A statewide program that is showing positive results in reducing readmissions for individuals in crisis is being considered again for funding in the state budget. ROAD TO RECOVERY is a system-level care coordination program for high-need individuals who are high utilizers of services in the behavioral health system – those who frequently use emergency rooms, jails, and acute care as a result of mental health and addiction problems.
Managing Entity Care Coordination identifies those individuals who are high utilizers of costly services and confirms needed services, coordinates a team approach to care with multiple providers and other community resources as needed (e.g., housing), and then tracks progress to ensure success. Managing Entities are local, not-for-profit businesses with community boards that manage and coordinate state and federal funds for Floridians who live with mental health and substance disorders.
“Managing Entities are uniquely positioned to provide the oversight needed to ensure that individuals receive effective, consistent, and evidence-based care,” said John W. Newcomer, MD, CEO of Thriving Mind South Florida, the Managing Entity for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. “Managing Entities are highly connected in the communities we serve. We fund and oversee local networks of health care provider organizations that together offer our communities a comprehensive system of care, and we also maintain active partnerships with law enforcement, the courts, the schools, and other community organizations – for example, to address homelessness in our population. System-level (managing entity-level) care coordination is critical to our ability to achieve Florida’s goal to reduce the number of individuals in crisis.”
Care coordination is designed to overcome the problems that arise when individuals seek care from multiple providers, including lack of timely sharing of needed treatment information among providers, lack of monitoring to ensure client engagement, and lack of coordinated responsibilities among multiple providers serving the same client. These issues can hinder the effectiveness of treatment and lead to readmission. Through care coordination, Managing Entities are able to provide oversight and accountability for services, reduce any redundancy, and assure needed outcomes.
“We are grateful for the support of Senator Darryl Rouson and the Florida Legislature in championing this funding,” said Linda McKinnon, CEO of Central Florida Behavioral Health Network, the Managing Entity in the Suncoast region. “They recognize the positive impact that comes from effective care coordination services and understand that this funding would prioritize the treatment needs of vulnerable Floridians.”
In 2019, the Managing Entities received 3.5 million dollars for care coordination and in the year following, they have seen reductions of readmission rates of “high utilizers.” For example, LSF Health Systems, the Managing Entity in Jacksonville, reported readmission rates as low as 3-5% for “high utilizers.” As the readmission rate decreases, so does the use of deep-end, costly services and inappropriate settings such as jails, emergency rooms, and detox facilities, while also reducing out-of-home placement for children. Care Coordination allows families to remain intact while family members receive the help they need.
The Florida Association of Managing Entities (FAME) represents Florida’s seven managing entities. Managing entities are local, not-for-profit businesses with community boards that administer, manage, and ensure accountability of state and federal funds for Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) services.