Adult foster care facilities may soon also serve as substance abuse centers

The Michigan Senate on Wednesday voted to approve legislation that would allow an adult foster care facility to be licensed as a substance use disorder facility as well.

“People who are treated for mental health needs may also suffer from substance abuse issues, and vice versa,” said the sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “This legislation would remove an existing barrier and make access to the necessary care much easier for patients.”

Adult foster care homes provide care, protection and supervision for individuals who are mentally ill, developmentally disabled, physically handicapped, aged, and those who cannot live alone, while substance use disorder programs offer prevention services, treatment, and rehabilitation services to individuals dealing with alcohol or drug addiction. Both fields require state licensure.

However, under current law, the two fields of treatment require separate licensing and neither facility can offer the care of the other.

That means someone needing treatment in both areas must receive treatment for mental health in one facility and travel to another facility that specializes in substance abuse to receive additional treatment.

Senate Bill 962 acknowledges the common concurrence between mental health and substance abuse, and it would allow certain facilities to be licensed in both fields. This would allow for treatment of a substance use disorder and mental health issue to be treated at a single facility.

In order to do so, a facility must be licensed as both a substance use disorder program and an adult foster care facility and approved as a co-occurring enhanced crisis residential program—a program approved by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services for providing short-term intensive mental health and substance use disorder treatment.

“I think this will be a great improvement to patient care and make it easier for people who are suffering from a mental health issue or an addiction to find the treatment they need,” Schmidt said. “Allowing facilities to offer treatment for both mental health and substance abuse will eliminate patients being forced to choose between their health care needs.”

The Senate accepted House changes made to SB 962 and now the legislation will go to the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder for final approval.

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