NORTON SHORES, Mich. — Even with the renewed importance on mental health recently, people in the industry say clinics remain underfunded.
"The whole mental health system has been largely systemically underfunded over the last good number of years," said Greg Hofman with Lakeshore Regional Entity.
Lakeshore Regional Entity manages the benefits for mental health services in seven Michigan counties including Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon. They say their underfunding has led to a multi-million dollar deficit and state leaders are planning to pull LRE's contract—a decision that is being appealed.
"That is underway right now. We don't have a date for that hearing but it would end up with a administrative hearing with an administrative law judge," said Hofman.
It's unclear what impact the decision could have on patients but Hofman is worried about the long term.
"If you don't really keep it strong and fund it at a level that it can stay strong, then there is impact for consumers in the long term," says Hofman.
LRE is hoping a new budget from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will include a focus on behavioral health.
"There's always been a stigma attached to people who experience mental illness and I think we've done probably a better job now of stating if you have a mental illness there is help for you," said Hofman.
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