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Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Peeling lead paint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lead poisoning in Kent County is up nearly 31% from 2014 to 2016.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 615 children in the county had elevated blood-lead levels last year.

Paul Haan, executive director of the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, a non-profit that tries to help children stay healthy by avoiding harmful housing conditions, says drinking water isn't the cause for the increase in Kent County, but lead-based paint is.

Hepatitis A outbreak reported in SE Michigan

Sep 20, 2017
Daniel Paquet / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Michigan officials are warning health care providers about an outbreak of hepatitis A in the city of Detroit and nearby Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties.

According to Michigan's Medicaid Director Chris Priest, hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that is primarily spread between people through food, water, or oral contact with objects, including hands and eating utensils, contaminated by the feces of a hepatitis A-infected individual.

Legionella pneumophila
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

State officials are working with health departments in Detroit and Macomb, Wayne and Oakland counties to investigate an increase in Legionnaires' disease cases.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that 73 cases of legionellosis were identified in June and July in southeastern Michigan.

An average of 30 cases were identified over the same two months from 2014-2016.

Taisha standing behind a sign that says neighborhoods of hope
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Family visits for kids in foster care often take place in a foster care agency’s office, which is not always the homiest setting. But a new program launching in Wayne County wants to change that.

Neighborhoods of Hope is a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and community partners in Detroit.

The centerpiece of the project is a townhouse in the GardenView Estate public housing development in Detroit. The furnished home has a cozy living room, a full kitchen, and a play area in the backyard.

Wikipedia Commons

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there's been 200 confirmed cases of hepatitis A in Southeast Michigan since last August, resulting in ten deaths. The virus has been reported in Oakland, Wayne, and St. Clair counties.

piggy bank, stethescope, and bundle of money
flickr user 401(K) 2012 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Top officials in Gov. Rick Snyder's administration say it could cost Michigan up to $800 million a year to keep the state's Medicaid expansion program at current enrollment levels if cuts approved by the U.S. House are enacted.

State Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon gave the estimate Monday during an event in which Snyder aides and advocates defended the expanded Medicaid program.

Tom Watkins

“Legislators… NOT FOR SALE: My Mental Health Care.”

So says a series of billboards that have popped up along I-75. The billboards, which also feature a couple and their young daughter, are targeted at state legislators who will be driving up north this weekend for the annual Mackinac Policy Conference.

crow
Grendel Khan / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The first cases of rabies and West Nile virus were confirmed by state officials this week. Three birds and a bat were discovered to have the diseases, which can be harmful to humans.

On Thursday, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced that an Ingham county big brown bat had tested positive for rabies, the first confirmed case of 2017. 41 cases were confirmed in 2016.

groceries
Ruth Hartnup / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Thousands of children in Flint are presumed to receive additional money for nutritional foods that can limit lead exposure effects.

The Detroit Free Press reports the $7 million in food aid is going to about 15,000 kids who qualify for food assistance. Qualifying families will receive a one-time payment of $420 per child. That money is expected to be used throughout the year and is in addition to the $30 per child families got in March.

Close up of adult, child holding hands
FLICKR.COM/SWAITY / LICENCED UNDER CREATIVE COMMONS HTTPS://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY/2.0/

The Michigan Supreme Court this week handed a big win to parents with disabilities in child welfare cases.

If the state removes a child from her home and puts her in foster care, generally the goal is to reunite the child and parent as soon as possible. The parent is given services and a plan with specific goals they have to meet before reunification, and if those goals aren't met, their parental rights can be terminated.

A Health Blog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Community mental health groups fear that their funding and management could be transferred to private insurers.

The state House and Senate subcommittees on Health and Human Services passed their budget plans for the department this past week. Mental health groups say the Senate subcommittee's plan intends to privatize by 2020.

Similarly, Gov. Rick Snyder last year called for moving the $2.5 billion of community mental health money and management to private insurers. The House's proposal did not call for moving the money or management to private insurers.

Lance McCord / Flickr, http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed the influenza-related deaths of two Michigan children.

Officials did not release any other additional information related to the deaths, other than one was a child in northern Michigan and the other child was in western Michigan.

In a statement, the department reiterated the importance of flu vaccinations for anyone older than six months of age.

