Newsletter December 2019

From the Chief Executive Officer's Desk

Joseph Sedlock


Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), presents vision for behavioral health system.

On Wednesday, December 4, 2019, Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), presented to the Joint House/Senate MDHHS Appropriations Committee on the department’s vision for a strengthened behavioral health system. According to MDHHS, the proposed system will integrate physical and behavioral health services (and payments) to improve outcomes and meet the growing demand for mental health care in Michigan. Additional information is available from

Quoting from the press release: “MDHHS proposes a new approach to behavioral health that will lead to greater choice of providers, better coordination of services, and increased investment in behavioral health. To advance these goals, Gordon outlined three key principles for system design:

  • Preserving a strong safety net
  • Integrating physical and behavioral health in both care and financing
  • Establishing Specialty Integrated Plans (SIPs)

“SIPs bring together the management skills of traditional insurance companies with the expertise and depth of behavioral health organizations. Already in use in other states, including North Carolina, Arizona and Arkansas, SIPs allow for stronger and simpler oversight with lower administrative costs.

“The department’s approach will also preserve the extra protections available today, including person-centered planning (ensuring people actively participate in the design of their care), recipient rights and comprehensive services and supports. It also creates opportunities for further innovation in how care can be delivered.”

The MDHHS intends to follow a timeline including discussion of approach in 2019, detailed policy design and enabling legislation in 2020, preparation for implementation in 2020 and finalization of implementation in 2022.

 For further information, please contact Joseph, at