This is a big week for the future of mental health care in Michigan.
All the complexities aside, which have been covered at length on Stateside over the last year, essentially it comes down to one question: Should the mental health services remain in the control of public entities like Community Mental Health centers, or should private insurance companies take the lead?
At stake is nearly $2.5 billion a year in Medicaid funds and the services for more than 350,000 Michiganders who are receiving care for severe and persistent mental illnesses.
Virtually everyone agrees the system can be improved, that integrating mental health care with physical health care would both reduce costs and improve services.
The health plans say they can do it more efficiently and effectively.
The advocates say patients and their families overwhelmingly want it to stay in the public's hands and that the health plans' financial incentives don't align with caring for our most vulnerable citizens.
Legislators will announce their budget proposal for the Department of Health and Human Services this week and it'll include just which way they want things to go.
John Lindstrom, publisher of Gongwer News Service joined Stateside to break down where we're at and what to expect in the coming week.