Any suicidal thought is a risk. Help is always available. HealthWest's 24/7 crisis line is (231) 722-HELP. Anyone with a mental health concern can also walk into our offices at 376 E. Apple Ave., during business hours for an assessment. If there is an immediate fear of death or injury, please call 911.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
(800) 273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line:
Text Home to 741741

Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio
(888) 628-9454

LGBTQ Youth Hotline
(866) 488-7386

Suicide Hotline for Deaf & Hard of Hearing
(800) 799-4889

 

HealthWest is currently experiencing an unprecedented budget crisis.

For Immediate Release- March 26, 2015

 

HealthWest (Formerly Muskegon CMH) is currently experiencing an unprecedented budget crisis.

 

The Lakeshore Regional Partners (LRP) is the Medicaid Health plan for several West Michigan CMH’s: HealthWest, network180, Allegan CMH, Ottawa CMH, and West Michigan CMH.

 

The two significant factors that have caused a decline in funding:

 

  1. Medicaid Rate Rebasing– The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is required to complete an actuarial analysis of the rates it pays each region each year. This frequently results in some regions getting higher rates and some lower. As a result of newly adjusted rates to the new region, the total funds received by the LRP was reduced by $10 million. This resulted in HealthWest’s Medicaid funds being reduced by approximately $2 million, which was not anticipated.
  2. Significant Decline in Medicaid Enrollment– Beginning in July 2014 the total number of people enrolled in traditional Medicaid began to drop. It appears that individuals that have been enrolled in the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) have changed coverage to the new Healthy Michigan program (part of the Affordable Care Act). In total our region has lost over 20,000 individuals from TANF enrollment. This is a 22% drop. This represents a total loss of funds to the LRP of $7.4 million. ($1.5 million for HealthWest). State-wide the drop is 19%. This information became available to us on February 25th.

 

The CEO’s of each of the CMH’s along with the LRP leadership are working together to reduce spending. This means an initial reduction of at least $10 million across the region. At this time the target for budget cuts for HealthWest is $3.5 million.

 

HealthWest’s first strategy is to work with state officials and legislators to have adequate funds restored. In addition, several administrative cuts have already occurred and assessing for additional expense reductions continues. The goal is to make every effort to minimize disruption to services to the people that HealthWest serves.

 

HealthWest provides substantially more services per person served, as compared to state averages, in three areas:

 

  1. Hospitalizations (for both Children and Adults)
  2. Residential Services
  3. Skill Building Services

 

As part of our plan, this past Thursday, March 25th, 2015, the staff at HealthWest‘s 3 Skill Building Programs were told of our intent to no longer directly provide Skill Building Services. HealthWest will continue to offer Skill Building Services to clients through contracted providers. HealthWest will issue updates as information and plans are finalized. In addition, HealthWest will host informational meetings for stakeholders, consumers and families over the coming weeks.  Those 3 skill building sites are Muskegon Life Skills (MLS), Whitelake Adult Activity Center, and Wesley Robert Center.

 

It has become imperative that careful review into the scope, intensity, and duration of these services takes place. Reductions in services will be consistent with HealthWest’s values. Persons served will be involved and informed as we explore their options for services and supports.

 

PUBLIC MEETINGS PLANNED:  We will be hosting two meeting for consumers and families on April 1, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. and April 2, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Both of these meetings will be held at the main office of HealthWest, 376 E. Apple Ave. We hope to see you at the meeting, however if you are unable to attend please feel to contact us with your questions or concerns. You can contact Kris Burgess, Manager of Adult Community Based Services at 231-724-1121 or Mary Zmolek, Clinical Services Manager I-DD at 231-724-1159.  You can also email questions to customer.services@healthwest.net.