Coalition honors legislators for HOPE Act
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.
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.