The Senate Finance Committee heard a full afternoon of briefings focused on behavioral health issues.
Representatives from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) briefed the committee on their progress in addressing the opioid crisis. MDH was represented by Chief Operating Officer Dennis Schrader and Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health Dr. Barbara Bazron. The OOCC was represented by Executive Director Clay Stamp.
Stamp discussed the administration’s statewide mobilization efforts through the OOCC, which including the local opioid intervention teams, and how the funds appropriated for this crisis over the past year have been used. He closed his remarks by noting that we can’t arrest or treat our way out of the crisis. We need to educate and prevent ourselves out and it will be a long haul.
Schrader provided remarks on organizational changes and big picture focus of MDH and Bazron presented on the specifics of how MDH has been implementing the Administration’s four key objectives that Stamp had outlined:
- Prevention – “Talk to Your Doc” and Talk to Your Patient” campaigns; implementing Compliance and PDMP changes required under the HOPE act
- Early intervention – Expansion of SBIRT; identifying and implementing improvements to Maryland’s Crisis hotline
- Treatment and Recovery – Supporting the development of crisis treatment centers; expanding residential treatment capacity
- Enhanced data collection and sharing – Expansion of PDMP; use of Predictive Risk Model to Combat Overdose Grant (PRECOG); enhanced state surveillance of overdose data
Senators raised questions about access to naloxone, frustrations with the roll out of the statewide hotline.
The next set of briefings focused on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).
Representatives from CRISP (Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients) briefed the committee on updates to the PDMP including streamlining the registration process and improving integration with hospitals. Schrader and Bazron reported on the department’s progress on implementing the expansion of the PDMP as required under the 2017 session’s HOPE Act. The Department’s efforts have resulted in 96% of required prescribers registered.
The afternoon of health-focused briefings included panels and updates from the Maryland Hospital Association and other stakeholders broadly on the behavioral health crisis and specifically on the use of electronic health records.