Florida’s Behavioral Health Workforce Wins Big on the Last Full Day of Florida’s Legislative Session

Behavioral Health Association Applauds Passage of Workforce Bill

Read HB369

In the final full day of Florida’s Legislative Session landmark legislation was passed to address the behavioral health workforce shortage. As part of the Sober Home Task Force legislative package, HB 369 led by Representative Mike Caruso (R-Delray Beach), reforms background screening for behavioral health service providers. One Behavioral Health Association (OBHA) applauds the passage of this bill that champions Recovery in Florida and allows greater discretion for treatment centers, facilities, and recovery residences to select and lead a workforce.

The vote to pass this bill was unanimous in both the House and the Senate.

This bill eases the burden on certain non-violent offenses so individuals may more easily work in the mental health and substance use disorder fields. In the past, the process for an individual to receive an exemption from a non-violent disqualification was often burdensome and time consuming. The result was that the very people most able to help those still suffering from addiction were turned away based on past offenses.

 Now, the Department of Children & Families (DCF) has more leniency to grant exemptions to select personnel receiving Level 2 background checks and requires that requests for exemption for disqualifications be approved or denied within 60 days.

 HB 369 also clarifies legislation relating to ethical marketing practices and treatment facilities with community housing. The bill defines fraudulent marketing practices and clearly advocates for consumers and their families to be able to make the best decisions possible when selecting service providers and recovery residences.

OBHA commends the actions and work of many individuals and groups that made the passage of this bill possible including Senator Gayle Harrell, State Attorney Dave Aaronberg, and Representative Mike Caruso. Today was a step in the right direction for Florida Behavioral Health.