Intriguing –

Sept. 13, 2020 – “Along the way, through each and every one of those mergers and acquisitions, the organization has gotten stronger, has provided a better level of care and we’re able to respond to community needs in a better way,” he said. “We’re able to do more with scale than we would otherwise be able to do.”

Organizations like The Centers and SMA rely largely on funding from the state. Private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare only cover a small portion of services, Norman said.

“Florida, in the nation, sits at 49th in mental health and substance abuse funding. It should be an embarrassment. The only reason we can’t get to 50 is that there is a state out there that gives nothing,” Norman said.

Baracskay took over the agency soon after an aborted attempt to transform itself into a combined mental and primary healthcare organization. The CEO then, Tim Cowart, wanted to offer primary healthcare services to increase the agency’s revenue.

The Centers’ board, in moving away from the effort, felt it distracted from the founding goal of providing mental health and substance abuse programs.

Founded in 1972 as Marion-Citrus Mental Health Center, mental health treatment remains central to the organization’s mission.



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