Beacon Point adds program for drug exposed babies

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Posted April 4, 2021 | By Brendan Farrell |

The Marion County Hospital District will provide space at its Beacon Point substance abuse treatment campus to an organization working with babies exposed to drugs.

The district’s board approved the use of office space for WellFlorida, which provides services through Nurse Family Partnership. Nurse Family is a partnership between Kids Central, Partnership for Strong Families, WellFlorida and Healthy Start.

As part of the program, registered nurses build relationships with pregnant women who are using substances. They also hope to overlap services for parents with other providers at Beacon Point, said Julie Moderie, program director at WellFlorida.   

“The campus (at Beacon Point) that they have, it’s a really great opportunity,” Moderie said. “Because it seems like it’s a one-stop kind of place where our clients can get multiple services that they need and have easy access to them, which will definitely make it where they’re more compliant and actually receiving the services versus having to find them or travel elsewhere.”

Beacon Point is largely funded by the Hospital District. It provides space where other organizations can offer services to residents regardless of ability to pay. The providers offer medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse, mental health counseling, detox and other services. The district funds multiple health initiatives in the county using the profits from investing $212 million in cash it got in 2014 when it leased Munroe Regional Medical Center to a hospital group. Munroe is now AdventHealth Ocala.

The opioid crisis in Marion County has been a problem for years, and the issue of substance-exposed babies has been growing as well. Moderie said those babies are at a higher risk of abuse or neglect, which increases when the parents also have substance abuse problems. 

“Those numbers are increasing, and they have long-term effects, developmentally, emotionally,” Moderie said. “It’s the No. 1 reason for removal of babies from homes. So, it’s a pretty significant issue, and we’re definitely trying to prevent, you know, some of those major negative outcomes those babies would experience.”

Moderie said that those who are interested more in learning about the program can visit

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