Prince George’s County, Alsobrooks unveil mental health care facility

 Prince George’s County, Alsobrooks unveil mental health care facility

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Prince George’s County officials celebrated the opening on Tuesday in a new behavioral health facility, a project with part funded through federal and state grants to help address the county’s long-standing shortage of mental and behavioral health care.

The $ 7.6 million project, at the MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton, includes 22 inpatient beds, as well as outpatient and partial-hospitalization resources. The new facility is expected to start accepting patients later this month.

“Today is another step in our journey to provide access to the comprehensive health care our residents deserve,” Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) said at a news conference Tuesday . “And now continuing, as well, is our further study of ethical health care, a need that has long been unmet in this community.”

The county, home to just under 1 million residents, has only two other acute care units for the treatment of inpatient behavioral health, leaving more than half of adult patients. in 2019 to resort to hospitals outside the county, according to Alsobrooks. Behavioral health was identified as a top health priority in a community need assessment that year, which found that the county had fewer mental health providers per person than its neighbors. Prince George’s, a predominantly Black suburb, has fewer doctors and hospital beds per capita, according to state data.

Prince George’s mental health facility built using funds transferred from the police training building

“Our residents deserve to have their dignity preserved, and they deserve to be treated in an environment that promotes and encourages true healing and well -being,” Alsobrooks said. “The grant now only brings us closer to that purpose.”

The new facility is part of Alsobrooks ’commitment to dedicate mental health resources. Last year, he redirected $ 20 million to establish an ethical health center in Lanham with funds originally intended for a new police training facility. That decision is part of the county’s response the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May 2020 and occurred nationwide calls for racial and social justice.

The Lanham facility, at Doctors Community Medical Center, is scheduled to open outpatient services in July. A 16-bed inpatient unit will open in December.

Alsobrooks, who served as the county’s lead prosecutor from 2010 to 2018, said his emphasis on mental health has also encouraged many people to enter the criminal justice system and need health resources in etiquette. He said 70 per cent of the people arrested at Prince George’s were drunk on their arrival at the prison and about one-third of the inmates taken to the detention center were on psychotropic drugs.

Si Pr. George officials say the long-awaited change is coming

“We see the high price being paid by communities like ours for lack of access to health care,” Alsobrooks said.

The Clinton facility will be completed in two rounds, the first of which is expected to open to patients this month. It features improved security and safety measures for patients and staff, such as electronic alarms, video systems, a dedicated space for administrative hearings and a treatment window.

U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), Whose district includes part of Prince George’s, helped secure $ 925,000 in federal funding for the project. Another $ 840,000 came out a grant from the Maryland Hospital Association bond project.

“Ethical health is late to the attention of Americans, not to mention the cost it has added to Americans in the long run,” Hoyer said Tuesday. news conference. “Moral health is very important physically, and perhaps vice versa.”

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