The Florida Legislature created a Managing Entity pilot program in 2008 to improve accountability within the state’s substance abuse and mental health funding and its overall behavioral health system of care. Managing Entities would do this through local boards of individuals representing the communities being served.

The Managing Entity pilot, conducted in the Tampa region, produced positive outcomes by supporting the community’s needs with increased accountability and transparency to taxpayers. As a result of this success, the model was implemented on a statewide basis in 2013, creating seven Managing Entities across Florida. The Managing Entities continue to achieve successful management of the system of care by increasing service capacity, ensuring access to quality care, and being good stewards of state funding.

Each year, the Florida Legislature has broadened the Managing Entities’ scope of work because of the system’s record of success, enhancing the community behavioral health system of care.

Throughout COVID-19, Florida’s seven Managing Entities have ensured that essential behavioral health care services remained available to all who needed them, regardless of financial circumstance or access to insurance. Managing Entities worked with the Department of Children & Families, the state Emergency Operations Center, and the Governor’s Office to find innovative means to help providers sustain business operations to continue taking clients.

Specifically, Managing Entities’ providers quickly transitioned to telehealth and telephonic services to provide alternative and safe ways for low-income and uninsured people to access essential behavioral health services. Managing Entities also secured over 2.4 million personal protective equipment, including 600,000 masks from FEMA, for frontline workers to continue working.