5 Things Michigan: Legislative Keynote, Experts talk through SIPs, DHHS budget update


Eli Kirshbaum


Thank you to everyone who attended the 2022 Michigan State of Reform Health Policy Conference last month! We were thrilled with how our first in-person event in Michigan went, and so honored to have so many knowledgeable speakers engage with us. Our AV team made a “What You Missed” video so those who were unable to make it can get a glimpse of what the conference was like.

Below, you’ll find coverage from the event as well as videos featuring Michigan health policy stakeholders sharing their main priorities.

Thank you for supporting us!

Eli Kirshbaum
State of Reform


1. Keynote: Legislative leaders discuss health policy in Michigan

The Afternoon Keynote at last month’s conference convened Sen. Curt VanderWall, Chair of the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee, Sen. Winnie Brinks, Minority Vice-Chair of the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee, Rep. Mary Whiteford, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, and Rep. Angela Witwer, Minority Vice-Chair of the House Health Policy Committee.

These prominent legislative leaders discussed their health policy work in the legislature including addressing food insecurity, fixing the behavioral health system, and expanding the health care professional workforce. You can view the full keynote here.


2. Panel: The future of specialty integrated plans

While there is consensus that Michigan’s behavioral health system needs reform, navigating how to change the delivery system remains a challenge. During a panel called “The future of specialty integrated plans” at last month’s conference, behavioral health experts talked through the pros and cons of the integrated BH funding approach moving through the legislature.

Both Dominick Pallone, Executive Director of MAHA, and Laura Appel, Executive VP of Government Relations and Public Policy at MHA, agreed the legislation is a step in the right direction. But Appel highlighted the obstacles this new funding proposal faces, including potentially losing safety net providers as the state contracts with non-Medicaid providers through SIPs, and not having a robust-enough workforce.


3. What They’re Watching: Eric Doeh, Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network

Eric Doeh, President & CEO of the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network, is focused on creating better access to health care, especially in the behavioral health space. He is currently working to increase access to behavioral health and physical health care by creating a crisis center in Wayne County.

“In Wayne County, we have a population of about 1.6 million people. Most statistics will say for that population of folks, you will need three crisis centers. We don’t really have a crisis center in Wayne County. We are building one right now at Detroit Wayne, and that is a significant project,” Doeh said.



4. Panel: COVID’s impact on deferred care

There was 42% less emergency care provided in BHSH hospitals in late 2020, according to BHSH/Spectrum Health West Michigan President Darryl Elmouchi. At the Detroit FQHC Advantage, President and CEO Nina Abubakari said the facility saw 43% less in-person visits during the pandemic. Molina Healthcare of Michigan Plan President Christine Surdock said Molina’s Medicaid members received 8% less breast cancer screenings, 35% less child immunizations, and 24% less child lead screening.

These leaders talked through the ramifications of this deferred care during the “COVID and its impact on deferred care” panel at last month’s conference. Elmouchi said the average hospital had a negative 3.5%-4.5% operating margin in early 2022 resulting from the large decrease in expensive procedures like elective surgeries. While she said federal and state financial support has helped, patient visits remain the highest driver of revenue.


5. MDHHS budget on the move

The Michigan Senate and House have each advanced their FY 22-23 MDHHS budget bill to their chamber’s floor, with SB 828 allocating the agency $32.5 billion total and HB 5784 allocating $32.9 billion total. These numbers fall slightly below Gov. Whitmer’s proposed allocation for the agency ($33.4 billion total). The state’s current budget, approved last fall, allocated $31.7 billion to the department.

While sharing numerous funding priorities, SB 828, HB 5784, and the Executive Budget differ in their approaches to certain allocations. SB 828 and HB 5784 concur with Whitmer’s allocation of $16.8 million total for increasing the number of counties with behavioral health homes, but the House bill requires this funding to also be used to create an intellectual or developmental disability health home. Both chambers’ budgets contain language restricting state funds from being given to abortion providers, but the Executive Budget does not.