Categories Press Releases

Florida Association of Managing Entities Applauds Attorney General Moody on Walgreens Settlement

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Florida Association of Managing Entities CEO Natalie K. Kelly issued the following statement regarding Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s announcement of a $680 million settlement with Walgreens for its role in the opioid crisis. 

“On behalf of Florida’s seven Managing Entities, I applaud Attorney General Moody for her steadfast fight in the battle against prescription drug abuse and the $680 million settlement her office reached with Walgreens,” said FAME CEO Natalie Kelly. “Florida is suffering from a drug overdose death rate 23 percent higher than the national average, and we must do everything we can to address this crisis.

“I look forward to these funds being made available in an accountable and streamlined manner over the next two decades by the state to combat the opioid epidemic.” 

Florida’s seven local Managing Entities work with a network of over 300 behavioral health care providers who deliver services to over 300,000 of Florida’s most vulnerable residents, including children, expectant mothers, veterans, and the chronically homeless.

Providers meet patients’ diverse needs with “wraparound services” that not only address mental health issues and substance abuse, but also assist with housing, transportation, and employment. Community boards administer, manage, and ensure accountability of state and federal funds for behavioral health services, keeping oversight and accountability closest to the people they serve.

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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. For more information, visit FLManagingEntities.com

Categories In The News

Those reentering society from jail need tools to succeed

As seen in the Orlando Sentinel

By Maria Bledsoe, CEO of Central Florida Cares Health System

Who hasn’t benefited from a second chance? When it comes to persons who find themselves involved in the criminal-justice system, second chances will soon be significantly enhanced in Central Florida. Osceola County has entered into a historic agreement with the aim of reducing recidivism and increasing employment and stability for persons recently released from jail.

When something is broken, our aim is to address the root cause and determine the best path forward in resolving the challenge. The criminal-justice system is currently reconsidering how it does business and how to best address the needs of individuals returning to society following incarceration.

Most segments of the criminal justice system either have adopted or are in the process of adopting a “person-first” results oriented and data-driven approach to transitioning the incarcerated into society and helping assure they have the necessary tools to meet with success and not return to the criminal justice system.

Reentry programs are the toolkits that are proving successful throughout the nation. The Florida Department of Children and Families has awarded a Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Reinvestment Grant to Central Florida Cares Health System and this grant will allow the implementation of the Osceola County Corrections Emerge Re-Entry Program for their adult population transitioning back into the community.

Programs like these have a proven track record of success at helping people become valuable contributing members of society while simultaneously reducing future and long-term costs to the taxpayers. In partnership with Osceola County Corrections Department and Turning Point Counseling & Consulting, we are currently implementing the Emerge Re-Entry Program. I praise the Osceola County Board of County Commissioners for having the foresight to support this program that will likely be a tremendous step forward in helping our community successfully face and address the challenge of re-entering society and doing so at less or no risk of returning to “the system.”

Emerge is a community reentry program for recently discharged individuals. The largest provider of behavioral-health services in the United States are the county jails. We recognize the impact of behavioral health issues on those involved in, or at risk of involvement in, the criminal justice system and the benefits of working collaboratively to enhance outcomes and reduce recidivism.

This expansion will focus on increasing public safety, averting increased spending on, and increasing accessibility to and effectiveness of treatment services for adults with mental health and/or substance use disorder(s) who are in or at risk of entering the criminal justice system. The individuals served are adults who may be at-risk due to factors that may include homelessness, unstable living situations, history of victimization and/or abuse, history of involvement with the criminal justice system, and/or those re-entering society from jail and/or a forensic facility.

The re-entry program includes collateral services which are key to reducing recidivism such as supportive housing, supported employment, training and education, peer recovery services, and access to mental health and substance use treatment services.

In conjunction with Mobile Response Teams in Law Enforcement, the Re-Entry programs are reshaping how our criminal justice system operates for those with mental-health issues and/or substance-use disorder. The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies to this community challenge. For countless decades, we have talked about “rehabilitation,” and with innovative approaches such as re-entry programs, we are embracing rehabilitation at its best.

With COVID-19, technological advances, and societal growth, there no longer is “business as usual.” These programs are transformative for not only the system and the individuals involved but also for our entire community. I applaud Florida’s Department of Children and Families for selecting Osceola Corrections for what will likely be a success story from which all Central Floridians will reap the benefits.

Maria Bledsoe is Chief Executive Officer of Central Florida Cares Health System, the state-designated managing entity for Brevard, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties which works to implement an affordable, high-quality behavioral health care system for persons with mental health and/or substance use disorders who are underinsured or uninsured.

