Florida Senate - 2021                                     SB 260
       By Senator Harrell
       25-00487-21                                            2021260__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to services for veterans and their
    3         families; creating s. 394.9087, F.S.; requiring the
    4         Department of Veterans’ Affairs to establish the
    5         Florida Veterans’ Care Coordination Program to provide
    6         behavioral health care referral and care coordination
    7         services for veterans and their families; requiring
    8         the department to contract with a certain nonprofit
    9         entity to enter into agreements with Florida 211
   10         Network participants to provide such services;
   11         providing program goals; providing for the statewide
   12         delivery of specified services by program teams;
   13         requiring Florida 211 Network participants to collect
   14         program implementation data and to submit such data to
   15         the department; requiring the department to submit a
   16         report to the Governor and the Legislature by a
   17         specified date; providing requirements for the report;
   18         providing an effective date.
   20  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   22         Section 1. Section 394.9087, Florida Statutes, is created
   23  to read:
   24         394.9087 Florida Veterans’ Care Coordination Program.—
   25         (1) The Department of Veterans’ Affairs shall establish the
   26  Florida Veterans’ Care Coordination Program. The Department of
   27  Veterans’ Affairs shall contract with a nonprofit entity that is
   28  accredited by the Council on Accreditation, is fully accredited
   29  by the National Alliance of Information and Referral Services,
   30  and has statewide phone capacity to serve veterans to enter into
   31  agreements with Florida 211 Network participants to provide
   32  veterans and their families in this state with dedicated
   33  behavioral health care referral services, especially mental
   34  health and substance abuse services. The Department of Veterans’
   35  Affairs shall model the program after the proof-of-concept pilot
   36  program established in 2014 by the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
   37  and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Hillsborough, Pasco,
   38  Pinellas, Polk, and Manatee Counties.
   39         (2) The goals of the program are to:
   40         (a) Prevent suicides by veterans.
   41         (b) Increase veterans’ use of programs and services
   42  provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
   43         (c) Increase the number of veterans who use other available
   44  community-based programs and services.
   45         (3) The program must be available statewide. Program
   46  services must be provided by program teams operated by Florida
   47  211 Network participants as authorized by s. 408.918. A Florida
   48  211 Network participant may provide services in more than one
   49  geographic area under a single contract.
   50         (4) The program teams shall provide referral and care
   51  coordination services to veterans and their families and expand
   52  the existing Florida 211 Network to include the optimal range of
   53  veterans’ service organizations and programs. Florida 211
   54  Network participants in the Florida Veterans’ Care Coordination
   55  Program must include all of the following:
   56         (a) Telephonic peer support, crisis intervention, and the
   57  communication of information on referral resources.
   58         (b) Treatment coordination, including coordination of
   59  followup care.
   60         (c) Suicide risk assessment.
   61         (d) Promotion of the safety and wellness of veterans and
   62  their families, including continuous safety planning and
   63  support.
   64         (e) Resource coordination, including data analysis, to
   65  facilitate acceptance, enrollment, and attendance of veterans
   66  and their families in programs and services provided by the
   67  United States Department of Veterans Affairs and other available
   68  community-based programs and services.
   69         (f) Immediate needs assessments, including safety planning
   70  and support.
   71         (5) To enhance program services, program teams shall:
   72         (a) Track the number of requests from callers who are
   73  veterans or members of a veteran’s family.
   74         (b) Follow up with callers who are veterans or members of a
   75  veteran’s family to determine whether they have acted on the
   76  referrals or received the assistance needed and whether
   77  additional referral or advocacy is needed.
   78         (c) Develop and implement communication strategies, such as
   79  media promotions, public service announcements, print and
   80  Internet articles, and community presentations, to inform
   81  veterans and their families about available programs and
   82  services provided by the United States Department of Veterans
   83  Affairs and other available community-based programs and
   84  services.
   85         (d) Document all calls and capture all necessary data to
   86  improve outreach to veterans and their families and report such
   87  data to the contracted entity.
   88         (6)Florida 211 Network participants in the Florida
   89  Veterans’ Care Coordination Program shall maintain a database of
   90  veteran-specific services available in the communities served by
   91  the program. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs and its
   92  selected contractor shall work with managing entities as defined
   93  in s. 394.9082(2)(e) to educate service providers about the
   94  Florida Veterans Support Line and the Florida Veterans Care
   95  Coordination Program.
   96         (7) Florida 211 Network participants shall collect data on
   97  the program and submit such data to the Department of Veterans’
   98  Affairs in the format prescribed by the Department of Veterans’
   99  Affairs. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs shall use such data
  100  to prepare a report for submittal to the Governor, the President
  101  of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives
  102  by December 15, 2022. The report must include all of the
  103  following:
  104         (a)The number of calls received.
  105         (b) Demographic information for each caller, including, but
  106  not limited to, the caller’s military affiliation, the caller’s
  107  veteran status, and whether the caller is receiving services
  108  provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or
  109  other available community-based programs and services.
  110         (c) The nature of each call, including, but not limited to,
  111  the concerns prompting the call and the services requested.
  112         (d) The outcome of each call, including, but not limited
  113  to, the services for which referrals were made and the
  114  organizations to which the caller was referred.
  115         (e) Services received as a result of each call.
  116         (f) Information regarding followup by the program team,
  117  including, but not limited to, the percentage of calls receiving
  118  followup and the outcome of such followup.
  119         (g) Information regarding the program’s impact on each
  120  caller’s quality of life and on the avoidance of negative
  121  outcomes, including arrest and suicide.
  122         (h) Each caller’s level of satisfaction with program
  123  services.
  124         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.