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ACTION: Please Remove Section 234 from the Senate DHHS Budget

As you know, this week the Senate DHHS subcommittees released their FY18 budget recommendations. While this is the first step of the process, we have significant concerns with the Senate’s recommendation contained in a new boilerplate section 234, which calls for the privatization of the entire system by transferring the full Medicaid behavioral health and intellectual/developmental disability dollars to the private health plans by September 30, 2020.

On the flip side, while the House language calls for 1 statewide behavioral health entity their language does contain many of the 298 workgroup key concepts such as: maintaining a publicly managed system, reinvesting savings into services, on the ground integration, and uniformity.

At the end of the day, it is highly doubtful either version House or Senate will be the final product related to integration. We have a limited window of time to let our voices be heard once again on this very important issue.

REQUEST FOR URGENT ACTION: We have developed two action plans, THIS ONE IS AIMED AT THE SENATE asking them to remove Section 234 from their FY18 DHHS budget recommendations.  Timing is critical next week the bill will be in full Approps, then will move to the floor. It is important they hear Section 234 is not acceptable, please contact your Senator(s)  between now and May 5.

We also need you to ask that the members of your Board of Directors, your staff, and your community partners make those same contacts – SIMPLY FORWARD THEM THE ACTION ALERT.. These contacts are critical, legislators must hear from us in order to counter the efforts by others opposed to the public management of the state’s publicly sponsored behavioral health and intellectual/developmental disability services and supports system.

Below are quick talking points:

Please Remove Section 234 from the Senate DHHS Budget

  • The 298 workgroup process was fair and objective and reflected the voices of thousands of consumers. Section 234 ignores that process and those voices.
  • Section 234 does nothing to lower costs, provide better care, or improve health outcomes for vulnerable population nor does it provide any details regarding purpose of integration.
  • Medicaid Health Plans for 20 years have administered a benefit for persons with “mild-to-moderate” mental health conditions, and have done a very poor job with it.
  • According to MDHHS, the average number of mental health visits authorized for qualifying MHP enrollees in 2014 was 4.  In 2015, only 10% of all contacts for Medicaid recipients seeking behavioral health services were with a behavioral health professional.
  • The Medicaid-Medicare multi-year demonstration project (MI Health Link) in four state regions has been a failure, with the vast majority of eligible individuals choosing to dis-enroll from the project.
    • In spite of the fact that program automatically assigns these persons to a private health plan for their physical healthcare, when given a choice to stop these health plans from managing their care, 65% of these dual enrollees choose to leave these health plans.

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