Today, October 16, SMA Healthcare is attending Behavioral Health Day at Capitol Hill in Tallahassee. A group of behavioral health care staff and community members will spend a day in the Capitol building spreading awareness for mental illness and substance use disorders while advocating for mental health funding. The group from SMA Healthcare advocates on behalf of the many programs and services that affect our communities and the people in the four-county area.

One of the programs on the docket for funding is the Putnam/St. John’s (PSJ) FACT Team. In its fourth year of operation, the PSJ FACT Team has demonstrated significant benefit to both counties. SMA Healthcare is currently fighting for recurring funding for this program that services those with the most serious and persistent mental illness—a population that is often homeless, incarcerated, or circulating in and out of mental health crisis units and state hospitals. By securing this funding, this group will continue to receive the appropriate services and care that they need.

The PSJ FACT Team has had noteworthy success in fiscal year 2018-2019 by decreasing the number of days homeless by 98 percent. The “Council on Homelessness 2018 Report” presents a recent study in which the financial support of chronically homeless individuals residing in Central Florida costs the community an estimated $31,065 per person per year. By reducing the number of days homeless, the FACT Team has saved the community millions of dollars while providing quality care to those in need.

With a substantial decrease in days spent in the crisis stabilization and detox units by nearly 74%, at an average daily cost of $544, the FACT Team has saved an estimated $632,655 annually in this treatment service alone. Providing care to this client population has translated into less utilization of costly treatment in crisis stabilization units, and more time addressing health care needs in a more appropriate clinical setting.

A total of 4,690 days in the State Hospital were accounted for in clients before FACT enrollment, resulting in $2,013,573 of pre FACT treatment cost. After one year of enrollment, the total days spent in the State Hospital decreased to 1,211, saving an estimated annual amount of $1,493,651. Providing comprehensive care and wrap-around services to clients has reduced the frequency and duration of psychiatric hospital admissions, providing quality, cost-effective treatment.

Between the estimated annual saving of residential substance abuse treatment ($205,674), crisis stabilization unit/detox ($632,655), and state hospital ($1,493,651), the total annual savings that the PSJ Fact Team demonstrated in one year results in approximately $2,319,424 annually. With an annual stipend of $1,500,000, the team demonstrates drastic cost-effective results. In addition to the extreme cost savings that the program has established, the well-being of clients enrolled in the program cannot be overstated.

The PSJ FACT Team is just one of the many SMA Healthcare programs designed to enhance the quality of life for clients while providing outstanding care. The clinical care, therapy component, and community involvement are all factors contributing to the well-being of a client. Programs like FACT are necessary because they are targeting an under-served population and providing appropriate treatment, ensuring that all individuals are receiving the quality care that they deserve.