For Immediate Release


Chelsea Lewis

Digital Director, Michigan Consumers for Healthcare

(248) 396-5603 


Lansing, Mi.-The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recently announced a delay in the timeline for implementation of MI Health Link, Michigan’s demonstration project to integrate health care and supports and services for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. MDCH had planned to phase in implementation beginning on January 1, 2015 but will now delay the program’s start date to March 1, 2015.

The decision to delay implementation, which was approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was based on concerns that the complex and ambitious project was not yet ready to launch. In the additional time, the state will work to ensure that care coordination models, systems, and networks are in place and will seek to ensure both consumers and providers receive training about the project. These additional efforts are especially important in light of the challenges other states have faced when they implemented similar demonstration projects.

Delays in obtaining and distributing federal implementation grant funding to support the project contributed to concerns that MI Health Link was not yet prepared to begin the project. MDCH Director Nick Lyon stated, “As the population served through MI Health Link includes some of the most vulnerable in Michigan, it is imperative that we are confident that our program is ready to launch prior to beginning enrollment.”

MI Health Link will be launched in four regions of the state in two phases. Phase 1 includes the entire Upper Peninsula and eight counties in southwest Michigan, including Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren. Phase 2 will take place in Macomb and Wayne counties.

Under the new timeline, individuals who are eligible for the program in Southwest Michigan and the Upper Peninsula will receive letters informing them of their enrollment options for the program in late January 2015. These individuals will be able to enroll in the program beginning in February, and their services will start March 1, 2015. Individuals in these regions who do not opt out of MI Health Link or voluntarily enroll in a plan will be passively enrolled in the program and will be eligible for services effective May 1, 2015.

There are no changes to the implementation timeline for Wayne and Macomb Counties. Individuals in those counties who voluntarily enroll in the program will begin receiving services in May, 2015. Those who do not opt out or voluntarily enroll with a plan will be passively enrolled and begin receiving services in July, 2015. .

MI Health Link seeks to improve quality and access to care and supports and services for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. According to MDCH, the goals of the program are to provide seamless access to all Medicare and Medicaid services and supports; offer a person-centered care coordination model; streamline administrative processes; eliminate barriers to home and community based services; provide quality services focusing on enrollee satisfaction; and realign financial incentives. More information about MI Health Link is available online at

Michigan Voices for Better Health applauds the decision to delay the launch date of MI Health Link. The action demonstrates MDCH’s appropriate concern about ensuring the demonstration is prepared to serve consumers well before it is implemented. MVBH supports the state’s goal of assuring a smooth implementation of MI Health Link and hopes the program will offer significant improvements in access, quality, and consumers’ experiences in obtaining health care supports and services.


MOU Press Release:Press Release

State’s Leading Consumers Advocates Comment on Integrated Care MOU

A coalition of leading consumer advocacy agencies focused on making integrated care reform work for consumers in our state commented today on the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the State of Michigan and the Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) which paves the way for streamlining services for those person dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, Michigan Disability Rights Coalition and Michigan Poverty Law Program are among those consumer focused groups that have formed the Michigan Voices for Better Health coalition to promote greater consumer involvement in the design and implementation of the new program.

“The Michigan Voices for Better Health coalition is pleased to see the requirement of Consumer Advisory Boards to the Integrated Care Organizations (ICO) in the MOU between CMS and the State. The Advisory Boards will be comprised of a mix of enrollees, caregivers, advocates and other community-based organizations. We are especially pleased to see one third of these advisory boards must be comprised of enrollees. Furthermore, the   ICOs must support the advisory board members by assisting with transportation, communications, and other measures to ensure and encourage full participation.

While we are excited about the opportunities Integrated Care may bring, we are also cautious and will want to see the preservation of long-standing gains achieved in Michigan’s long-term supports and services system including the choice of in-home support and person-centered planning.”

You may read the MOU, It is attached below.

You may read the State of Michigan press release related to the singing here.



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