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President Office — Press Release


February 24, 2016

CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229

Senate Passes Legislation to Improve Delivery of Mental Health Services

Tallahassee —

The Florida Senate today passed Senate Bill (SB) 12, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, by Senator Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) to improve the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services.

“Mental health is a serious issue facing communities across our state and this important legislation will set forth a more proactive and comprehensive approach to improving services available to Floridians,” said Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando). “Senator Garcia has been a leader on this issue for several years. I am grateful for his commitment to this legislation and pleased to see it earn the support of the Senate.”

Baker Act and Marchman Act:

SB 12 clarifies the use of involuntary outpatient services to encourage courts to use outpatient services when appropriate and available rather than more costly inpatient care at the state’s treatment facilities. The legislation expands the type of qualified professionals who may recommend involuntary outpatient and inpatient services to the court and provides that a fee cannot be charged to file a petition for involuntary assessment and stabilization for substance abuse under the Marchman Act. SB 12 continues the requirement under the Marchman Act that substance abuse services must be available before the court may order such services and allows the court to appoint a guardian advocate for a person determined incompetent to consent to treatment for substance abuse.

No-Wrong-Door Model:

SB 12 defines the “No Wrong Door” model of behavioral health services as a way of optimizing patients’ access to care regardless of their point of entry into the behavioral health system. The bill provides for a gradual transition process driven by annual statewide assessments in conjunction with local or regional planning and requires local planning for the coordinated care system that allows each area to respond and adapt to unique local circumstances.

Managing Entities:

SB 12 updates the duties and responsibilities of the behavioral health managing entities to better serve local communities by coordinating care among a full array of behavior health services. The legislation revises the Department of Children and Families (DCF) contracting requirements for managing entities to support efficient and effective administration of the behavioral health system and ensure accountability for performance. The bill requires managing entities to earn network accreditation and allows DCF to continue the contract of a managing entity for up to five years, if certain conditions are met, and directs DCF to issue a competitive solicitation thereafter.

Additional System Reforms:

SB 12 directs the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and DCF to develop a plan to obtain federal approval for increasing availability of federal funding for behavioral health care. The legislation also directs AHCA and DCF to modify licensure rules to create an option for a single, consolidated license to ease the administrative burden on providers and make it easier to offer both acute mental health and substance abuse services.

For more information on SB 12, please visit


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