House OKs First Set of Mental Health Reforms

As reported by Gongwer News Service, legislation creating a web-based database of available psychiatric beds in the state cleared the full House on February 28, as the chamber continues to take up proposals seeking reforms in the state's mental health system.

House Bill 5439 passed 106-3, with Republican Representatives John Bizon (R-Battle Creek), John Reilly (R-Oakland Township) and Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) voting no. The bill would require Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to establish a web-based resource to identify available inpatient psychiatric beds in Michigan. MDHHS could contract with a third party to create the database. Under the bill, quarterly reports would be required on the implementation for the first year.

The bill would require psychiatric facilities and other providers to provide MDHHS with the number of available inpatient psychiatric beds in their facilities on a basis as close to real time as possible.

House Bill 5524 was also considered and passed by a vote of 107-2. The bill would require the Department of Education, in partnership with MDHHS, to develop or adopt a professional development course for teachers in mental health first aid. The bill would not require teachers to take the course.

The House also passed HB 5244 and HB 5246, which would establish a 45-day limit for completing a competency exam for a person set to stand trial and allow for an extension of 15 days if good cause is shown. HB 5244 passed 107-2 with Representative Jim Lower (R-Cedar Lake) and Representative Rose Mary Robinson (D-Detroit) voting no. HB 5246 passed 108-1 with Representative Robinson voting no.

HB 5243, which passed 108-1 with Representative Lower voting no, would establish a 60-day limit for psychological evaluations, as requested by the parole board.

Source: Gongwer News Service