The media continues to laud our hospitals’ physicians and nurses who valiantly put their lives at risk while treating those diagnosed with coronavirus. They most certainly deserve our praise and admiration. But there is another group of healthcare professionals who deserve this same recognition—the physicians, nurses, social workers, psychiatric technicians and other caring workers who are treating the homeless, those who live with mental illness and those who suffer from addiction.
At LSF Health Systems, the managing entity that serves northeast and north central Florida, I have the privilege of leading a not-for-profit social service network of 56 behavioral health provider organizations serving 23 counties—a third of the state. LSF contracts with these organizations to provide behavioral healthcare for Floridians who are indigent, uninsured or underinsured. The services are provided at crisis stabilization units, detox and inpatient substance abuse treatment facilities, mobile response units, homeless shelters, psychiatric hospital units and medication-assisted treatment facilities, just to name a few.
These brave and caring professionals are also 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. Our providers also face challenges with the dearth of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, gowns, sanitizers and other supply needs.
With the current increased demand, our provider organizations are using innovative ways to continue to serve, including telehealth. Our network of care is burgeoning and our providers continue to answer the call.
LSF Health Systems