Public Health and Safety Committee Special Meeting Minutes

 March 21, 2017

Immediately following 9:00 a.m. regular committee meeting


Topic: Mental health issues


Location: City Council Chamber, 1st floor, City Hall – St. James Building, 117 West Duval Street


Attendance: Council Members: Sam Newby (Chair), Bill Gulliford (Vice Chair), Aaron Bowman, Anna Lopez Brosche, Tommy Hazouri, and Joyce Morgan.


Also: Paige Johnston – Office of General Counsel; Kyle Billy – Council Auditor’s Office; Jordan Elsbury– Mayor’s Office; Colleen Hampsey– Council Research Division; Philip Zamarron– Legislative Services Division.


Meeting Convened: 9:52 a.m.

Alison Hewit, Public Health Department, delivered the Zika virus update.

Shirley Katz, Lutheran Health Services of Florida (LSF) delivered a presentation on mental health. LSF is a service network for those with for mental health and substance abuse issues. LSF targets the indigent, uninsured or Medicaid covered population in a 23 county area. The majority of LSF funding comes from the State of Florida, specifically the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

The LSF network consists of 47 providers, in rural and urban areas in Northeast and Central Florida. Annually, they serve in excess of 150,000 people, process more than 500 provider claims and disburse over $100 million dollars. LSF also offers continuing education training for human services professionals and to the community. Grant funded projects: SAMHSA for Comprehensive Service Centers for substance abuse and mental health; Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration collaboration with Jacksonville University for Peer Support Specialist training; FEMA for victims of Hurricane Matthew.

LSF priorities include: shifting the role of mental health ‘clearinghouse’ away from the jails to the community health providers (currently in negotiation for contract for services to the state prison population), finding housing resources for the mentally ill and homeless population, integrating with the child welfare system and community needs assessments. Ms. Katz noted that community mental health is a collaborative effort, and that Florida is in 50th place for behavioral health funding, and that any of the proposed budget cuts at the federal level (HUD, HHS, and Medicaid) would put a strain on mental health providers. Ms. Katz also mentioned the overwhelming urgency of addressing the opioid epidemic.

Council Member Newby asked about collaboration with JSO, which LSF is currently doing. Council Member Morgan asked how the council can help with LSF’s priorities. Ms. Katz emphasized the big need in the community for appropriate housing for those with mental illness, substance abuse issues, those who are homeless or at risk. Councilman Hazouri asked about how to put those in need in contact with service providers. Ms. Katz indicated that LSF offers a hotline for referrals and has a walk-in clinic for those in need.

Councilman Gulliford talked briefly about the impact of deinstitutionalization during the 1980’s and how that pushed many with mental illness into homelessness. Mr. Gulliford also discussed the need for mental health services in assisted living and senior residences. Ms. Katz said that the treatment for mental illness is long term, which requires an investment and an understanding from society that there is no ‘quick fix’.

Meeting Adjourned: 10:20 a.m.

Minutes: Colleen Hampsey, Council Research

3.22.17    Posted: 11:00 a.m.