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.