There is a crisis in our state, faced by an estimated one in five Marylanders: mental health and substance use disorders. In June 2015, recognizing the need for a comprehensive approach to the state’s behavioral health crisis, the Maryland Hospital Association called for the creation of a Behavioral Health Advisory Group, composed of hospital executives and experts in mental health and substance use disorders. This group was charged with identifying and addressing key behavioral health issues affecting Maryland’s hospitals and the communities they serve.  

A Roadmap to an Essential, Comprehensive System of Behavioral Health Care for Maryland

The Maryland Hospital Association's Behavioral Health Task Force report, A Roadmap to an Essential, Comprehensive System of Behavioral Health Care for Maryland, offers a roadmap for the behavioral health care delivery system. This roadmap puts patients first and is guided by evidence-based treatment practices, seamless linkages to care, and a highly-skilled, adequate workforce.

Maryland Behavioral Health Resources & Services Directory

The Maryland Hospital Association compiled a statewide Behavioral Health Resources & Services Directory to highlight some of the available resources in Maryland. If you’d like to add a program or resource to this list, contact

Behavioral Health Discharge Delays

Maryland’s hospitals are on the front lines of the behavioral health crisis. Appreciating the importance of behavioral health, the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) formed the Behavioral Health Task Force consisting of high-level hospital representatives. In February 2019, the Maryland Hospital Association released a study on Behavioral Health Discharge Delays in Maryland Hospitals to better understand behavioral health discharge delays in the state’s acute care hospitals.

In April 2019, MHA’s Behavioral Health Task Force launched a study of factors that contribute to discharge delays for behavioral health patients in emergency departments.

The study found that:

  • 42% of behavioral health ED patients experienced a delay being discharged or transferred
  • These patients were delayed for 1,676 days—an average of 20 hours per patient
  • Delays account for 48% of the time those patients spend in Eds
  • Three of the top five causes for a delay were related to actions taken by the prospective
  • receiving “agency” or placement site
  • Children and teenagers were delayed twice as long as adults; discharge planners cited age as a contributing factor to the delay

The full report is available here.

ED Discharge Protocols for Substance Use Disorder

The Maryland Hospital Association submitted a report entitled “Emergency Discharge Protocols for Patients with Substance Use Disorders and Opioid Overdoses in Maryland’s Hospitals” to the Maryland General Assembly and to the Maryland Department of Health. The report includes the results of MHA’s review of emergency department (ED) discharge protocols for patients treated for an overdose or identified as having a substance use disorder from our acute care inpatient hospitals with emergency departments. MHA’s Recommendations for Components of Emergency Department Discharge Protocols report also offers suggested best practices for discharging patients with substance use disorders. These recommendations, which stemmed form a series of Clinical Conversations MHA began in 2017, are related to universal screening, naloxone access, referrals to treatment, and use of non-clinical personnel.