Harford Launches New Emergency Medical Standards Advisory Board

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman has announced the creation of a new Emergency Medical Services Standards Advisory Board.

As announced in a news release:

The EMS Standards Advisory Board will make strategic recommendations to support high quality emergency medical services in the county and plan for future needs. The all-volunteer board is comprised of five members with expertise from the medical, EMS and business communities, and the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association. The Board will be advisory to County Executive Glassman and report directly to Harford County Director of Emergency Services Edward Hopkins.

County Executive Glassman has charged the Board with making recommendations on the following:

  • Providing for and supporting high quality emergency medical services;
  • Strategies for efficient and effective services delivery, training and quality assurance;
  • Suggesting methods for billing and the collection of fees.

The creation of the EMS Standards Advisory board is the latest in a series of steps Glassman has taken to strengthen the delivery of emergency medical services in the county. Previous actions included setting a dedicated medical director to oversee patient care and establishing county owned and staffed “surge” ambulances.

“As a former volunteer fire fighter, and VFC president, I know that when our citizens call out for emergency services, Harford County’s first responders want nothing more than to deliver the best possible care. As county executive, it is my responsibility to ensure that our system is sustainable and can meet our future needs. Therefore, in addition to establishing initial protocols for our county-owned surge ambulances, the EMS Standards Advisory Board will work with our medical director, Department of Emergency Services’ staff, and various emergency service providers in the field to begin our long-term plan to support and strengthen future EMS services in the county,” County Executive Glassman said.

The five member EMS Standards Advisory Board includes chairman John W. Donohue,  Dr. David Hexter, Tami Wiggins, William A. Dousa Jr., and Lawrence A. Richardson Jr.

Read the Harford County news release to learn more.

Previous coverage from Conduit Street:

Harford County Begins Study of Emergency Medical Services System

Register Now: Land Bank 101 – Everything You Need to Know

What’s a land bank? Can it help eliminate blight and revitalize my community? Are they allowed in Maryland? How do I get one started?

These questions and more will be answered in the Land Bank 101 Workshop hosted by the Community Development Network (CDN) in partnership with Delegate Marvin E. Holmes, Jr., Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond-Baltimore Branch. The workshop will be held Thursday, September 28, 2017 at the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex (8001 Sheriff Road Hyattsville, MD 20785). 

This workshop will have all you need to know about what Land Banks do, how Maryland’s law works, and how jurisdictions can implement the new law.

The national experts in this field, the Center for Community Progress, will run the workshop and answer your questions.

This is one of the many events taking place during Community Development Week!

Program: 

10:00am Welcome and Introductions

10:10–11:30am  Land Bank 101-Center for Community Progress

11:30am–1:00pm  Overview of Maryland’s legislation HB1168/SB957 (and working lunch provided)

1:00–3:00pm Hands on Workshop for Prince George’s and Dorchester County Officials Only

This is a free event, but you must register to attend

For questions or more information contact:

Odette Ramos
Community Development Network of Maryland
443-801-8137
odette@communitydevelopmentmd.org

 

Inmate Health Care Costs Surge in Counties

An article in The Baltimore Sun reports on the raising costs the Baltimore County jail is facing for inmate health care primarily due to increased addiction, mental health, and chronic diseases. The county council is in the process of finalizing a contract for inmate healthcare that factors in these increased costs.

The County Council is set to vote Tuesday on a contract for a private company, PrimeCare Medical, to manage medical, dental and behavioral health treatment for the jail’s roughly 1,200 inmates.

That contract calls for an expenditure of about $10.5 million annually — up from $6.8 million a year the county has spent over the past decade. The contract was competitively procured and county officials selected PrimeCare’s bid.

At the county council briefing county jail and health officials reported that 50% of their inmates are now in need of mental health care services — up from 25% in the past.

While the article focused on Baltimore County, it noted that other county jails, including Anne Arundel, Harford, and Howard, are also seeing significant increases in their costs for providing inmate health care. These jump in costs have been tied to more inmates in need of more complicated and expensive care. This includes inmates arriving to the jails in need of detox from drug use, additional psychiatrist needed for mental health care, off-site treatments like dialysis, and management of chronic diseases such as heart diseases and HIV.

