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Kent County's mental health authority looks to cut programs after $9.7 million loss

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The community mental health provider in Kent County wants the state to expedite the process of figuring out how to adequately fund its mental health programs.

Scott Gillman, the CEO and Executive Director of Network 180, the community mental health authority in Kent County, says that people switching to the state’s Healthy Michigan program is the cause for the lack of funds.

Network 180 lost about $9.7 million over the last two years because several people switched from having Disabled, Aged and Blind status on their insurance to the Healthy Michigan program.

Gillman says the issue is that the Healthy Michigan program provides less money to healthcare providers.

“The reimbursement that we receive from Healthy Michigan is about 80 percent less,” Gillman said.

Network 180 gets about $240 per person on Healthy Michigan as opposed to $270 per person with DAB, but Gillman understands why so many people switched.

“Healthy Michigan is just easier to access. While DAB funding requires you to prove that you’re disabled or blind, Healthy Michigan is based on income,” he said.  

Gillman says Network 180 has already begun laying off some employees.

“Total full time jobs will be about 35, we've laid off about 16 people so far and the others are vacant positions that we're holding vacant,” he said.

Network 180 will cut programs too if no other revenue stream comes in. The programs being cut wouldn’t change the entitlements of the patients, but Gillman isn’t pleased about it.

“The people we care for would still get what they are entitled to in the basic care packages, but other services that help us do our job better won’t be offered unfortunately,” he said.

Gillman is asking that the state’s two year process to change the funding formula be sped up to avoid cutting more jobs and programs.

“This huge migration, $97 million statewide, is cause for that process to be expedited so we don’t have to make the kind of reductions we’re talking about,” he said.

The Lakeshore Regional Entity, which coordinates mental health services for several counties in West Michigan including Kent County, lost about $23 million for the same reason.

Gillman didn’t clarify exactly when patients would see the loss of programs, but said that the state needs to help soon. 

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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