November 2020

Click HERE for the weekly MIRS Legislative Report. 

Please click here to view the Executive Brief regarding the 2020 Election.

MDHHS Hosts Roundtable Discussing COVID Second Wave & Launches Campaign Promoting Free Mental Wellness Counseling

A panel convened by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) discussed issues around an inevitable second wave of the novel virus on Monday, October 26. The panelists, who appeared via webinar with MDHHS Director Robert Gordon and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, discussed various strategies their departments, employers and students have taken to address community spread in the face of the continuing pandemic. Panelists included:
Dr. Thomas Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Emily Martin, associate professor of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan
Angelique Joynes, health officer for Allegan County Health Department
Dr. John Deledda, chairman of Emergency Medicine and chief medical officer for Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford Medical Group
Dr. M. Roy Wilson, president of Wayne State University
Dr. Norman Beauchamp, executive vice president for Health Sciences at Michigan State University

The Roundtable was recorded and can be viewed in its entirety by clicking on the link below:,9753,7-406-98163-543081--,00.html

On October 28, the MDHHS launched a statewide media campaign urging residents to seek relief from COVID-19-related emotional distress by talking to a trained crisis counselor and learning about other help available.  The “Be Kind to Your Mind” campaign promotes the use of Michigan’s free, confidential Stay Well counseling line, and aims to combat stigma associated with seeking help for feelings of depression, anxiety, anger or loss-all common during a pandemic like COVID-19.

Callers can access the line by calling Michigan’s COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing “8” at the prompt.  The service is part of a federally funded grant program implemented by the MDHHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration in partnership with the Michigan State Police.  The Stay Well counselors are taught to listen, not judge, and help callers develop coping strategies, review their options and connect with agencies that may help them.

To access other mental health resources for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, visit

October 2020 

Click HERE for the weekly MIRS Legislative Report.  

  • SB 826: Working on getting a hearing in the House Health Policy Cte.
  • Medicaid coverage for alcohol use disorder treatment (HB 5408): Worked with sponsor (Rep. Hammoud) on substitute language removing new definition of “Advanced Practice Provider” included in the bill as introduced.
  • Surprise Billing (HBs 4459,4460,4990 & 4991):  Cleared the Senate on Wed. Insurers are supportive, physician groups have concerns over provisions relating to arbitration.
  • Universal Credentialling for Mental Health Services (HB 5178): Reported out of Senate Health Policy on 9/24.  Now on the Senate floor.
  • Regulation of Crisis Stabilization Units (ERs for mental health) (HB 5832):  Now on the Senate floor.
  • Report of deaths after release from psychiatric hospital or unit (SB 813):  Now on the Senate floor.
  • Prior Authorization (SB 612):  Now on the Senate floor.
  • Bill to allow for the continued ability for an individual licensed to practice a health profession in Canada to be granted a license in MI (SB 1021):  Passed the Senate and has been referred directly to the House Ways & Means Cte.
  • CON Package (SBs 669; 671; 672; 673; 674): Reported out of House Health Policy; Now in House Ways & Means Cte.
  • Drug Transparency Bills (HBs 5937-5945):  Reported out of House Health Policy; Now in House Ways & Means Cte.
  • Bill to provide limited immunity to health facilities and other health care providers for work during the peak months of the pandemic (puts immunity granted under the E.O. in statute) (HB 6159):  Passed the House; Now in Senate Health Policy.
  • Pelvic Exam Bills (would define and ban nonconsensual pelvic examinations) (HB 4958 & SB 1081):  In Senate Health Policy-heard testimony on 10/1.

Senate Moves Behavioral Health-Related Bills

The full Senate passed SB 826, Sen. Curt VanderWall’s bill that would add nurse practitioners, certified nurse specialists and physician assistants to the definition of “mental health professional” in the Mental Health Code, unanimously last week. The bill brings the Mental Health Code in line with the Public Health Code by creating clarity for the many Michigan communities and healthcare facilities desperate to find well-qualified mental health providers. In addition to updating definitions, the bill includes critical services provided in most healthcare and psychiatric care settings including temporary restraint and 24-hour emergency hold for residents in crises.  The bill has been sent over to the House where it was referred to the House Health Policy Committee for consideration.

In the Senate Health and Human Services Committee last week, votes were taken on several behavioral health bills, including legislation to standardize the credentialing for community mental health services across the state and legislation to require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to report patient deaths that occur within 48 hours of discharge from a psychiatric hospital or unit. 

HB 5178, introduced by Rep. Hank Vaupel, would amend the mental health code to require the MDHHS to establish a uniform community mental health (CMH) services credentialing program for state department or agency use.  A state department or agency that provided, either directly or through a contract, CMH health services to Michigan residents would have to comply with the credentialing program and use the provider information profile maintained by the MDHHS.  On and after the date the credentialing program was certified by the MDHHS Director, the state department or agency subject to the provision would have to ensure that all of the forms, processes and contracts it used that related to providing CMH services complied with the credentialing program.  The credentialing and re-credentialing process would have to be conducted and documented for nurse practitioners and other behavioral health providers.  HB 5178 is now on the Senate floor for consideration.

SB 813 also made its way to the Senate floor last week.  The bill, introduced by Sen. Jim Ananich, would require the MDHHS to investigate all deaths reported by a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric unit that were the result of suicide or where the cause of death was reported as unknown.  Specifically, it would require a report provided by the MDHHS to include, if known, causes of death of mental health care recipients where death occurred within 48 hours of discharge and require the report to include information indicating whether or not the MDHHS had initiated or was in the process of an investigation and, if known, the findings of the investigation.  SB 813 is now on the Senate floor for consideration.