13 Apr Rushed change in mental health provider hoped to bring better care to Baker County
The state-run provider of outpatient mental health for Baker County’s poor is closing, leaving health officials and a new provider scrambling to keep patients from falling through the cracks.
Community Behavioral Healthcare Services, a division of the Northeast Florida State Hospital, gave notice it would close all operations April 30. A new organization will take over the next day, but Community Behavioral Healthcare has already stopped taking new patients and issued extra medication to existing clients.
Despite the rush, some hope a new model where one agency handles all the mental health and substance abuse care for indigent patients could improve care in the long run and serve as a model for coming changes in the rest of Northeast Florida.
Tina St. Clair, vice president of substance abuse and mental health with LSF Health Systems, said LSF is working as the “managing entity” of state-funded mental health services in Northeast Florida to ensure all the files are transferred as quickly as possible and to reach out to any of the 250-plus patients who haven’t learned of the transition. LSF is a division of Lutheran Services Florida.