AHCA (The Agency for Health Care Administration) in Florida has recently publicly published a letter related to a request that we made. This has led to considerable confusion in the community regarding The Centers. The letter was a request to close a single hospital unit that we operated, the Adult Psychiatric Unit (APU). Although the published AHCA letter states that only this acute care unit is affected, the community has misinterpreted our request. Some individuals have believed that The Centers is completely closing. Others have believed that The Centers is closing all of its acute care services. These are incorrect assumptions. Only a single hospital unit, the APU, is being closed. (If you desire a longer explanation, I offer it below, with complete details.)
First off, closing the APU has absolutely nothing to do with any changes in Citrus County funding by the state for uninsured individuals.
Secondly, The Centers has had multiple acute care units for years. These have included:
- Adult Crisis Unit, 24 functional beds
- Children’s Crisis Unit, 12 licensed beds
- Adult Detox Unit, 8 licensed beds
- Adult Psychiatric Unit, 10 functional beds
The only difference between the Adult Crisis Unit and the Adult Psychiatric Unit rests in the insurance options that will pay for care. At the federal level, CMS requires specific regulations be followed for inpatient psychiatric care to qualify for Medicare reimbursement. Individuals with all other forms of insurance (from state-funded through Medicaid and commercial insurance) can be served on the adult crisis unit (or the adult psychiatric unit). Medicare is the exception.
At this time, The Vines Hospital, a local, for-profit psychiatric hospital is able to accept individuals with Medicare coverage who require inpatient care. The two organizations are roughly three or four miles apart. As The Centers has lost money providing services on the adult psychiatric unit and The Vines can serve the needs of Medicare-covered individuals more efficiently, I had spoken in recent weeks with Mr. Quintyne, CEO and Managing Director of The Vines Hospital, about the implications of this change for the community.
The Centers had not anticipated that AHCA was going to publicly post this letter so rapidly resulting in many people misinterpreting that “The Centers is closing” or that we were closing our inpatient services. As above, only a single acute care unit is affected, with an impact that will be mitigated. We will be providing a press release shortly, but this will obviously not reach all interested parties. Additionally, although we are contacting important stakeholders, the breadth of interest in this change has exceeded what we expected. If you are aware of other concerned individuals, feel free to pass along this explanation.
To summarize, this operational change will have no appreciable impact on Marion County / the surrounding community. Going forward, we hope to expand our detox services and marginally increase the capacity of our adult crisis unit to serve uninsured Marion County residents (as well as those with insurances other than Medicare). There will be absolutely NO changes to any other operations of The Centers. If anything, we anticipate expanding our outpatient capabilities in the near future.
I apologize if there has been any misunderstanding regarding this change. Please feel free to contact Kristina Donohue or my office with questions.
Donald J Baracskay II, MD, MBA, MSCIS