The Florida Qualified Evaluator Network
The qualified evaluator network (QEN) process was created by a 2000 Florida legislative initiative that amended Florida Statute 39.407 with the intent to:
- Prevent premature or inappropriate referrals to residential psychiatric placements
- Ensure the least restrictive level of care for the child
- Support the child’s due process rights under state law
Whenever the Department of Children and Families (DCF) believes that a child in its legal custody is emotionally disturbed and may need residential treatment, an examination and suitability assessment must be conducted by a Qualified Evaluator (QE). This suitability assessment must be completed before the placement of the child in a residential treatment program. If this level of care is deemed necessary, a subsequent review of progress toward treatment goals is conducted while the child remains in a residential setting.
DCF contracts with Magellan of Florida (Magellan) to manage the QEN program. Magellan is responsible for recruiting and managing a network of qualified evaluators who conduct the suitability assessments.
Qualifications of QEs
For placement in a residential treatment center, other than a therapeutic group home, or a hospital, the QE must be a:
- Florida licensed psychiatrist or psychologist with at least three years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of serious emotional disturbances in children and adolescents, and have no actual or perceived conflict of interest with any inpatient facility or residential treatment center or program.
For placement in a therapeutic group home, the QE must be a:
- Florida licensed psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health counselor, licensed under chapter 491, who has at least two years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of serious emotional or behavioral disturbance in children and adolescents, and have no actual or perceived conflict of interest with any residential treatment center or program.
Florida Fee-for-Service Care Coordination
Magellan provides fee-for-service (FFS) care coordination services for FFS Florida Medicaid recipients receiving Statewide Inpatient Psychiatric Program (SIPP) or inpatient behavioral health services with an out-of-state residential treatment provider. FFS care coordination services are essential to ensure recipients receive the necessary services and quality treatment they need to not remain in this restrictive level of care longer than needed, and that proper discharge planning occurs.