Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight announced today that Armor Correctional Health Services will subcontract the Sarasota County Jail's mental health services to Centerstone of Florida.
Centerstone of Florida is an established community partner with the sheriff's office, notably serving as a collaborator in the opiate dependency treatment initiative using VIVITROL that Sheriff Knight announced in August 2016. The transition of mental health services from Armor Correctional Health Services to Centerstone of Florida comes after great consideration and research into what would be most efficient and effective for inmate patients and their families.
"In order to remain progressive and forward-thinking, we have to think a few steps ahead," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "In our correctional setting, we make it a priority to provide quality, restorative care for those individuals in our custody who demonstrate a need for mental health services. Centerstone of Florida meets those needs and we are confident will provide the level of service that is expected in Sarasota County."
Armor Correctional Health Services will remain the contracted medical authority in the jail and continue its partnership with the sheriff's office in all aspects of its current contract. The change of Centerstone serving as the primary provider of mental health care to inmate patients under Armor's oversight comes at no additional cost to taxpayers and will not cause any interruptions in the continuum of care that patients with mental health needs already receive.
"We believe collaboration with community providers takes a well-functioning process to an even a higher level with discharge coordination to community resources," said Meghan Ruggiero, Health Services Administrator for Armor. "These relationships help ensure continuity of care, which reduces recidivism and improves overall public health."
The provider change will reduce the time needed to verify inmate patient mental health history as well as enable a smooth transition for patients upon discharge from the facility. Centerstone has intrinsic involvement in Mental Health Court, Drug Court, and other community services frequently utilized by former and current inmates. Mental health care providers are available to inmate patients 24/7; however, Centerstone will also offer additional days of on-site coverage in order to provide the most comprehensive mental health care possible.