Baker acted facilities lack money: underfunding baker acting facility crisis


Cynthia Studebaker, Photography Editor

 In some cases, a person receiving help for mental illness in different situations, in some cases the person receiving help may be “baker acted.” Many do not understand or even know this term. The term ‘Baker act’ is “a Florida law that enables families and loved ones to provide emergency mental health services and temporary detention for people who are impaired because of their mental illness, and who are unable to determine their needs for treatment.” (University of Florida health).  

   Though these facilities are needed to keep loved ones from harm, many of these facilities are underfunded, causing the building to be uncomfortable and confined for patients.  Since patients are required to stay in these facilities for 72 hours (three days) or more depending on how safe it is for them to return home. 

   These facilities were put into place in Florida starting in the late 70’s because of a woman named Maxine Eldridge Baker, the former Dade County representative for the Florida House of Representatives. Maxine wanted to bring awareness to the lack of rights given to those struggling with mental illness.  

   Over the years, this act has been shown to be less and less effective. “The 2019 report revealed that some crisis stabilization units are not meeting the needs of children and adolescents with significant behavioral health needs, contributing to multiple exams” according to the Florida Senate ‘Bill Analysis and Fisal Impact Statement.’ This being stated  just shows that these facilities are being recognized for their conditions yet, not being changed. 

   Since they are not being shown go do their job helping as much as they should be, it needs to change in order to make emitted patients comfortable while receiving needed help. 

   Since then, the senate put the issue into the states ‘Bill Analysis and Fisal Impact Statement’ to determine how much money could be given to support these changes. 

   The state chose to take action by changing the school Mental health regulations to transfer students to the facilities in a safer way. This has not yet addressed how ineffective the facilities are for those in need. 

   “State Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, is proposing legislation this year for $1.1 million to fund a proposed Baker Act facility at Citrus Memorial Hospital’s Inverness campus that would include 24-hour emergency intake personnel, around-the-clock staffing and 10 beds for residents needing emergency mental health evaluations.” 

   According to the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration as of 2019, They have implemented a day and night shift of nurses to keep the patients safe without leaving them on their own.

Seeing as  that the state is recognizing problems within the facilities it still has not been changed. With these it will be  making facilities better for those of all ages.