SELF DIRECTED CARE (SDC)

WHAT IS SDC?                

bulletAn approach to providing publicly funded behavioral health care services wherein the customer and their families are granted a degree of choice and accept responsibility for achieving positive treatment outcomes.
bulletService Coordinators, who are trained and experienced mental health professionals, will be employed directly by the customer to plan, coordinate, and monitor services that have been identified using a standard set of clinical protocols and instruments. Outcomes will be measurable and subject to meaningful comparison and analysis.
bulletFunding streams will be blended, and focus on individual needs versus agency or bureaucratic mandates.
bulletThis restructuring, in both a philosophical and financial sense will directly address and respond to many of the problems and concerns contained in the recently released Mental Health Reform Commission Report to the Florida Legislature without requiring dramatic funding increases.
bulletThe model will be constructed from elements of Developmental Services (State of Florida), Milwaukee Wrap Around (State of Wisconsin \ Mental Health) and Consumer Outcomes (State of Ohio \ Mental Health). A brief pilot (18 months) will be conducted in DCF District 4 (North Florida) and rigorously evaluated by the Florida Mental Health Institute prior to full-scale implementation.

Why SDC?

Late 1999, Helen Walter, Co-President of NAMI Nassau County, attended a Regional Meeting of NAMI in Ocala. NAMI Nassau was asked to join to a lawsuit, suing the State of Florida for lack of funding, proper treatment, and medications for their Mentally Ill. NAMI Nassau voted to research cost, obligations, and alternatives to this lawsuit.

In January, 2000, Rachel Sutton mentioned, the Commission appointed by Governor Bush on Mental Health and Substance Abuse had not chosen a place to have February's meeting. Jo Heller and Helen Walter saw this as an opportunity to invite the Governor's Commission to hold February's meeting with a luncheon following in Nassau County. The Commission was impressed - no one had invited them up to this point, but Nassau did not have public transportation, and this was one of the requirements. That didn't discourage Jo, they were invited to Jacksonville instead. They accepted!

District 4 NAMI was contacted to present a united proposal. A list was made of the most urgent need in each county. The "Money Following the Client," later named "Self Directed Care," was the one all 5 counties could support, and was to be based on similar features as the Developmentally Disabilities Program. Incidentally, the funding for that program was achieved by a lawsuit against the State of Florida, for many of the same problems occurring in Mental Health.

Advocates Jo Heller and Helen Walter, Co-Presidents of NAMI Nassau; Jean Pope and Angela Vickers of Duval; Pattie Hunt, St.John; Judy Bennett and Nancy Fudge, Clay; and Evelyn Till and Barbara Delia, Baker, addressed the Commission. Each supported the "Money Following the Client," and one additional urgent need in their County.

The Commission was very interested in our solution since it would not require additional money, but would be more flexible by redirecting use of monies already allocated for Mental Health. Thus we borrowed the slogan of our political leaders, " Money Working Smarter!" The Advocates and political representatives working long hours for over a year, sought answers, which eventually led to the passing of the Bill.

      MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATES:

Jo Heller (904) 321-2113 joby1934@aol.com
Helen Walter (904) 277-5688 hithebch@bellsouth.net 
Angela Vickers (904) 737-6788 angvickers@aol.com
Nancy Fudge (904) 284-7376 nfudge1@juno.com

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