Dear Friends and Partners,
Our personal and work lives have all been greatly impacted by COVID-19. As our hospitals’ physicians and nurses put their lives at risk to treat those diagnosed with coronavirus, we continue to owe them much gratitude. Yet, I believe there is another group of healthcare professionals that deserves the same recognition. They are the physicians, nurses, social workers, mental health and substance abuse counselors, peers, psychiatric technicians, and other caring workers that are treating individuals who are homeless, those who live with mental illness and those who suffer from addiction.
These brave and caring professionals are on the front lines, providing treatment for those with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, opioid addiction and other behavioral health disorders. COVID-19 has escalated symptoms, increased the rate of relapse as well as incidences of domestic violence, child abuse and suicide. Numerous individuals who are receiving treatment for behavioral health concerns have also tested positive for the coronavirus or are exhibiting symptoms that necessitate quarantine. The dearth of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, gowns, sanitizers and other supplies has also impacted our Providers who are continuing to work tirelessly to serve those in their care.
Yet, in the midst of these challenges, we have also witnessed countless acts of kindness by individuals, civic organizations, churches, our own staff and their family members, and many others in the community who are sharing time, skill and resources to provide meals and protective equipment for our essential workers. Our Provider organizations are employing innovative ways to meet the increased demand for services, including utilizing telehealth when appropriate. Our team is collaborating with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to address funding and operational issues that have arisen as a result of the pandemic. Managing Entities around the state have been working together with the Florida Children’s Commission and DCF to place bulk orders of masks, gloves and hand sanitizers and make them available to our providers. Meanwhile, we are working to ensure we are meeting all performance measures, reconciling and paying Provider invoices promptly, manning our 24/7 Access to Care line, performing compliance audits remotely, completing required reports, and so much more.
I am amazed and humbled by the professionalism, commitment and dedication of our team, our Network Service Providers, and our valued community partners. Together, we are overcoming unprecedented challenges and finding ways to meet the needs of those who count on us in their darkest hours.
For that and for all you do, I thank you!
Dr. Christine Cauffield, CEO