Medicaid managed care plans send big checks to increase access to health care services
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Simply Healthcare, Sunshine Health managed care plans commit hundreds of thousands of dollars to Florida health care initiatives.

Two Medicaid managed care plans this month have provided grant money in an effort to increase access to health care services.

Simply Healthcare Plans gave a $150,000 grant to the Florida Behavioral Health Association (FBHA) to support certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHC).  

The CCBHC model is an innovative, integrated health care model developed to ensure access to a comprehensive array of behavioral health care services for mental health and substance abuse disorders for anyone who needs care, regardless of their ability to pay, where they live or their age. 

CCBHCs must provide care coordination to help people navigate behavioral health care, physical health care, social services and other systems they are involved in. 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services has offered grant opportunities for CCBHCs and is poised to announce the latest recipients soon.

There are 13 CCBHCs in Florida. Twelve of them, said FBHA President Melanie Brown-Woofter, are members of the association.

CCBHC patients in Florida have experienced a 69% decrease in hospitalizations for a mental health condition and a 92% decrease in incarcerations, Brown-Woofter said in a prepared statement.

“The CCBHC model is the future in quality, behavioral health care for all. The success these cutting-edge, patient-centered clinics have already had in Florida is incredible,” she said. “The FBHA is grateful to Simply for partnering with us to continue the work of the CCBHCs and ultimately improving the lives of Floridians.”

Simply Healthcare Plans presented the $150,000 check to the FBHA at its conference last week in Orlando. 

“As part of Simply Healthcare Plans’ ongoing commitment to address the physical, behavioral and social drivers that impact the health of the communities we serve, we are proud to support the Florida Behavioral Health Association in its mission to advance and advocate for better behavioral health for all Floridians,” Holly Prince, president of Simply Healthcare said.

Simply Healthcare Plans has contracts with Florida to provide Medicaid managed medical assistance and Medicaid managed long-term care plans as well as Florida Healthy Kids policies.

Meanwhile, Sunshine Health Plan announced Aug. 15 that it is committing $500,000 to Tallahassee Community College over the next five years to help abate the health care workforce shortage. The commitment was made after the success of a pilot program dubbed the “Gadsden Connect.” 

Sunshine agreed in 2020 to provide scholarships to Gadsden County residents who met the prerequisites for the nursing assistant and home health aide certification programs. The disruption caused by COVID-19 meant the pilot program was spread over a two-year period with a smaller group of students, a spokesperson for Sunshine said 60 residents had completed the TCC programs.

The commitment to TCC is just the beginning. Sunshine is finalizing similar type partnerships with Broward College and Hillsborough Community College.

Sunshine Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a diversified, multinational health care enterprise. Sunshine Health has contracts with the Agency for Health Care Administration to provide Medicaid managed medical assistance, Medicaid managed long-term care and a Medicaid managed specialty plan for people with serious mental illness. It also has a contract with the Department of Health to provide health care to medically complex children.

The company also operates on the federal health insurance exchanges under the moniker Ambetter, and offers Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans under the Wellcare name.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.



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