Read The Baltimore Sun to learn more.

Western Maryland Officials Briefed on Opioid Crisis

Executive Director of the Opioid Operational Command Center, Clay Stamp, gave an update to Western Maryland officials on his offices’ statewide, comprehensive approach to addressing the opioid epidemic.

While providing his overview Stamp remarked on the challenges of getting community buy-in. Much of the action the state is coordinating will be done on the local level through the county opioid intervention teams. The governor has budgeted significant funding for programs spearheaded by these teams.

As reported in The Herald-Mail:

Stamp gave a status report on the state’s efforts to Western Maryland legislators gathered Thursday at Beaver Creek Country Club. Lawmakers from Washington, Frederick, Allegany and Garrett counties attended.

“It’s a crisis that carries “‘a lot of stigma,’” Stamp said. “There are a lot of competing interests around it.”

The state’s balanced approach of prevention and treatment has been “a hard sell” in communities, he said.

The article also notes that Stamp’s team is overseeing coordination between 14 state agencies and has developed four goals and four strategies. The four goals focus on prevention, access to treatment, enforcement, and reducing the number of overdoses. The four strategies involve spreading awareness to reduce stigma, focusing on a balance approach, using data as a centerpiece of program evaluations, and setting long-term expectations.

President Reverses Restrictions on Transfer of Military Gear to Local Police

President Trump signed an executive order reversing restrictions put in place by the Obama Administration limiting the military surplus program. The program provided a means for the transfer of excess military equipment to local police departments. The executive action allows for that program to resume.

Attorney General Jeff Session announced the order at a Fraternal Order of Police Conference noting that it was an important move for law enforcement safety and operations. As reported in Governing:

“These are the types of helmets and gear that stopped a bullet and saved the life of an officer during the Orlando night club shooting,” Sessions said. “This is the type of equipment officers needed when they pursued and ultimately killed terrorists in San Bernardino.”

The article notes that Obama had limited the program, which had been around since the 1990s and transferred over $500 million in military gear to local law enforcement, in 2015 after the high profile police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson that generated criticism of the heavily armored police. In addition to reversing the the restrictions, the Trump order also removes the requirement for county governments to approve the use of military equipment by local police departments in order for them to receive it.

Gear prohibited under Obama Executive Order.
Gear prohibited under Obama Executive Order.

Vox has a helpful visual of what gear had been prohibited and limited by Obama’s action that are now back in play through the Trump administration’s actions and a report on the reasoning behind the initial executive order and the recent reversal:

The task force wanted the Obama administration to draw a clear line between police’s “guardian” role and the military’s “warrior” role. The administration figured that one way to do that was by making it more difficult for police to obtain weapons that are seen by the public as tools of warriors instead of guardians.

Gear restricted under the Obama Executive Order.
Gear restricted under the Obama Executive Order.

The Trump administration obviously disagrees, focusing on arguments that not letting the police obtain military weapons makes their jobs more dangerous. They claim that police need the gear to combat criminals, such as drug cartels and terrorists, who can be just as heavily armed.

Finally, as the Governing article mentions, the Trump administration also repealed the Obama administration’s executive order limiting the use of civil asset forfeiture, a process by which police officers could take money and property from citizens even when they had not been charged with a crime, earlier this year.

 

 

For more information:

Trump Reverses Obama’s Ban on Military Gear Going to Police (Governing)

Trump’s plan to give police easier access to military weapons, explained (VOX)

Presidential Executive Order on Restoring State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement’s Access to Life-Saving Equipment and Resources (White House)

Sessions’ New Order Lets Police Circumvent State Laws on Civil Asset Forfeiture (Governing)

Attorney General Sessions Issues Policy and Guidelines on Federal Adoptions of Assets Seized by State or Local Law Enforcement (Department of Justice)

Previous coverage on Conduit Street:

Maryland Police Receive Military Provisions Under Federal Program

President Restricts Transfers of Military Equipment to Local Police Departments

DOJ Suspends Part of Asset Forfeiture Program

Local Government Commission Convenes to Discuss Justice Reinvestment

The first meeting of the Local Government Justice Reinvestment Commission was held Thursday, August 30 in Annapolis.

