvements
  • Benefits of having a family physician recognized during Family Medicine Week
  • Assess Immunization Status of All Patients at Every Visit
  • CDC Tips From Former Smokers® campaign returns for 10th year with new ads to help Michigan residents quit smoking
  • Michigan residents encouraged to take steps to prevent poisonings in their homes during National Poison Prevention Week

More programs are listed on the MDHHS website and the 172-page organizational chart.

Follow the Yellow Pages Rule

“If you can find it in the Yellow Pages, government shouldn’t be doing it.”

Yellow Pages Rule

MDHHS is so far from abiding by this rule, it’s as though no one in Lansing ever heard of it. But they should – and you can help!
Grow the Michigan health policy conversation with your family, friends, and neighbors.
1. Share the Yellow Pages Rule – it’s a great introduction to limiting government.
2. If you are interested in researching MDHHS programs with our team, send your resume and contact information to PolicyRNAbby@gmail.com.
3. Follow MHF for more about how to trim back MDHHS. Thanks for sharing!
*Subscribe and support MHF health policy education.

Originally published on April 8, 2021. Updated January 15, 2022.

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