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HomeBusiness & CommunityFunding Agreement Approved for Mental Health Facility

Funding Agreement Approved for Mental Health Facility

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The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved a Federal Subrecipient Agreement with Lifestream Behavioral Center, Inc. The County was awarded $2 million in federal funds specifically to be used for the construction of the $14 million facility, which is expected to break ground this summer.

The federal funding comes from funds awarded to the state and county after the COVID-19 pandemic through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

According to Rick Hankey, President and CEO of Lifestream, Citrus County and The Department of Children and Families will also contribute $2 million apiece and the remainder will be secured by Lifestream’s Board of Directors. Lifestream will own the facility.

The $2 million cost to the County is a one-time payment, Lifestream is responsible for ongoing costs.
The new facility will be built in Lecanto and will accept juveniles and adults undergoing psychiatric emergencies, commonly admitted under “The Baker Act.” It will act as a single drop-off point for law enforcement when contacting those in crisis. Residential beds will also be available.

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The facility will staff psychiatrists for both adults and juveniles. It will also include an on-site pharmacy, and provide care coordination services to help transition patients after their hospitalization, and provide additional services when needed.

The 30,000-square-foot facility is expected to house a total of 60 beds, 40 for acute care and 20 for residential. Hankey stated, “With Hernando County, we will make the commitment that those beds will be available for the citizens of [the county].” The designation of beds is flexible, and the facility will be able to interchange beds between juvenile and adult patients, while maintaining separation of the groups.

Because Lifestream is designated a Baker Act Receiving Facility, individuals needing services cannot be turned away.

Lifestream will have the responsibility to guarantee that anyone admitted under the Baker Act will have a bed available. In the case of having no beds available, patients may be transferred to a 98-bed facility in Lake County. Hankey explained that Lifestream would provide transportation between the facilities “We’re not leaving anybody in Lake County and saying [to parents] ‘Come pick up your child.’”

In addition to the facility discussed, Hankey added that Lifestream has recently received funding for a separate residential dementia care facility for individuals with the condition that are admitted under the Baker Act.

The Lifestream Behavioral Center is expected to be completed in the next two years; however, Hankey indicated that changes in construction costs and circumstances may extend the timeframe.

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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