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Outman highlights DHHS subcommittee budget priorities

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services continued working on the fiscal year 2023 budget Wednesday afternoon by voting the proposed Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) budget out of the committee.

“Like years past, we’re still reeling a bit from the pandemic but we’re keeping our nose to the grindstone working out where funding can be most responsibly spent,” said Sen. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, who serves as the subcommittee’s chair. “I, along with subcommittee members, am focused on getting money where it matters most and funding programs and policies that help those in need, not those that grow state government.”

Senate Bill 828 addresses and funds a number of health care-related issues and initiatives.

The legislation includes over $46 million to help alleviate strains on the current Medicaid dental system, as well as efforts to improve access to dental care by extending the hours and availability of community dental centers. The bill also provides funding for the Kids’ Food Basket to help ensure no child misses a meal, sets aside funds to assist children in foster care with school-related activities and athletics, and fully funds the Jail Diversion Program to provide needed mental health resources for the judicial system. The Jail Diversion Program was created by bipartisan legislation sponsored by Outman and Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit.

The funding measure would also dedicate nearly $415 million for a direct care worker wage increase and includes funds for community health worker reimbursements so they can remain focused on providing necessary services.

“For the second year in a row, a major priority included in the subcommittee recommendations is the wage increase for direct care workers,” Outman said. “These folks helped us navigate the difficulties of the pandemic and continue working to help us get out of the woods. They were pushed to the limit, and even beyond, yet remained committed to doing their jobs and keeping our communities safe.”

Residents of Outman’s district would also see improved access to care under the proposal. The Sheridan Community Hospital is slated to receive $6.6 million to address low reimbursement rates under the proposal. The money would be used to increase access to essential, quality care.

“We’re still in the pretty early stages of this year’s budget process, but we’re moving forward. I will continue working to get this bill through the legislative proves and to the governor’s desk,” Outman said.

SB 828 now moves to the full Senate Committee on Appropriations for additional consideration.

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