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NEW RULES Managment of behavioral health programs in Sarasota County could go to firms outside the area. Photo by Norman Schimmel LOCAL NONPROFITS COULD LOSE OUT ON DCF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CONTRACTS By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor The Florida Department of Children & Fami- lies has launched a new competitive procure- ment process to decide who will manage its behavioral health programs in Sarasota and DeSoto counties, a "completely new" process that has some folks concerned the programs could be managed by non-local entities. The Network has pulled its contract with Coastal Behavioral Healthcare, which re- ceives 80% of the current DCF funds in Sara- sota County, as a result of "performance issues and concerns with responsiveness," according to minutes of a Sept. 28 meeting on the topic provided to The Sarasota News Leader. At that meeting, a DCF representative "made it clear that although other behavioral health providers, who receive twenty percent of the DCF funding, are in good standing (First Step, Mental Health Community Centers, Renais- sance Manor, and Bayside), they will still be part of the procurement process in order to address the entire system of care," according to the minutes. On Monday, Oct. 1, the Central Florida Behav- ioral Health Network, which manages the DCF program, issued an Intent to Negotiate worth up to $12 million annually, asking applicants to focus on "Innovation," "Agility," "Inspira-

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