Florida Governor Ron DeSantis today announced that mental health services will continue to be a priority as he unveiled his proposed budget. The Florida Association of Managing Entities applauds the Governor for continuing to prioritize behavioral health services, particularly at a time when Florida is experiencing increases in opioid overdoses and mental health issues.
“This pandemic threatens not only physical health, but also it threatens mental health. We’re seeing increases in opioid overdoses, substance use disorders and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety,” said Natalie Kelly, CEO of the Florida Association of Managing Entities. “I applaud Governor DeSantis and First Lady DeSantis for their continued support of Florida’s behavioral health services, which are essential to helping people live to their fullest potential.”
According to Project Opioid, opioid overdoses are the leading cause of death in individuals under 40 in Central Florida. There have been countless studies and reports on the toll the pandemic has taken on the mental health of every segment of the nation’s population, including frontline and essential workers, children and educators and more.
Mental health professionals across the country are bracing for the “second wave of the pandemic,” or the consequences the pandemic has had and will continue to have on people’s mental wellbeing. The CDC released a report showing an increase in emergency room visits by children who were suffering from mental health issues, and visits have remained high throughout the pandemic.
The Managing Entities advocate for funding of “systems” care coordination, which helps individuals with the most complex behavioral health care needs. The ME Care Coordination program, which has historically carried a 5% readmission with many Managing Entities, guides those who need multiple services from different providers across systems, such as law enforcement agencies, courts, child welfare, insurance/Medicaid, housing, school districts, etc. This represents an enormous cost savings to the state and reduces the risk of adverse outcomes, such as incarceration, emergency room visits and more. An average emergency room stay is more than $6,600.
Florida’s seven Managing Entities oversee a network of approximately 300 health care provider organizations delivering behavioral health services, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment, to more than 320,000 uninsured Floridians. Providers meet patients’ diverse needs with “wraparound services” that address mental health and substance use issues and assist with housing, transportation, and employment.
About the Florida Association of Managing Entities
The Florida Association of Managing Entities (FAME) is the statewide organization representing Florida’s seven Managing Entities. FAME’s mission is to advance the behavioral health recovery of individuals and their families in the state of Florida. More information about FAME is available at flmanagingentities.com.