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The COVID-19 Pandemic has and will continue to increase the need for behavioral health services. Polk County’s Indigent Healthcare (IHC) program currently funds access to behavioral health services through several local partnerships. Behavioral health funding was increased this fiscal year by $1,001,816 and a total of $7,724,443 is now allocated for behavioral health services to Polk’s uninsured and underserved population.

Of the $1,001,816 increase, $900,840 reflects new, increased or continued funding in recent actions taken by the Board of County Commissioners to improve the critical behavioral health infrastructure and help to minimize COVID-19 impacts in our community.

“This COVID-19 experience has put a strain on all of us. For those already dealing with mental health issues the stress is even greater. I am hopeful these additional funds and services will help to alleviate their suffering,” said Commissioner George Lindsey.

Recent newly added, increased or continued behavioral health funding during May is as follows:

  • a new behavioral health partnership with Lakeland Regional Health for both outpatient services and a telehealth platform;
  • continued funding support to Peace River Center for integrated behavioral health services in a primary care setting and behavioral telehealth;
  • continued support and $200,000 in increased funding to Tri County Human Services to serve more people through behavioral telehealth;
  • new funding to Tri County Human Services for additional case management support;
  • and increased funding to BayCare’s Winter Haven Hospital Center for Behavioral Health.