Whitmer Touts Budget Investments in Public Health, Public Safety

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Wednesday highlighted investments in the bipartisan budget for Fiscal Year 2023 she said will protect public health and public safety.

The budget funds construction of a new state psychiatric hospital, a new state public health and environmental laboratory, improves access to dental care, and expands access to behavioral health across Michigan.

The fiscally responsible, balanced budget delivers on the kitchen-table issues, was passed on time, and does not raise taxes.

“Our bipartisan budget makes critical investments in two things that are top of mind for every family and community—health and safety,” Whitmer said. “It will increase access to mental health services by building a new state psychiatric hospital complex, expanding behavioral health capacity, and offering tuition reimbursement for mental health professionals.

“To protect public health, the budget improves access to dental care for Michiganders enrolled in Medicaid, raises reimbursement rates for other critical health services, and speeds up replacement of lead service lines and clean-up of other contaminated sites,” she added. “To protect public safety, the budget will increase law enforcement training and resources and create two new criminal units for retail and cyber crime while continuing to fund law enforcement officers, firefighters, and first responders in every community.”

Among other items, the budget includes:

  • $325 million for a new state psychiatric facility complex.
  • $277.8 million to expand public and private behavioral health capacity.
  • $57.8 million to support additional beds at the current Hawthorn Center facility, additional Medicaid health homes, and costs for new contracts for intensive inpatient services.
  • $220 million to support one-time capacity expansion grants for inpatient and community-based behavioral health services.
  • $10 million in student loan reimbursement for behavioral health providers.

“The … budget represents a real and sizeable investment in meeting the mental health needs of Michiganders,” said Robert Sheehan, CEO of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan. “While mental health needs are and have always been a part of the everyday lives of Michigan families and communities, this need has grown substantially as a result of the isolation and uncertainty of the pandemic, the threat posed by gun violence, and a range of other factors in our environment. This budget recognizes these needs and responds concretely with a range of clinical and fiscal approaches.”

  • $250 million for a new state public health and environmental laboratory.
  • $125.6 million to improve Medicaid reimbursement for critical services.
  • $109 million to speed up lead line replacement, seal 182 abandoned oil and gas wells, and clean up contaminated sites.
  • $85.1 million to improve access to dental care for Michiganders enrolled in Medicaid.  
  • Expanding Law Enforcement Training and Resources
  • $150 million to develop and implement a Statewide Judicial Case Management System. 
  • $130 million for community policing, public safety academies, telecommunications improvements, Detroit PAL Program expansion, and training grants for EMS.
  • $23.5 million for Michigan Department of Corrections employees and safety.

The budget supports the development and implementation of a statewide judicial case management system to improve data management and efficiency and reduce court costs. It supports specialty programs addressing the root cause to stop the cycle of crime, funding a new Jobs Court program, an initiative to pair low-level, non-violent offenders with local businesses providing gainful and a long-term career path, and increase for problem solving courts targeting the mental health and drug use issues at the root of criminal activity.

“Job’s Court is a novel and innovative solution proposed by the governor and attorney general to reduce crime and make our communities safer,” said Shari Ware, Detroit chapter co-coordinator for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “By offering a good paying job with benefits – instead of jail time for non-violent offenders – this program will reduce recidivism and give hundreds of Michiganders a second chance. We fully support this program and applaud the bipartisan support to get this program funded.”