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Blocked grant funding dried up for certain incarcerated inpatient treatment

Northern Michigan Regional Entity is one of ten prepaid inpatient health plans in the State of Michigan. They manage behavior health services for people enrolled in Medicaid, and that includes people behind bars.

MANISTEE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- A major grant source that pays for drug addiction treatment for people in jail has dried up.

Northern Michigan Regional Entity is one of ten prepaid inpatient health plans in Michigan.

They manage behavior health services for people enrolled in Medicaid, and that includes people behind bars.

“It’s essentially a clearinghouse for funding for people coming through the court system getting substance abuse services inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, aftercare,” said Jon Hauswirth, the chief assistant prosecutor in Manistee County.

Block grant funds that the Northern Michigan Regional Entity receives through the federal government and other sources has hit the funding limit until the next fiscal year which doesn’t begin until October first.

“It’s incredibly important that we have these type of services for inpatient treatment,” Hauswirth said. “We try to treat those with addiction and punish and we try to punish those who are dealing.”

Hauswirth says the funds greatly impact how they prosecute and sentence in drug cases.

“Ordinarily in a plea bargain type of situation in a drug case a lot of times we say, ‘Okay you’re going to be sentenced, but the court can release you from jail half way through your sentence so-to-speak and release you to inpatient services in lieu of finishing your full sentence,’” Hauswirth said. “Now with this change in protocol, we are going to have re-evaluate it.”

Hauswirth says finding funding for services like this are a state and nationwide issue.

“I don’t have specific numbers as far as how often it happens that people relapse seriously after incarceration or die, but I’ve seen it numerous times that that is always a danger window,” Hauswirth said.

Organizations and community leaders plan to discuss what can be done to restore funding or find another source.

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