Working to Expand Mental Health Services

Rendering of proposed mental health facility.
Rendering of proposed mental health facility.

Mental illness and addiction know no boundaries. They can impact people regardless of their age, race, income, education and geographic location. We often don’t have to look any further than our immediate circles—family, friends, neighbors, even ourselves—to see the faces of mental illness and addiction.

Anne Arundel Medical Center wants to help expand access to mental health services and recently filed a Certificate of Need (CON) with the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) to establish a 16-bed mental health hospital. This specialty hospital for adults will complement AAMC’s existing community-centered mental health and substance use services. The MHCC must approve our CON application before we can move forward.

Despite a growing network of outpatient mental health services, what’s sorely lacking is inpatient care, especially in Anne Arundel County. Each year, AAMC transfers more than 1,000 patients from our emergency department to inpatient mental health facilities across Maryland. The most recent countywide health assessment cites improved mental health and substance use services as one of the highest priority healthcare needs for Anne Arundel County.

“Community support for our project is strong and a true vote of confidence and indication that this community needs and wants access to mental health care,” says Larry Ulvila, chair of AAMC’s Mental Health and Substance Use Philanthropy Council and former president of the AAMC Foundation Board.

A core group of area residents and business leaders are pledging to launch a campaign to raise $5 million through the AAMC Foundation to help fund construction and programs for this new initiative.

We have been expanding our mental health services and this facility will fill a critical gap. In 2014, we opened an outpatient mental health clinic and, later this year, we will open a psychiatric day hospital program where patients attend treatment sessions during the day and return home in the evening,” says Raymond Hoffman, MD, director of AAMC’s Division of Mental Health and Substance Use. “This will provide our community with access to a full range of substance use and mental health programs on one campus.

AAMC plans to build the new specialty hospital on the Riva Road campus where it operates Pathways, a 40-bed substance use and co-occurring mental health treatment facility.  In addition to inpatient care, AAMC will also transition its outpatient and partial hospitalization programs to this new facility. This will provide our community with access to a full range of substance use and mental health programs on one campus.

AAMC is also pursuing a Certificate of Need for cardiac surgery. An application was filed in February 2015 and is currently under review by the MHCC.

2 Comments

  • Florence Hartman says:

    I am so glad that this is finally happening for Anne Arundel County. While it is great that we have other hospitals surrounding our area, patients often connect with others and then leave them behind because of distance. To have the local support and camaraderie will be good for these folks.

    • thestory says:

      Thank you so much for your support, Florence! This is the right thing to do for our patients and our community.

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