The Florida Association of Managing Entities today applauded the Florida legislature for prioritizing behavioral health services this legislative session, especially at a time when Floridians are experiencing increased substance use and mental health issues.
“By expanding mental health services, especially in schools, the Florida legislature has taken an important step in ensuring all Floridians have access to the behavioral health care they need to live healthy and productive lives,” said Natalie Kelly, CEO of the Florida Association of Managing Entities.
During the legislative session that ended last week, legislators funded critical programs for Floridians experiencing substance use and mental health challenges and directed COVID-19 funds to behavioral health services. The legislature also allocated additional funds to the 2-1-1 helpline that allows individuals to connect to the mental health resources they need.
Legislators also directed the opioid settlement funding to life-saving programs and the Managing Entity Care Coordination program, an innovative program that 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. The legislature is also asking Managing Entities to assess cultural health disparities and develop strategies to engage minority populations on available community services.
Legislators prioritized children’s mental health services by adding an extra $20 million for school mental health resources, allowing school districts to contract with Managing Entities to provide behavioral health care services to children and families in crisis. Further, lawmakers established a commission to evaluate mental health and substance use services in schools to serve students better.
Managing Entities also applaud the legislature for approving additional support for veteran’s mental health and strengthening the laws for sober homes.
“The pandemic brought countless challenges to Floridians across the state, particularly related to mental and behavioral health,” added Natalie Kelly. “We are grateful to legislative leaders, Gov. Ron DeSantis, and First Lady Casey DeSantis for continuing to recognize the importance of mental health services and prioritizing policies that help Floridians who are struggling.”
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.