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Where do you go, to whom do you turn if your child needs mental health care? Child psychiatrists and parents agree: the options in Michigan are too few and far between.

This issue has led to a class action lawsuit against the state's Department of Health and Human Services. It was filed in 2018 against then-Governor Snyder, and it alleges the state has failed to meet its legal obligation under Medicaid to provide adequate services for children who have behavioral and mental health problems.

Cyndi Sibley standing in front of a brick wall
Bella Isaacs / Michigan Radio

Parents of children with severe autism in Michigan have limited options when it comes to finding long-term care for their kids.

Credit Melinda Odisho

A danger to themselves or others. That’s the threshold set by Michigan law to put someone in a psychiatric hospital.

But many families with autistic children say meeting that definition doesn’t seem to be enough for their kids--and they don’t know what to do.

This is one family’s story.


young man sitting with his head in his hands in the middle of a field
Francisco Gonzalez / Francisco Gonzalez

Tens of thousands of children in Michigan aren't getting the mental health treatment that they need, according to a recent report published in JAMA Pediatrics. 

University of Michigan researchers tracked the prevalence of three of the most common and treatable mental health disorders — depression, anxiety, and ADHD — among young people at both the national and state level. They also looked at how many of those kids and teens were getting treatment. 

wikimedia

A new University of Michigan study finds that doctors frequently send discharged patients home with a prescription for risky antibiotics. That's even when the patients were taking less risky antibiotics in the hospital.

The study looked at people who were hospitalized for urinary tract infections or pneumonia.

The risky antibiotics include Ciprofloxacin (often just called Cipro), Leviquin and generic drugs ending in "floxacin."

US Department of Agriculture / FLICKR - HTTP://BIT.LY/1XMSZCG

New work requirements for people in Michigan's Medicaid expansion group could cause as many as 183,000 people to lose their coverage.

Anywhere between 9 and 27 percent of the approximately 680,000 people enrolled in the Michigan Healthy Plan - or 61,000 to 183,000 recipients - could be kicked of the rolls.

fresh vegetables at a grocery store.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Preparations are underway for what could be a long gap between monthly benefits for some SNAP recipients.

Bob Wheaton is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. He said the department is giving a heads up to organizations that they could see more people in need.

Nathan Bishop

People living near the Marathon refinery in southwest Detroit are calling for “more transparency” after a foul odor from the plant descended on surrounding neighborhoods Sunday.

The source of the odors was a malfunctioning flare gas system which allowed hydrogen sulfide and other compounds to be released into the air.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The latest testing shows the level of lead in Flint’s tap water has declined again.

Flint’s drinking water has been closely tested since the height of the city’s water crisis.   

In early 2016, the highest risk homes, with lead service lines, were testing at 20 parts per billion.  The federal action level for lead is 15 parts per billion. The latest testing found four parts per billion in the 90th percentile of the highest risk homes

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Fifty-six percent of those who take medical marijuana for chronic pain admit that in the last six months they've driven under the influence of marijuana within two hours of using it. 

About one in five report that they've driven while "very high" at least once in the last six months, and about half say they've driven while "slightly high."  

Sign that says Flint vehicle city
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A special registry for people affected by the Flint water crisis moves into a new phase next month.

The ill-fated 2014 switch of the city’s drinking water source from Detroit water to the Flint River led to a cascade of events. 

Damaged pipes leached lead into the drinking water, elevating blood lead levels in children. Many Flint residents complained of skin irritation and other health problems. Dozens of people became sick with Legionnaires' disease, with at least dozen people dying of the pneumonia-like illness. 

Smokestacks spewing pollution
mdprovost ~ Prosper in 2011 / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A new study says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should consider the effects of burning fossil fuels on children in its regulation process - and not just adults, as it mainly does now.

The study conducted a systematic review of scientific literature on the effects on children's development and health from pollutants from fossil fuels.

Those pollutants include particulate matter, powerful toxins known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and nitrogen dioxide, as well as carbon dioxide, which is warming the planet.

Syringe with drip
ZaldyImg / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan attorney general has filed second-degree murder charges against a pharmacist and the co-founder of a Massachusetts pharmacy who are blamed for a fatal meningitis outbreak.

MarcoVerch / FLICKR - HTTP://BIT.LY/1XMSZCG

In 2016, 20,360 children and teens died in the United States. And sixty-one percent of them died from preventable injuries, according to a new study by members of the University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Time is running out for Michiganders to sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.   
Midnight Saturday is the deadline to qualify for next year’s health plans. 

Michigan State University sign
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Last week, Michigan State University announced that it will not reopen the fund it had previously set up to pay for counseling and other services sought by survivors of  Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse. MSU officials froze the $10 million fund in July, citing concerns over fraud.

