I’ve experienced psychiatric units first-hand in Florida, and it is no surprise to me, both as a consumer with experience both inpatient and outpatient, that Florida is ranked 49th in the country in mental health funding.
This proposed law makes mental health care in Florida even more difficult to obtain. A disgrace.
The Bill in Plain English
The bill would require that community crisis units be reimbursed after the fact, instead of paying them a contracted fee up front
Community mental health leaders say facilities may be forced to reduce beds, or even get out of the industry entirely.
The Baker Act
In the last 10 years, the number of both children and adults examined under the Baker Act has increased dramatically.
The cost of this has also increased.
Florida spent $77 million last year, and these funds are critical to having open beds and staffing hospital units.
Challenges for Floridians
The President and CEO of a designated Baker Act facility in Orlando says there is no evidence that the proposed change will cost the state less or allow the system to function more effectively. He fears that 10 to 20 beds will have to be removed from his crisis stabilization unit if this law is passed.
His unit currently has 80 beds, and typically runs 90 percent full.
I’ve been in this hospital, and others, and in my opinion, Florida needs to fund more, not less. Local crisis units are already in a state of disrepair and under staffing as it is.
Among other current challenges, like Governor Rick Scott’s refusal to accept Medicaid funds, a lack of empathy and understanding of health needs in the state of Florida is concerning for thousands of people.