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Whitmer: Use $1.4B to expand health access on buildings

By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday proposed spending $1.4 billion in federal pandemic funding to expand health care and infrastructure, including to bolster access to mental health services, replace state psychiatric hospitals and build a new public-health lab.

The proposal, if approved by the Republican-led Legislature, would account for more than a fifth of Michigan’s $6.5 billion in discretionary rescue funding approved by Congress and President Joe Biden six months ago. Lawmakers could consider it — and other spending plans previously outlined by the Democratic governor — this fall after finishing the state budget this month.

Whitmer called for $335 million in grants to improve access to treatments for autism, behavioral health and substance abuse. An additional $325 million would fund the construction of a new psychiatric facility in the Detroit area to replace both the Hawthorn Center in Northville Township and the Walter P. Reuther Psychiatric Hospital in Westland.

The governor wants to use $220 million to replace the public-health lab in Lansing.

The broader proposal also would give grants to local health departments, fund telemedicine rooms in public places such as state social service offices, help retain direct care workers, provide home repair and plumbing assistance to lower-income families, and improve infection controls inside nursing homes.

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