The Commission was established to represent each county in advising the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Board on matters related to the Justice Reinvestment Act’s implementation. This includes making recommendations regarding performance incentive grants to local governments and creating measures to assess the effectiveness of the grants. The commission is chaired by Robert L. Green, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

Members of the Local Government Justice Reinvestment Commission being briefed by GOCCP Representatives on the Justice Reinvestment Act and the status of its implementation.
Members of the Local Government Justice Reinvestment Commission being briefed by GOCCP Representatives on the Justice Reinvestment Act and the status of its implementation.

The agenda included a presentation on the Justice Reinvestment Act by Janet Lane, the Director of Justice Reinvestment, and Donald Hogan, the Chief of Legislation & Justice Reinvestment, from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP). The duo reported on the history of JRA, the issues it aims to address, the goals it aims to meet, and the role of the commission and other boards in helping to see the act through.

Lane and Hogan also reported on the results of a local jail gaps and needs survey and a local jail budgetary impact report both performed following the passage of the Act and in conjunction with local jails. Stressing that the act is data driven, they noted the need to continue to collect information from the locals on the impacts of the act as it is implemented.

Following that presentation, Chairman Green took a moment to discuss data needed for assessments of local programs. While they had received a lot of information from nonprofits and stakeholders, he believed the data from local governments was not sufficiently representing the amount of work and programs they are providing. Chairman Green asked the group to go back to counties and their criminal justice stakeholders to ensure all the programs they are doing are accounted for.

The meeting concluded with a presentation from Jeffrey Zuback from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention on the performance measures that are being established to help ensure all the provisions in the Act are being followed and to see what impact they are having on public safety in Maryland. So far about 126 measures have been developed with 18 focused on locals. Work continues to refine those measures before for the law takes effect on Oct. 1, 2017.

For more information about the Local Government Justice Reinvestment Commission visit the GOCCP website.

Frosh Highlights Recent Efforts in Herald Mail Interview

In an interview with The Herald Mail, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh mused on his recent efforts to take on opioids, price gauging, and on asserting new litigation authority against the federal government.

In regards to opioids, Frosh believes more needs to be done to help stem the epidemic including expanding the number of treatment beds. He has focused his efforts on prosecuting “pill mill” doctors, major drug dealers, and now drug manufacturers:

Some manufacturers have claimed their opioids aren’t addictive, he said. Patients have been prescribed more than they need, have become addicted and found they can’t afford the opioids, and switched to heroin. The result has been an upsurge in overdoses and deaths. Frosh said nearly all states are now investigating, some in collaboration with other states and some on their own.

The interview also covered his litigation efforts against the federal government — an authority that was expanded during the past general assembly session. So far Frosh has pursued litigation against the “muslim ban”, withholding cost-share payments through the Affordable Care Act, repealing the Borrower Defense Rule, and loosening of environmental regulations.

Read The Herald Mail to learn more.

Washington County Considers Creating a Diversity Committee

In Washington County the Commissioners are exploring whether to create an advisory diversity committee.

The Herald Mail reports:

The committee could help with community involvement, encouraging more candidates to run for public office and help with diversity issues in the workforce, according to county Commissioners Wayne Keefer and John Barr.

Keefer said a resident contacted him months ago about the idea of forming a diversity panel. One of his colleagues on the Washington County Board of Commissioners also was contacted about the same idea, he said.

As reported in the article, rather than “reinvent the wheel” Washington County officials are touching base with leadership from the Maryland County Officials Diversity Caucus (Diversity Caucus), a MACo Chapter Organization, for advice. The Diversity Caucus provides an organizational structure for county elected officials of minority descent to empower, represent, and respond to issues affecting the most vulnerable communities and constituencies; to promote legislation and policies beneficial to the people they represent; and to serve as a central point for information and participation within the Maryland Association of Counties.

