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The Office of Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford

Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, Commission to Study Mental & Behavioral Health in Maryland Release 2020 Annual Report

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford and the Commission to Study Mental & Behavioral Health in Maryland today released their 2020 Annual Report. The Commission, created by Governor Larry Hogan through Executive Order 01.01.2019.02 in 2019, studies the mental and behavioral health delivery system in the state to identify barriers to healthcare access for mental health patients as well as the relationship between mental health and substance use disorders.

Pursuant to the Executive Order, the Commission is required to submit recommendations to Governor Hogan for policy, regulations, and/or legislation to improve the continuum of mental health services, as well as, but not limited to, the following: (1) improving the statewide, comprehensive crisis response system; and (2) ensuring parity of resources to meet mental health needs. Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission switched from in-person to virtual public meetings. During these meetings, the Commission heard testimony from persons suffering from disorders, family members and caregivers, educators, faith leaders, researchers, elected officials, law enforcement agencies, treatment professionals, advocates, and other stakeholders. The 2020 report reflects the Commission’s work over the past year, the work of individual subcommittees, and updates on implementing 2019 recommendations, and additional recommendations moving forward.

“The pandemic has had a profound impact on the lives of Marylanders, particularly those struggling with mental and behavioral health disorders,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “Health and financial uncertainties brought on by the pandemic, combined with increased social isolation have escalated stressors on everyone’s mental health. The work being undertaken by the Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health is needed now more than ever.”

In addition to providing updates on the recommendations in the 2019 report, the 2020 report recommendations include:

  1. Clear Statutory Definition of Harm to Self and Others
  2. Enact Permanent Telehealth Reform
  3. Continued Exploration of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) for Individuals in the Correctional System
  4. Expand Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) Teams
  5. Extended Services for ACT Teams and Expand Geographical Areas of Need
  6. Obtain IMD Exclusion Waiver
  7. Explore Provider Reimbursement Rates as Non-Quantitative Treatment Limitations (NQTL)
  8. Formalize a Statewide Planning Body to address the needs of justice involved persons with behavioral health disorders
  9. Develop a Mental Health-Criminal Justice Center of Excellence
  10. Broaden and Formalize County-level Criminal Justice/Behavioral Health Planning Committees

The 2020 report represents the work of the Commission over this challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic’s secondary effects on the mental and behavioral health of Marylanders has served to highlight the importance of our efforts to improve Maryland’s current mental and behavioral health systems. The Commission looks forward to continuing its work throughout 2021 and 2022, including increased focus on breaking down barriers to mental and behavioral health services.

For more information on the Commission to Study Mental & Behavioral Health in Maryland, including past meetings, presentations, and a full list of commission members, visit https://ltgovernor.maryland.gov/MBHcommission. To view the 2020 Annual Report, click here.

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