Johns Hopkins Medicine announced that it is collaborating with 14 other Maryland hospitals on a five-year initiative aimed at reducing the use of emergency departments and police for substance use and mental health crises.
The project, funded by a $45 million grant from Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission Regional Partnership Catalyst Grant Program, will launch in January under the name of Baltimore Regional Integrated Crisis System. It will serve Baltimore city and county, Howard County and Carroll County—a region that currently see more than 58,000 emergency department visits per year related to behavioral health crises.
The initiative will create a hotline staffed by trained professionals who can provide assessments and de-escalation, and facilitate the scheduling of same-day appointments by using a platform that tracks bed availability and open appointment slots at area hospitals and community-based providers. The hotline will also be able to deploy mobile crisis teams.
“Many crisis situations can be managed within existing outpatient clinical settings, if people are able to immediately access such care,” Mustapha Saheed, MD, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine and assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a news release. “This initiative will support outpatient behavioral health providers to offer walk-in or virtual appointments for people who need immediate assessment, de-escalation, or treatment services. This is an important component of effective crisis intervention and response.”
Behavioral Health System Baltimore, the city’s local behavioral health authority, will oversee the venture, and Johns Hopkins Hospital, Bayview Medical Center and Howard County General Hospital will provide care models and provide additional leading support.