Categories Press Releases

Florida Association of Managing Entities Praises Legislature for Prioritizing Behavioral Health Services

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Florida Association of Managing Entities CEO Natalie K. Kelly issued the following statement on the Florida Legislature’s Fiscal Year 2022/2023 budget, which includes more than $100 million in recurring funds for behavioral health services.

“The Florida Legislature has truly shown up for Floridians and prioritized the behavioral health services that many rely on to lead productive and healthy lives. The more than $100 million in recurring funding for behavioral health services will help expand services, increase care coordination and enhance the overall system in Florida for residents of all ages.

“Florida’s Managing Entities are grateful to the Legislature for recognizing the tremendous need for behavioral health services in our state and for shaping policy that will change Floridians’ lives for the better.”

Florida’s seven local Managing Entities work with a network of over 300 behavioral health care providers who deliver services to over 300,000 of Florida’s most vulnerable residents, including children, expectant mothers, veterans, and the chronically homeless.

Providers meet patients’ diverse needs with “wraparound services” that not only address mental health issues and substance abuse, but also assist with housing, transportation, and employment. Community boards administer, manage, and ensure accountability of state and federal funds for behavioral health services, keeping oversight and accountability closest to the people they serve.

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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. For more information, visit FLManagingEntities.com

Categories Press Releases

Florida’s Managing Entities Applaud the Legislature for Passing Bills to Enhance Behavioral Health Services for All Floridians

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–Coming on the heels of the passage of Senate Bill 282, which has been sent to Governor DeSantis and will bolster Florida’s peer specialist system, the Legislature today continued its momentum to enhance behavioral health in Florida with passage of SB 1262 and SB 1844. Florida Association of Managing Entities CEO Natalie K. Kelly released the following statement:

“We are so grateful to the entire Florida Legislature for their support of significant legislation that will enhance the behavioral health system in Florida. Three key pieces of legislation will transform how Florida delivers behavioral health services.

“Thanks to the Legislature, peer specialists, who can use their own experiences to help others in mental health and substance use disorder recovery, have a more streamlined and simplified process to becoming one through the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist program.

“With the passage of Senate Bill 1262, families will now have an easier time accessing emergency behavioral health services, which can change the outcome of an emergency situation with the provision of early care. 

“Also, Senate Bill 1844 goes a long way toward destigmatizing mental health care for children by eliminating the court process, among other provisions. 

Florida’s seven local Managing Entities work with a network of almost 300 behavioral health care providers who deliver services to over 300,000 of Florida’s most vulnerable residents, including children, expectant mothers, veterans, and the chronically homeless.

Providers meet patients’ diverse needs with “wraparound services” that not only address mental health issues and substance abuse, but also assist with housing, transportation, and employment. Community boards administer, manage, and ensure accountability of state and federal funds for behavioral health services, keeping oversight and accountability closest to the people they serve.

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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. For more information, visit FLManagingEntities.com

Categories Press Releases

Florida Association of Managing Entities Encourages Legislature to Fund Behavioral Health Services Based on Needs Assessment and Keep Management Closest to Communities

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –Florida Association of Managing Entities CEO Natalie K. Kelly applauds the Legislature for prioritizing behavioral health services and encourages legislators to support the House of Representatives’ recommendation to allocate additional recurring funds to the Managing Entities to expand behavioral health services in accordance with the triennial needs assessment.

“Every three years, the Managing Entities conduct an extensive needs assessment of behavioral health services in communities throughout Florida and provide this assessment to the Department of Children and Families. We implore legislators to expand behavioral health services and to support the House’s recommendation to allocate $150 million in recurring funds to the Managing Entities to meet identified needs in communities.

“Behavioral health needs aren’t limited to treatment and counseling, but they also address housing, transportation and employment assistance. All of these needs help people live life to their fullest potential. 

“By having Florida’s seven Managing Entities manage the funding, local needs are met with precision, as needs can vary throughout the state.”

Florida’s seven local Managing Entities work with a network of over 300 behavioral health care providers who deliver services to over 300,000 of Florida’s most vulnerable residents, including children, expectant mothers, veterans, and the chronically homeless.

Providers meet patients’ diverse needs with “wraparound services” that not only address mental health issues and substance abuse, but also assist with housing, transportation, and employment. Community boards administer, manage, and ensure accountability of state and federal funds for behavioral health services, keeping oversight and accountability closest to the people they serve.

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