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University of South Florida · College of Behavioral & Community Sciences · Mental Health Law & Policy

Agency For Health Care Administration (AHCA) Reports

In the mid 1990s, publicly financed general health and mental health systems were undergoing dramatic changes throughout the nation. Driven largely by concerns with cost containment, these changes involved the development of new organizational forms, financing arrangements, clinical and business management strategies that differed fundamentally from those that had been used previously. While complex and highly variable across settings, these changes typically involved capping the State's financial liability for health care for identified populations through prospective payment schemes.

Florida was no different than other states in their efforts to contain costs. In 1996, Florida’s Medicaid authority, the Agency for Health Care Administration, implemented the Prepaid Mental Health Plan under the authority of a 1915(b) waiver from the Federal Health Care Financing Administration, now known as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid. This managed care demonstration “carved out” mental health services for Medicaid recipients in certain areas of the state. At that time, the Louis de la Parte Mental Health Institute (FMHI) was selected by the Agency to evaluate the effects of the Florida Prepaid Mental Health Plan. From that first contract, the relationship with the Agency for Health Care Administration grew into a partnership of shared research and evaluation interests, with university resources matched with Medicaid funding.

While the initial contractual work between the Institute and the Agency focused on evaluating the implementation of managed mental health care, the following years have included new, wide-ranging areas of research including: child welfare, out-of-home care for children and youth, services in nursing homes and assisted living facilities; nursing home diversion programs, pharmacy, recovery-oriented mental health services, consumer satisfaction, performance measures, methadone maintenance, adolescent depression and obesity, and services to forensic populations. Each year, the new contract focuses on areas of study and projects that were negotiated between the Agency and the Institute.