Keynote: Farah Hanley, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services


Eli Kirshbaum


It was a pleasure to welcome back Farah Hanley, the chief deputy director for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), to open the recent 2023 Michigan State of Reform Health Policy Conference. During her remarks, Hanley provided updates on the work currently underway at the agency, the new policy it implemented in response to the pandemic, and the ways in which it’s continuing to strive for equity in Michigan’s healthcare system.

She also discussed the ongoing healthcare workforce shortage, noting that Michigan has the third biggest shortage of mental health professionals in the country.

“As I travel the state, the number one thing I hear, not only from our behavioral health providers, but across the spectrum of the Medicaid program, is the challenge related to workforce, recruitment, and retention …

We are doing everything we can to create flexible, nimble proposals that will address these critical issues. One of the more exciting things I think we’ve done is allow for Medicaid reimbursement of certain clinical degrees prior to receiving licensure, expanding public awareness campaigns, and even more.”