CDC

Michigan has its first confirmed case this year of a polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis or AFM. The patient is a child in Wayne County.

Nationally, there have been 134 cases of acute flaccid myelitis in 2018. AFM  can cause muscle weakness, facial drooping and paralysis. Most of those affected have been children.  

Lynn Sutfin is a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"This is incredibly rare," Sutfin emphasizes. "This is the only case we've had diagnosed and confirmed in Michigan this year. Just definitely keep an eye out; ask your health care provider if you're concerned, but we definitely don't want anyone panicking."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The deadline to sign up for 2019 Affordable Care Act health plans is less than two weeks away, and fewer new Michiganders are signing up for Obamacare.

It’s not just Michigan. Online signups on the online Obamacare marketplace are down nationwide.

Analysts point to several possible reasons why fewer people are signing up for health insurance through the ACA marketplace. 

Surgery tools
Stanford EdTech / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two Detroit Medical Center hospitals are in danger of losing federal payments after they failed health and safety inspections last month.

State inspectors found multiple infection control violations at Detroit’s Harper and Receiving Hospitals, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed both hospitals in letters earlier this month.

Colleen Edmonds
Bella Isaacs / Michigan Radio

 

Being a freshman in college is exciting: meeting new people, learning new things, and figuring out who you are. But these big changes can also trigger or worsen mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.

If untreated, those disorders can be fatal. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.

And all too often, parents have no idea that the student is struggling. 

prescription drugs
flickr/Charles Williams / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Patients who are prescribed opioids for post-surgical pain only use a quarter of their prescriptions on average, according to a new study.

The study from the University of Michigan looked at 2,392 surgical patients across 33 of the state's health systems.

An artist's rendering of the planned Beaumont/UHS mental health hospital.
Beaumont Health

Beaumont Health will build a new, $40 million mental health hospital in Dearborn as part of a plan to expand its mental health services.

The 150-bed facility is the centerpiece of that expansion. Set to open in 2021, Beaumont says it will double its capacity for inpatient psychiatric services and serve as a coordinating hub for mental health care across the health system.

State launches new website to help fight opioid epidemic

Oct 24, 2018
person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
User: frankileon / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The State of Michigan has launched a new website to bring information together in one location about opioid addiction and how to get help.

Before, this information was scattered among various state agencies.

LetMiDoctorDecide.org

Michigan's largest health insurance plans got poor or failing grades in a report on drug coverage for autoimmune diseases.  

The report was issued by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), based on research by Dr. Kenneth E. Thorpe and Manasvini Singh of Emory University.

Fairfax County / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Four children in Michigan may have a rare condition known as acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

AFM affects a person’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, causing weakness in one or more limbs. The Centers for Disease Control says AFM is associated with viruses such as West Nile, poliovirus, and non-polio enterovirus.

prescription drugs
flickr/Charles Williams / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people dying from overdoses involving prescription opioids was five times higher in 2016 than 1999.

Legislation awaiting President Trump’s signature aims to bring that number down.

The bill enhances access for medication assisted treatment, provides grant money to increase capacity at treatment centers and increases screening and drug management programs.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials broke ground Friday for a new state psychiatric hospital to be built in the Thumb.

For more than a hundred years, the hospital in the small community of Caro, about 30 miles east of Saginaw, has been treating Michiganders with serious illnesses. Starting in 1914, the facility treated people suffering from epilepsy.  The focus shifted to patients with psychiatric disorders in the 1950s.

Mike Mozart / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

A Meijer pharmacist in Petoskey refused for religious reasons to fill a customer's prescription that was medically necessary to treat her miscarriage, according to a letter of complaint filed yesterday with Meijer by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan on behalf of the customer.

The letter says the pharmacist, Richard Kalkman, also refused to let the customer, Rachel Peterson, talk to another Meijer pharmacist or transfer her prescription to another pharmacy.

U of M nurses ratify three year contract

Oct 11, 2018
The University of Michigan Health System
The University of Michigan

Nurses represented by the University of Michigan Professional Nurses Council have overwhelmingly ratified a three year contract with the U of M's medical center.

Both university and union officials praised the agreement for its commitment to patient safety and high quality care.

The old contract had expired at the end of June, and the new agreement comes after claims of unfair labor practices and a threatened strike.

prescription drugs
flickr/Charles Williams / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan will get more than $50 million from the federal government to help fight the state’s opioid epidemic. The money will be spread out over two years and used for three purposes – prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley says he’s excited about being able to use the money for increased training of doctors in addiction medicine. That’s because, he says, addiction treatment is an emerging field.

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