User apoxapox / Flickr

Cases of hepatitis A are increasing in Detroit, as well as Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced today that there has been a significant uptick in the number of lab-confirmed hepatitis A cases.

In a press release, the department said that 107 cases were confirmed from August 1, 2016 to March 1, 2017. That's eight times higher than the previous year.

A Health Blog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder wants the $2.4 billion in mental health Medicaid money to be turned over to private insurance companies to manage.

He believes that Medicaid funds will be better spent and more people with behavioral issues and mental illnesses will be better served. Mental health would be integrated with physical health under the HMOs.

Many mental health advocates and patients don’t like the idea.

In addition to providing hundreds of thousands with health insurance, Healthy Michigan has also helped Michigan hospitals save hundreds of millions of dollars because of a reduction in uncompensated care.
Chealion / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is in Washington today. He’s meeting with members of Congress to talk about Healthy Michigan, the state’s version of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

During his State of the State address this week, Snyder noted Congressional Republicans’ plan to repeal, and likely replace, the ACA with something else. However, it’s uncertain what that replacement plan might be.

Nick Lyon, director of the Department of Health and Human Services, joined Stateside to talk about the current state of Healthy Michigan and what the future might hold for the program that has provided about 640,000 people with health insurance. 

MRI scan
NIH Image Gallery / flickr

Michigan's Legislature and the mental health community in the state are at odds over how best to provide and manage services.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released a draft set of recommendations to the Legislature about Governor Snyder's Section 298 proposal that would effectively privatize mental health services.

A table filled with bottles of Flint water (both clear and brown)
Flint Water Study / Facebook

Governor Rick Snyder is boosting the position of Michigan chief medical executive to his official inner circle. The governor says he wants to streamline how critical public health information reaches him. That was one of the problems identified by a task force that looked into how the Flint water crisis occurred.

In the-not-too-distant past, chief medical executive in the Snyder administration was a part-time job. Now, the governor is elevating it to a cabinet-level position reporting directly to him.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor is concerned the health of her city’s residents may be affected by a legal dispute between state agencies and local health institutions. 

A dispute over a court order has led to sniping between the governor’s office, Michigan’s Attorney General’s office, the state health department, and Flint’s McLaren hospital.

This week, the state health department announced a seventh case of Legionnaire's disease in Genesee County this year. But it said it couldn’t confirm what the Flint hospital was doing in response.  

McClaren hospital sign.
courtesy of Signs by Crannie / http://signsbycrannie.com/

A dispute between Michigan’s governor and attorney general is spilling over into institutions charged with protecting public health.

The state Department of Health and Human Services issued a press release yesterday saying there’s a seventh case of Legionnaire's disease in Genesee County. But it added it can’t say much more because it’s blocked by a court order from learning more.

From the release:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There was a probable cause hearing today for the eight defendants charged by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in the Flint water disaster. What does that mean, and how does today's hearing fit into the legal process?

Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning joined Stateside to provide some answers.

For starters, what is a probable cause conference?

The former Wurtsmith Air Force base.
Mike Fritcher / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Wurtsmith Air Force base in Oscoda Charter Township has served as home to B-52 bombers and F-106 fighter jets.

During the height of the Cold War, there were even plans to turn it into one of the few American military installations to house trains capable of launching intercontinental ballistic missiles. 

The base closed in 1993. Now, according to an MLive report, it might become known for something else.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials are now confirming 12 people died in a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Genesee County.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released the updated numbers today. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Flint residents are getting some relief when it comes to their water bills. But what about their medical bills? It’s a question some Flint families are asking.

Medical bills are adding up for Keri Webber. I met her over the weekend, volunteering at an open house for Flint residents.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan resident has been diagnosed with the plague.

The unidentified Marquette County resident recently traveled to Colorado, where bubonic plague had been active.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says plague does not naturally occur in Michigan, and this is the first ever report of plague in a resident of Michigan.

The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

On Wednesday a state senate panel will review a bill that would cut off welfare benefits to families whose children skip school repeatedly.

About 29,000 families get cash assistance in Michigan now. Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services has been cutting off families with kids who don’t show up for school.

Antonin / Flickr Creative Commons

People whose food, cash, and child-care benefits were cut off  by the Michigan Department of Human Services because of an outstanding felony warrant may be able to get their benefits back.