In Need of Repair

April 03, 2023
Maryland’s behavioral health system of care is broken.

This has been the case for some time and primarily affects your emergency departments, which are often the first point of contact or the facility of last resort for those in behavioral health crisis. (More on this in MHA’s new behavioral health one pager).

To address ongoing concerns and determine strategies to improve behavioral health and health care for all Marylanders, MHA convenes a quarterly Behavioral Health Roundtable. This group—dozens of behavioral health care leads and experts from hospitals statewide—met for a fifth time on Monday.

Pokuaa Owusu-Acheaw, chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller, and Erin McMullen, chief of staff to Health Secretary Dr. Laura Herrera Scott, attended and shared that behavioral health care is a leading priority for the administration.

Ms. McMullen’s parting words were “you’ve been heard,” and “we can do better.”

We agree and are energized by the dynamic conversation Monday. While there are certainly pain points, particularly in the child and adolescent population—a rise in aggression, suicidal ideation, and eating disorders, as well as the ongoing workforce shortage—there are bright spots, too.

Members noted better collaboration among systems and more regular communication with state and local agencies is creating better coordination and connection.

We will continue working to support your teams and advocate with the state to repair this broken system. We look forward to our next virtual Behavioral Health Roundtable June 27 and the work ahead.

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  • 2023