Daily Briefing – July 31, 2019

“With physical health, most people embrace the philosophy that preventive care provided by a vaccine is cheaper, easier and safer than a hospital stay to treat a case of potentially fatal measles. That same concept is true with mental health, says state House Rep. Michelle Mussman, a Democrat from Schaumburg who serves on legislative committees that deal with mental health, human services and elementary education. Paying for the proper psychological help today could save taxpayer money that might otherwise be needed for expensive emergency room visits, hospital stays or prison. “If I had just gotten you help in the community, could you stay out of that situation?” Mussman asked Monday after watching a presentation of “telepsychiatry,” which allows someone with a mental health issue to talk with a psychiatrist by way of an online video conference.”

“Highest percentage of untreated for mental illness are uninsured; for substance use, percentages are higher for privately insured Strategies to improve treatment include recruiting more providers, expanding school access Report prepared by Altarum Institute and funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund More than 650,000 people in Michigan with a mental illness and over 500,000 with a substance use disorder fail to receive any treatment for their conditions, according to a new study by Altarum, an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit health care consulting institute. Altarum found that the highest percentage of people who go untreated for mental illness are the uninsured (65 percent) and Medicaid enrollees (49 percent). But for a substance use disorder, the percentages are higher for the privately insured (87 percent) and Medicare Advantage enrollees (80 percent). “Substance use disorders and mental illness have been on the rise in the United States and Michigan and policymakers are looking for practical solutions. This research characterizes the unmet need and provides insight into strategies likely to be effective in closing the gap in behavioral health care,” Emily Ehrlich, director of Altarum’s Center for Behavioral Health, said in a statement.”