Baltimore Medical System (BMS), the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) system in Maryland, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Maryland Community Resources Commission to help expand its substance use disorder (SUD) program.
BMS will implement the expansion over the next three years, adding new staff, increased outreach and new referral programs with two local hospitals to improve equity and access to health care for those in Baltimore coping with drug and alcohol dependence.
BMS currently employs an SUD team consisting of a dedicated SUD nurse, counselor, community health worker, and providers. This team administers SUD treatment, including counseling, medication-assisted therapy, treatment for underlying medical and behavioral health issues and pharmacy services to patients at the BMS at Highlandtown and BMS at Belair-Edison community health centers.
Over the next three years, BMS plans to increase its SUD patient capacity with the opening of the new BMS at Rosedale community health center and introduce new group therapy sessions to enhance its treatment plans. It will also hire additional staff, including an SUD program director and an additional SUD community health worker. BMS also expects to formalize new referral programs with long-time partners Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center (MFSMC) and Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital (ASAH) to refer both obstetrics patients who are experiencing SUD or who are at high risk of relapse and non-emergent SUD patients who visit the hospitals’ emergency departments to BMS community health centers for SUD treatment. The goal of the programs will be to provide more comprehensive, personalized health care and counseling to these patients while reducing the burden on emergency departments.