Live Healthy: Senate Passes Legislation Creating Behavioral Health Teaching Hospitals

Live Healthy: Senate Passes Legislation Creating Behavioral Health Teaching Hospitals

Tallahassee —

The Florida Senate today unanimously passed Senate Bill (SB) 330 by Senator Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton). The legislation, a component of the Senate’s Live Healthy package championed by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples), creates a new “behavioral health teaching hospital” designation for licensed teaching hospitals that partner with a state university school of medicine and offer specific behavioral health education programs.

“By utilizing existing partnerships between medical schools and teaching hospitals, and working to create new collaborations, we will identify and designate behavioral health teaching hospitals that provide research, education, and health care services across our state,” said Senator Boyd. “The innovative strategy outlined in our legislation will not only enhance our behavioral health workforce, but advance our goal of making Florida’s system of care the national standard.”

“Our behavioral health teaching hospitals will train the next generation of professionals in innovative and integrated care for those with behavioral health needs,” said President Passidomo. “They will provide inpatient and outpatient care and support families who have a loved one that cannot return to the home and is in need of long-term residential treatment for mental health challenges.”

The bill creates the designation of behavioral health teaching hospitals to advance Florida’s behavioral health systems of care by creating a new integrated care and education model that will:

  • Focus on state-of-the-art behavioral health research.
  • Provide leading-edge education and training for Florida’s behavioral health workforce.
  • Collaborate with other university colleges and schools of nursing, psychology, social work, pharmacy, public health, and other relevant disciplines to promote and enhance a modernized behavioral health system of care.
  • Develop, implement, and promote public-private partnerships.
  • Partner with Florida to provide inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care, address system-wide behavioral health needs, and provide treatment and care for those who need long-term voluntary or involuntary civil commitment.

Specifically, the bill initially designates the following behavioral health teaching hospitals: Tampa General, affiliated with the University of South Florida; UF Health Shands Hospital, affiliated with the University of Florida; UF Health Jacksonville, affiliated with the University of Florida; and, Jackson Memorial Hospital, affiliated with the University of Miami. Additionally, the bill allows the Agency for Health Care Administration to designate up to four additional behavioral health teaching hospitals between July 1, 2025 and July 1, 2027, taking into account equitable distribution of such hospitals by geographical service area and behavioral health services access.

The bill also establishes the Florida Center for Behavioral Health Workforce within the University of South Florida’s Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI). The new center will analyze issues of workforce supply and demand in behavioral health professions in the state, including recruitment, retention, and other workforce issues.

Background:

Behavioral health generally refers to mental health and substance use disorders, life stressors and crises, and stress-related physical symptoms. Behavioral health care refers to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of those conditions.

In 2022, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated 23% of the U.S. population, or 59.3 million Americans experienced some form of mental illness, with 6% experiencing a serious mental illness.

A health care professional shortage area (HPSA) is a geographic area, population group, or health care facility designated by the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) as having a shortage of health professionals. There are three categories of HPSA: primary care, dental health, and mental health. As of September 30, 2023, there are 304 primary care HPSAs, 266 dental HPSAs, and 228 mental health HPSAs designated within Florida. To eliminate these recognized shortages, it would take an additional 1,803 primary care physicians, 1,317 dentists, and 587 psychiatrists. The Senate’s Live Healthy package seeks to grow Florida’s health care workforce in each of these areas.

LIVE HEALTHY OVERVIEW

Unanimously Passed the Senate

  • SB 7016, Health Care, by Senator Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland) grows Florida’s health care workforce, removes regulations to increase workforce mobility, and expands access to quality, efficient health care.
  • SB 7018, Health Care Innovation, by Senator Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) incentivizes innovation in the health care industry through investments in technology.
  • SB 1758, Individuals with Disabilities, by Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) expands services to Floridians with disabilities.
  • SB 330, Behavioral Health Teaching Hospitals, establishes a new category of teaching hospitals focused on behavioral health.

Additional Live Healthy Legislation

  • SB 1600, Interstate Mobility, by Senator Jay Collins (R-Tampa) creates a streamlined licensure pathway for out of state providers moving to Florida. (Passed last committee on 2.27, next stop – Senate Floor)
  • SB 1640, Payments for Health Care Services, by Senator Collins expands health care price transparency. (Passed last committee on 2.27, next stop – Senate Floor)

Originally published at https://www.flsenate.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/4531

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