Read The Herald Mail  to learn more.

Justice Reinvestment Oversight Board Gears Up For Act’s Implementation

The Justice Reinvestment Oversight Board (JROB) held a quarterly meeting on Monday, August 28 in Crownsville.

First up on the agenda was an update from the  Maryland Department of Health.  Chief of Staff David Lashar, Deputy Chief of Staff Webster Ye, and Dr. Barbara Bazron Executive Director of the Behavioral Health Administration discussed progress on issues relating to §§ 8-505 and 8-507 court ordered assessments and treatment. This includes a systematic and data-based review of the process from start to finish that has already resulted in changes to organizational structure and the addition of new staff.

The speakers noted the department has reduced the backlog of individuals waiting for 8-507 beds by 25% since the spring to about 25 people. They have also reduced the number of days it takes from order to placement from an average of 80-100 in recent years to about a month or 21 business days under the best case scenarios. They plan to continue to reduce these numbers and improve the process in anticipation of an uptick in assessments and placements under the act.

The meeting also included a number of updates from core stakeholders and board members in the process of preparing for the October 1, 2017 start date for the Justice Reinvestment Act (which was passed in 2016).

Patricia Goins-Johnson Executive Director of Field Support Services for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services discussed the staffing challenges the division is facing and their recruitment efforts. John R. Greene from the Maryland Parole Commission updated the commission on the work to train and prepare staff for new case plan procedures and collaboration with local agents.  Joseph F. Clocker Director of the Division of Parole & Probation shared that the new graduated sanctions requirement has been their biggest challenge. While they have always had informal policies in place they are in the process of developing formal policies and matrices to comply with act.

Constance Parker, Administrator for the Re-Entry Initiative at the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, provided updates regarding their licensing work. Specifically she focused on educating employers on the benefits and incentives for hiring justice involved individuals, and responding to their questions and concerns. Chief Judge John Morrissey and Judge Kathleen Gallogly Cox representing the Administrative Office of the Courts discussed training the courts have been doing in anticipation of the law going into effect as well as concerns regarding unintended impacts the Act may have on the operation of problem solving and drug courts. Robert Green, Chair of the Local Government Justice Reinvestment Commission, announced that the local commission will be meeting for the first time this week.

The meeting concluded with a presentation from Becky Berkebile and Jeffrey Zuback from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention on the performance measures that are being established to help account for and guide the many facets of the act. So far 125 measures have been developed.

The 25 member board, chaired by Judge Daniel M. Long, is charged with overseeing the implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Act (SB 1005), the law passed during the 2016 outlining comprehensive state criminal justice reform. Duties include collecting and analyzing data, creating performance measures, and making recommendations for reinvestment of savings. The board meets quarterly.

For more information about the JROB visit the GOCCP website.

Prior coverage from Conduit Street:

Justice Reinvestment Oversight Board Briefed on Opioids, Implementation

Justice Reinvestment Oversight Board Begins Work

Maryland Ranks 4th in Nation for Internet Businesses

Maryland was ranked fourth in the nation by the Internet Association in its “Ease of Doing Internet Business” report. The report takes into consideration how welcoming state and local governments are to internet and technology firms.

The Frederick News-Post reports:

Internet businesses include data processing, hosting, and related services, wired and wireless telecommunications carriers, telecommunications, internet publishing, broadcasting, and web search portals, and computer systems design and related services, Internet Association spokesman Scott Haber said in an email.

Each of the top five states enjoys high rates of internet access and strong investment environments that can help technology companies get funding, the report said.

The article notes that Maryland ranked high, 94 out of 100, on internet access — one of the factors that contributes to the success of internet businesses. Other factors included availability of public and private money for research and development; proper investment; and regulatory environment.

For more information read The Frederick News-Post  and the Internet Association’s “Ease of Doing Internet Business” report.