Coali­tion hon­ors leg­is­la­tors for HOPE Act

Sunday Star - - LOCAL - By DENAE SPIERING dspier­ing@ches­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Dspier­ing617.

EASTON — Or­ga­ni­za­tions rep­re­sent­ing the Be­hav­ioral Health Coali­tion of the Mid-Shore hosted a Be­hav­ioral Health Leg­isla­tive Fo­rum on Tues­day, Nov. 14, at the Tal­bot County Com­mu­nity Cen­ter in Easton. Dur­ing the evening, the coali­tion pre­sented lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives with procla­ma­tions honor­ing them for their sup­port of the HOPE Act.

“The coali­tion wanted to take this op­por­tu­nity to pub­licly thank them for their full sup­port last leg­isla­tive ses­sion of the HOPE Act,” said Jackie Davis, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion of the East­ern Shore. “This land­mark leg­is­la­tion in­dexes re­im­burse­ments rates for be­hav­ioral health providers to med­i­cal in­fla­tion, a long over­due change for our sys­tems of care.”

State rep­re­sen­ta­tives hon­ored at the event in­cluded Sen. Ad­die Eckardt, Del. Johnny Mautz, Del. Christo­pher Adams, Del. Jay Ja­cobs, Del. Steve Arentz and Del. Jeff Ghrist.

The Heroin and Opi­oid Pre­ven­tion Ef­fort and Treat­ment Act of 2017 was signed into law on May 25.

Ac­cord­ing to the Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion of Mary­land, the HOPE Act is a com­pre­hen­sive be­hav­ioral health mea­sure aimed at ex­pand­ing treat­ment op­tions for those with men­tal health and sub­stance use dis­or­ders, and al­lo­cat­ing more re­sources to re­duc­ing opi­oid de­pen­dency in Mary­land.

The law re­quires spec­i­fied in­creases in fund­ing for com­mu­nity be­hav­ioral health ser­vices known as the Keep the Door Open Act, in which pay­ments to providers in­creased by 3.5 per­cent in each of the next two fis­cal years and by 3 per­cent the fol­low­ing year.

It also re­quires that the Be­hav­ioral Health Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Med­i­caid, in con­sul­ta­tion with stake­hold­ers, con­duct a rate-set­ting study for com­mu­nity be­hav­ioral health ser vices and im­ple­ment a pay­ment sys­tem based on the find­ings, and the es­tab­lish­ment of be­hav­ioral health cri­sis treat­ment cen­ters to be con­sis­tent with forth­com­ing rec­om­men­da­tions from the Mar yland Be­hav­ioral Health Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil, and re­quires at least one cri­sis cen­ter be es­tab­lished by June 1, 2018.

The law makes ex­pan­sion and pro­mo­tion of the statewide 24/7 cri­sis hot­line a statu­tory re­quire­ment, and re­quires hot­line staff to be trained to screen call­ers for men­tal health and sub­stance use dis­or­der needs, con­duct risk as­sess­ment for over­doses and sui­cides, and con­nect call­ers to ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ioral health re­sources and sup­ports.

The law re­peals a re­quire­ment that an in­di­vid­ual be trained in over­dose iden­ti­fi­ca­tion be­fore re­ceiv­ing the over­dose-re­ver­sal med­i­ca­tion nalox­one from a phar­ma­cist and re­quires hos­pi­tals to have pro­to­cols for dis­charg­ing pa­tients treated for a drug over­dose or iden­ti­fied as hav­ing a sub­stance use dis­or­der.

Those re­quired pro­to­cols in­clude co­or­di­na­tion with peer re­cover y coun­selors, con­nec­tion to a com­mu­nity-based treat­ment and/ or a pre­scrip­tion.

The HOPE ACT also re­quires de­vel­op­ment of a plan to ad­dress the in­creas­ing need of sub­stance use dis­or­der treat­ment within jails and pris­ons through­out the state.

Upon pre­sent­ing the procla­ma­tion, Davis said, “We thought tonight we would present you all with a procla­ma­tion in recog­ni­tion of your sup­port. You all so kindly show up at our events and read procla­ma­tions, we de­cided we would do one for you.”

Par­tic­i­pat­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions in at­ten­dance for the fo­rum were the Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion of the East­ern Shore, Mary­land Coali­tion of Fam­i­lies, Ch­e­sa­peake Voy­agers Inc., Mid-Shore Be­hav­ioral Health Inc., Chan­nel Marker Inc., Cross­roads Com­mu­nity Inc., Cor­sica River Men­tal Health Ser­vices Inc., For All Sea­sons Inc., Af­fil­i­ated Sante Group’s East­ern Shore Cri­sis Re­sponse, East­ern Shore Psy­cho­log­i­cal Ser­vices and Tal­bot County Health De­part­ment.

PHOTO BY DENAE SPIERING

Dur­ing the Be­hav­ioral Health Leg­isla­tive Fo­rum on Tues­day, Nov. 14, the Be­hav­ioral Health Coali­tion of the MidShore pre­sented lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives with procla­ma­tions honor­ing them for their sup­port of the HOPE Act. From left are Dels. Jay Ja­cobs, Steve Arentz, Chris Adams, Jeff Ghrist and Sen. Ad­die Eckardt.

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