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. 19 20 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 21 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.