DHMH Releases Report on Continuity of Care
for the Seriously Mentally Ill
Baltimore, MD (January 21, 2014) -- The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has released the report of the Continuity of Care Advisory Panel. At the direction of Governor O’Malley, the Department convened the advisory panel – which included state and national behavioral health experts, consumers and stakeholders – to make recommendations to strengthen Maryland’s public behavioral health service delivery system, improve health outcomes, and address deficiencies that lead to interruptions in care for individuals with serious mental illness.
Studies have shown that interruptions in treatment for individuals with serious mental illness – which includes conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression – can delay recovery, and that, in rare instances, untreated mental illness can contribute to dangerous behavior.
The Advisory Panel convened four stakeholder workgroups, each to examine a particular barrier to care – economic, social, legal and clinical – and report their findings to the broader Advisory Panel.
Members of the public were invited to serve on the workgroups and had the opportunity to present data, reports, and information to the Advisory Panel. The Advisory Panel considered the expertise and recommendations of the workgroups when developing its final recommendations.
In total, the Panel’s report offers 25 recommendations to address deficiencies to continuity of care in the following areas: (1) accessibility of mental health records; (2) services to address the needs of individuals with serious mental illness; (3) workforce training; (4) mental health literacy; (5) additional
areas for research; (6) delegated decision making; (7) services for court-involved individuals; and (8) involuntary commitment.