BayCare Receives $3.6M for Urgent Behavioral Care Center

BayCare Behavioral Health is set to establish a pioneering urgent care facility in Pasco County, focusing on mental health and opioid addiction treatment.

The health system received over $3.57 million from county commissioners for this initiative, which aims to assist around 1,100 patients. This development is part of Pasco County's strategy to allocate its portion of the funds from Florida's legal settlements with opioid producers and distributors.

In total, the county has distributed over $8 million to nine entities for local recovery programs. BayCare's facility will operate similarly to standard urgent care centers, but with a focus on immediate mental health and addiction services, offering extended hours and accepting walk-ins or same-day appointments.

The staff at the new center will conduct initial screenings and guide patients to appropriate services, simplifying the often complex care system for mental health and addiction. The center, planned for renovation in an existing BayCare office building in New Port Richey, will be conveniently located near other outpatient services, including drug treatment and peer support, as well as inpatient detox and psychiatric units.

The facility aims to provide comprehensive care and avoid involuntary commitments when possible, focusing on immediate counseling and support. Set to open in December, it will be the first facility of its kind in Florida, offering a new approach to urgent mental health and addiction care.

Another organization, Recovery Inc. is awarded $3 million, the second-highest allocation of settlement funds, from Pasco County for aiding veterans with substance use disorders. The organization plans to construct a new facility, increasing its capacity by 30 beds and extending support to some non-veterans.

Premier Community HealthCare Group, a federally qualified health center, is set to receive $600,000 to enhance its behavioral health services. WestCare GulfCoast-Florida has been granted nearly $300,000 to broaden its opioid addiction services for homeless individuals and to support a camp for children from families impacted by substance abuse.

Pasco Kids First, a child advocacy organization, will utilize its $286,000 funding for mobile outreach and therapy for families dealing with addiction. The substance abuse prevention coalition, Alliance for Healthy Communities, Inc., has been allocated $200,000 to increase its staffing.

The Hope Shot Inc. received $139,000 to expand its sober living programs. Victory High School, catering to teens in Pasco with substance use issues, was awarded $61,000. Another transitional housing provider, Ace Opportunities, received a $25,000 grant.

Over two dozen groups applied for this funding, and more financial support is expected in the coming years. Overall, Florida is poised to receive over $3 billion from settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors over the next 18 years.

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