As a long-time mental health court (criminal) judge in Florida, I urge Gov. Scott to call a special legislative session on Medicaid expansion.
Every day I face individuals and families desperate for medical treatment, mental health care and substance abuse treatment. Two-thirds of those in our jails have drug problems, chronic medical needs, and serious mental illness. The largest jail costs are related to in-jail medical care.
Florida is simply unable to pay for its overwhelming demand and costs for public healthcare in our community systems of care. Our state will not improve its public safety or reduce crime or costs of incarceration without expanding its public health resources.
We are in last place in mental health and social service funding. People leave jail, return to their communities or the streets and still require medical care.
Appropriate and expanded pathways to public health must be created.
Ginger Lerner-Wren, administrative judge, Broward County Mental Health Court