Macomb County Community Mental Health receives over $3 million in grant funding

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published July 1, 2020


MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb County Community Mental Health recently received additional funding as part of a national campaign aimed to transform mental health and addiction treatment services.

MCCMH was one of 18 Michigan-based community mental health agencies, identified as certified community behavior health clinics, to receive funding. MCCMH was awarded $3.4 million as part of $940 million of federal funding secured as part of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act.

The legislation, introduced by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, and Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, expanded the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics program to include all 19 states that originally submitted applications to participate in 2016.

The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act requires awardees to provide a comprehensive set of services surrounding outpatient mental health and substance use treatment services, 24-hour crisis services, and a coordination of care and partnerships with emergency rooms, law enforcement and veteran’s groups.

MCCMH CEO Dave Pankotai said that MCCMH submitted an application March 10 in response to a funding opportunity announcement issued in January by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. MCCMH was notified April 24 that its proposal was approved.

Macomb County’s budget is based on a budget that was submitted with the original application, Pankotai explained.

“Our budget was determined by the costs for a number of CCBHC requirements, including staffing costs, fringe benefit costs, contract costs, training costs, indirect costs,” he said. “We will be adding about 17 new positions to meet the requirements of the grant.”

Some examples of how grant funds will be utilized include enhancing access to services for adults with serious mental illnesses, severely emotionally disturbed children, persons with substance use disorder and persons with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders; supporting the expansion of mobile crisis services; partnering with the MyCare Health Center in Clinton Township to provide primary health screening and monitoring services to persons served by Integrated Health Macomb; providing staff for the facilitation of integration of behavioral health and primary care; and providing staff training to enhance skills in evidence-based practices.

Funds will aid both individuals with and without insurance.

In 2019, MCCMH’s services impacted over 17,000 families. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pankotai said there has been an increase in calls to its crisis hotline — from 655 calls in April 2019 to 821 in April of this year, an increase of about 25%.

“We anticipate continued increases due to stressors related to the impact of the pandemic,” he said.

MCCMH was able to adapt swiftly to a remote work environment, moving the entire workforce over in one weekend in March. He said, “it has been going very well since.”

Also, a tent was erected at the department’s Groesbeck Highway location so nurses could continue to provide needed injectable medications while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

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