Washington County Health Department leaders joined Meritus Health team members last week to accept a check for SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) funds from Congressman David Trone of Maryland’s 6th district. The nearly $500,000 will cover the cost to add three additional crisis stabilization beds to Meritus Medical Center.
“We were excited to finally hear that these federal dollars were coming to our community so that we could partner with our local health system and provide this desperately needed service, for an extremely vulnerable population,” says Vicki Sterling, director of behavioral health services at the Washington County Health Department.
Sterling explains that the crisis beds allow overdose patients to stay as long as 48 hours while they start receiving medically assisted treatment. In the safe space of a hospital bed, a staff member can help them locate and schedule longer-term outpatient services for the assistance they need and provide a “warm handoff” to peer support personnel.
“All of this increases a person’s chances for successful recovery,” says Sterling.
Sterling, who wrote the grant application for the funds and Earl Stoner, Washington County’s health officer, were on hand for the congressman’s visit and check presentation at Meritus Medical Center.