The Arc of Oakland County hosted a Town Hall forum to discuss the proposed community mental health budget reduction on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at the Troy Community Center. The turnout was outstanding with over 300 people in attendance.
Each participant was given an assignment to contact their respective state representative and senator and tell them their own personal story. We need to also tell the Director of the Michigan DCH, James K. Haveman, that Oakland County must remain whole.
UPDATE AS OF 3/12/2014
CRISIS AVERTED – NO FY14 BUDGET REDUCTIONS
“Good news!” Following the “Town Hall” meeting that was sponsored by The Arc of Oakland County on February 26, 2014, the Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (CMHA) has recently decided not to invoke any major budget reductions during FY14 (that is, through September 30, 2014). This will more than likely become “official” on Tuesday, March 18th at the next Oakland CMHA board of directors meeting. Fortunately, the Oakland CMHA found out at the very end of February that within its reconciled FY13 financials with the state of Michigan, it was able to “save” and carry-over almost $3.5M of un-allocated Medicaid dollars from its FY13 budget.
External advocacy still has influence!
I want to sincerely thank all of the parents, consumers, advocates, agency, and provider personnel who not only attended our overflow (300+ persons) and wildly successful “Town Hall” meeting, but also wrote to their elected officials about this issue. Additional kudos go out to the members of the Oakland CMHA board for listening to our thoughts and concerns. Finally, I wish to commend Mr. Jeff Brown, Executive Director of the Oakland CMHA, for his professional and personal efforts to resolve this matter.
This is not over. We still have FY15 looming on the horizon, but we won’t know the full extent of any reductions for the next fiscal year until about June. “Re-basing” remains an issue and we will possibly have to deal with future cuts or reductions from the Michigan Department of Community Health (DCH) in the coming months ahead.
Thomas F. Kendziorski, Esq.
The Arc of Oakland County, Inc.