June 16, 2020

Managing Entities Help Keep Behavioral Health Services Accessible During COVID-19

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, many individuals across Florida are facing increased challenges including stress, depression, struggles with mental health issues, and addictions. To help, Florida’s seven Managing Entities are ensuring that essential behavioral health care services remain available to all who need them, regardless of financial circumstances or access to insurance.

“It is critical that Floridians know there are mental health and substance use services for those in need of help during this crisis,” said Natalie Kelly, CEO of the Florida Association of Managing Entities. “Florida’s statewide safety-net network of providers has made innovative adjustments to preserve behavioral health access for new and existing clients. Florida’s Managing Entities are ensuring that Floridians do not fall through the cracks and that they get the support they need during this time of uncertainty.”

Managing Entities are nonprofit organizations created by the Florida Legislature to manage the local behavioral health safety net system on behalf of the State of Florida. As the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of Floridians, Managing Entities have been working without interruption to mitigate its effects by ensuring access to mental health care in the face of business closures and personal protection equipment (PPE) shortages.

Working with the Department of Children & Families, the state Emergency Operations Center, and the Governor’s Office, the Managing Entities have been finding ways to help providers sustain business operations in order to continue taking clients. The Florida Association of Managing Entities has secured PPE for frontline workers in behavioral health facilities across the state. Managing Entities have also worked with providers to quickly transition to virtual care options, including telephone and telehealth methods, to provide care including outpatient services.

Managing Entities and the network of over 300 behavioral health providers they manage are committed to respecting guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Governor Ron DeSantis, in order to remain open and continue safely serving both new and existing patients.