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Michigan creates new agency within MDHHS to improve services for older residents

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Posted at 2:20 PM, Oct 14, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed on Thursday and executive order to establish the Health and Aging Services Administration within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The new agency is meant to provide more coordinated services to Michigan’s growing aging population by combing the former MDHHS Aging and Adult Services Agency and Medical Services Administration under one umbrella, according to a news release.

Michigan Medicaid office is also part of the new Health and Aging Services Administration.

“Older Michiganders deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and by dedicating resources at the state level, we can ensure they have the resources they need to have a secure retirement, access to high-quality health care, attainable, affordable housing and more,” Whitmer said. “The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ new Health and Aging Services Administration will stay laser-focused on helping aging adults thrive, coordinate effectively across agencies and departments to enact lasting change and get things done that make a real difference in people’s lives.”

The new administration will retain current staff positions while providing for more collaboration.

“Long-term care policy will now come from one coordinated area of MDHHS,” said Kate Massey, who has been chosen to be senior deputy director of the new administration and previously served in that same role with the Medical Services Administration. “We expect these changes to allow smoother transitions across the continuum of care – including for older adults who prefer to age in place. Services to our aging population are a critically important part of MDHHS’s work.”

Nearly 25% of the state’s population is over age 60, and Michiganders 85 and older remains the fastest-growing age group, according to the state.

Officials say the change allows for increased coordination between aging services teams in local communities and in-house employees who are responsible for developing policies, as well as improved analysis of processes and results and expanded capacity across programs and services.

That includes:

  • Providing additional capacity to serve the intentions of older adults who prefer to age in place – defined by the CDC as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably” 
  • Increasing speed in the delivery of services 
  • Aligning with long-term care support and services to community-based services through the federal Older Americans Act, the MI Choice Waiver Program and the Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly 
  • Making the Bureau of Medicaid Long-Term Care Services and Support responsible for programs associated with the Older Michiganders Act overseen by the administrator of the new administration 
  • Transferring the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging and Adult Community Placement program from the former Aging and Adult Services Agency to MDHHS itself