How many of us have been in crisis only to be told by a hospital that they don't have a mental health bed available, or that it will be 20 hours or more before one becomes available? One of the reasons for this is that there really are only a limited number of beds available for mental health care, because our local hospitals can not get reimbursed by Medicaid for more than 16 mental health beds. This stems from the days of deinstitutionalization when Institutions of Mental Disease (IMD) were being shut down; the intent at the time was good: to prevent the continuance of poorly-run ineffective large asylums. The care was supposed to be shifted to community mental health centers and local hospitals that offered psychiatric treatment, but the funding was never adequate.
We have an opportunity in Florida to change this situation and increase the number of mental health beds! Our Florida Medicaid Secretary can apply for an IMD waiver, now available from the federal government. This will allow Florida hospitals and other mental health residential treatment centers to be reimbursed by Medicaid for more than 16 beds. Please download the letter to encourage the Secretary to make this happen! Consider adding your personal story of being denied mental health hospitalization in your local hospital.
Get confidential help by calling 9-8-8 to reach Florida's Lifelines.