Messages from MHA's President

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Addressing Opioid Crisis Will Take Teamwork

by Your MHA Team | 10/13/2017

Hospital leaders know that finding solutions to Maryland’s opioid crisis requires partnerships – with community-based behavioral health providers, with law enforcement, with state agencies, and more.

That’s why over the past couple of years, to build support for a comprehensive behavioral health strategy, MHA has been convening those who will play a part in addressing the crisis. We’ve solicited ideas, shared information and best practices, and learned how different organizations can complement each other’s work. For example, MHA recently partnered with the state Behavioral Health Administration to host a five-part webinar series to help hospitals understand their role in addressing the crisis.

These efforts are now bearing fruit.

Last week, Maryland’s Behavioral Health Administration and Opioid Operational Command Center announced it will provide $1.5 million for a pilot program for five hospitals to expand the work that 10 hospitals are already doing to help those who have overdosed on opioids or are at risk of doing so. The funding, which will be used for enhanced screenings and peer recovery specialists in emergency departments, will go to Meritus Medical Center, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital, and Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

The allocation of these funds is a small but significant step toward addressing the opioid crisis. The supported activities at these hospitals align with forthcoming recommendations from MHA’s Behavioral Health Task Force for a statewide, comprehensive behavioral health care system. That task force’s recommendations will be released closer to the start of the 2018 legislative session.

A resolution to Maryland’s opioid crisis will rely on the relationships that MHA has forged over the past several years, and the department’s allocation of funds for these pilots represents just the sort of trusted partnership that can change the trajectory of opioid abuse in our state.

Messages From MHA President and CEO Carmela Coyle

  • Farewell

    September 29, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”--Winnie the Pooh​ Who could imagine that Winnie the Pooh would so aptly sum up my feelings about leaving MHA? But he does. It is hard to say goodbye because you have made it that way. To a person, Maryland’s hospital leaders have enriched the past nine years of my life with your dedication to MHA, your compassion for your patients and staff, your determination to maintain Maryland’s unique status as a national leader and, through it all, your friendship.​
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  • Bolstering the Ranks

    September 22, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    As MHA gears up for the 2018 legislative session in Annapolis, amid uncertainty regarding federal health care policy and final negotiations on the next phase of the All-Payer model, your association has several new faces coming on board. They will make sure not only that the voice of hospitals is heard, but that legislators and policymakers understand the critical role hospitals play their communities and throughout Maryland.
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  • Hospitals as Safe Harbors

    September 15, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    Violence is a growing problem in our country, and Maryland is not immune to the threat. Baltimore now has the nation’s highest homicide rate, more than 51 for every 100,000 people. Statewide, there are more than 446 violent crimes for every 100,000 Marylanders. And more and more, hospital staff on the front lines of care are feeling the pain, sometimes literally, sometimes emotionally.​
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  • National Issues, Local Voices

    September 08, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    Next week in Washington, D.C., the American Hospital Association will host its annual National Regional Policy Board meeting, bringing together hospital and health care leaders from across the country to discuss some of the most pressing issues our field will face in the coming years. You may remember that for governance purposes the AHA breaks the nation up into nine regions (we’re in Region 3), each of which meets three times a year to foster communication between the AHA and its members and state hospital associations. The RPBs provide input on public policy issues considered by the AHA board and identify needs unique to each region.
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  • All in a Life's Work

    September 01, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    This holiday weekend, as families try to squeeze in a few last beach days or host backyard barbecues before fall arrives, thousands of Maryland’s health care professionals will be at their hospital posts throughout the state.
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  • Opioid Crisis Demands Action

    August 25, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    The Maryland Department of Health has reported that drug- and alcohol-related deaths continued to climb in 2017 – the 550 deaths in the first quarter of 2017 represent a 44 percent increase from the same period last year. The need for effective measures to mitigate the crisis is becoming even more pressing.
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