Mental Health Advocates Call for Budget Repair

Feb 11, 2013

The judge called the transfer of a mentally ill man to a Little Havana facility and subsequent escape a “travesty."
Credit Miami Herald

Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to leave mental-health spending where it stands after $24 million in cuts last year troubles advocates for patients, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. Scott has proposed a budget of $722.7 million for mental health.

They also worry the state won’t expand Medicaid, which could help pay for mental health services, according to the News-Journal.  At Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare, which serves mostly uninsured patients from Volusia and Flagler counties, there’s a three-month waiting list for care.  If Medicaid is expanded, the CEO of the agency says, 90 percent of the patients would have insurance coverage.

Meanwhile, the case of a mentally ill man accused of stabbing a police officer who escaped from an assisted living facility highlights the problems with Florida’s mental health system, the Miami Herald reports. The judge called his transfer to a Little Havana facility and subsequent escape a “travesty” and noted the bureaucracy involved in getting funding for his treatment. The 72-year-old is now housed in a secure state psychiatric hospital, the Herald reports.