Michigan acts to ensure Medicaid behavioral health services remain accessible during COVID-19 pandemic

LANSING — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that it plans to ensure residents will continue to have access to behavioral health services as providers deal with challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MDHHS is working with the state’s regional Pre-Paid Inpatient Health Plans on stability plans for providers of Medicaid-funded behavioral health and developmental disability services. Consistent with their contractual responsibilities, the department will work together with plans to ensure that service providers remain viable.

“As we work to protect the physical health of Michiganders from the threat of COVID-19, we must also address the mental health needs that this pandemic has exacerbated,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We are committed to working with our partners to maintain a network of providers who can address these behavioral health needs.”

PIHPs, which are the regional managed-care entities that administer Medicaid behavioral health services through community mental health agencies, are expected to take all necessary steps to make sure their service delivery network remains viable and can provide adequate access to all covered behavioral health services. Nearly 280,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Michigan receive behavioral health or developmental disability services through PIHP providers.

MDHHS is requiring that each of the state’s 10 PIHPs submit a Provider Network Stability Plan that outlines the steps being taken to support its network of providers. Stability plans are due Thursday. As part of their stability plans, MDHHS will allow PIHPs to engage in alternative contracting approaches to ensure stability of the provider network.

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