Florida Blue Foundation Provides Grant for Marion Mental Health Project


CONTACT: Toni Woods – 904-891-3304, Toni.Woods@floridablue.com


Ocala, Fla. – A new grant from the Florida Blue Foundation will allow LSF Health Systems to bring to Marion County a successful program that has been reducing drug overdoses and supporting addiction recovery in four nearby counties.

Florida Blue Foundation’s $479,780, two-year grant will fund the expansion of LSF Health Systems’ innovative SETS (Screen, Engage, and Treat for Success) program that has been working since 2018 in Alachua, Columbia, Lake and Sumter counties. The SETS model uses trained Certified Recovery Peer Specialists (CRPS), who are recovering from substance use disorders, to help engage and support overdose survivors and those at risk for overdose in treatment and recovery support services.

Marion County is in dire need of the type of help SETS provides, said Dr. Christine Cauffield, CEO of LSF Health Systems. The number of drug-related overdoses in the county skyrocketed 934 percent from 2014 to 2018. Marion County saw 657 suspected opioid overdoses (28 of them fatal) during the first half of 2020. Overdose rates continue to rise as people face unemployment, are forced to quarantine at home, and struggle to meet basic family needs including food and health care.

“The support of the Florida Blue Foundation to expand the SETS model to Marion County comes at a crucial time for Floridians when the demand for treatment and recovery support services is surging,” Cauffield said.

LSF Health Systems will work with local partners including AdventHealth-Ocala, Park Place Behavioral Health Care and others to offer recovery peer support, assessment, counseling and care navigation services to individuals admitted for overdoses and to those who are at risk for overdoses. Participants will receive individualized therapy, residential treatment and wraparound services.