New momentum in Michigan’s treatment-based addiction approach

ADDICTION SERVICES: A shift in treating addiction as a disease rather than a crime recently got a boost in Michigan, which is now one of 10 states piloting a federal program that reimburses select health centers with Medicaid dollars for any patient’s care. Pilot project covers St. Joseph, Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Muskegon, Macomb, Saginaw, St. Clair, Ionia, Washtenaw, Lake, Mason, Oceana counties. and metro Detroit. We interview a Macomb County treatment director, the head of the Michigan Community Mental Health Association and the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals. By Cameryn Cass. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, IONIA, OCEANA, LUDINGTON and ALL POINTS.

Fewer cubicles, more collaborative spaces projected for Michigan downtowns

WORKSPACE: Some of the remote work brought on by the pandemic is having a long-term impact reshaping Michigan downtowns and traditional office spaces. Libraries and coffee shops will continue to be alternative workspaces, experts say. Already, collaborative spaces in Michigan libraries are seeing higher traffic, sparking a library revival. We talk to state economic developers, downtown experts and the head of the Michigan Library Association By Cameryn Cass. FOR CORPS!, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS JOURNAL AND BUSINESS SECTIONS AT ALL POINTS

Michigan bus driver shortage spurs new solutions

BUS DRIVER SHORTAGE: Statewide driver shortages are leaving buses idle at transportation companies and prompting school superintendent to take to the road. Transportation demand plummeted during the pandemic and any drivers lost their jobs and got work elsewhere. Owosso-based Indian Trails Transportation lost 95% of its statewide business when the pandemic hit, but now that demand is recovering there are few drivers to meet it. Lansing schools are using federal COVID relief funds to provide parents with public transportation gift cards to get their kids to school. We talk to a Lansing school official, the Indian Trails president and executives at the Michigan Association of School Boards and the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators. By Cameryn Cass. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Police officers forced to drive mental health patients downstate

MENTAL HEALTH DRIVERS: It can take up to 10 hours for police to transport certain mental health patients from the Upper Peninsula to a psychiatric hospital downstate. Proposed legislation would allow counties to decide if private companies could be allowed to drive patients who are involuntarily committed to an institution. The proposal could save money but advocates it does not solve the problem of inadequate psychiatric care in northern Michigan. We talk to two Upper Peninsula lawmakers, executives at northern Michigan patient transportation companies and the Marquette County sheriff. By Cameryn Cass. FOR MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, BAY MILLS AND ALL POINTS.

Medicaid proposal would allow private health plans to cover mental illness

INTEGRATED HEALTH: Michigan lawmakers are considering integrating mental and physical health care to make it more affordable, accessible and dependable for the state’s poorest citizens.
The proposal builds on Medicaid programs and has been the subject of two recent state senate hearings. Advocates want to reduce the stigma of receiving mental health treatment and increase follow-up treatments. But critics worry that allowing private health insurers to provide services will channel some of Michigan’s $3 billion Medicaid mental health budget into the pockets of for-profit businesses. By Cameryn Cass. We talk to an administrator of a Muskegon County mental health program, the former directors of the Michigan Department of Community Health and of the state mental health department and a state health plan association executive. FOR LUDINGTON AND ALL POINTS.

Michigan’s childhood psychiatry needs go unmet 

CHILD PSYCHIATRY: Michigan has fewer than 300 hospital beds for children under 18 needing mental health treatment, a shortage that worsens the farther you go north.
There are no juvenile mental health beds in the Upper Peninsula. Oakland County is the only Michigan county that has an adequate number of child psychiatrists for the county population, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Interviews with the Michigan chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a University of Michigan doctor, and Jim Haveman, former director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. By Cameryn Cass. For GRAND RAPIDS, DETROIT and ALL POINTS.

Decriminalization of magic mushrooms introduced in state Senate

MAGICMUSHROOMS: Ann Arbor’s EntheoFest on Sept. 19 will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the local decriminalization of psychedelic plants and fungi. Meanwhile, Michigan senators are sponsoring a bill to move this measure statewide, which would drop the punishment for possessing and using entheogenic plants. We interview Detroit and Ann Arbor senators, Marquette sheriff and the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. By CAMERYN CASS. FOR DETROIT, MARQUETTE and ALL POINTS.