Baltimore City Officials Announce Certification of 11 City Hospitals Under Levels of Care Initiative


BALTIMORE (December 19, 2018) — Today, Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Baltimore City Interim Health Commissioner Mary Beth Haller joined the leadership of Baltimore City hospitals to announce the certification of 11 hospitals under the City’s Levels of Care Initiative focused on institutions implementing and recognizing best practices for responding to the opioid epidemic.

The Levels of Care initiative involves identifying best practices for responding to the opioid epidemic. Developed with active input from hospitals, the levels were scored on numerous evidence-based criteria, such as hospitals’ ability to provide treatment to patients who screen positive for a substance use disorder, distribute naloxone to patients, and ensure physicians are prescribing opioids judiciously. The levels are one through three—with Level 1 demonstrating the most comprehensive response. Two hospitals received a Level 1 certification, five hospitals received a Level 2 certification, and four hospitals received a Level 3 certification.

So far two hospitals (University of Maryland Medical Center, University of Maryland Medical Center-Midtown Campus) are certified level one; five meet level two qualifications (Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center; MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital); and four received level three certification (Bon Secours Hospital, Sinai Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, Saint Agnes Hospital).

“Like cities across the nation, Baltimore is working tirelessly to stem the opioid crisis and provide critical treatment for those in the grip of addiction and enable them to return to productive lives,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “I am grateful to the leadership of our Health Department and our hospital partners which is resulting in new approaches for sustained treatment. We know that the casualties are not just the addicted but their family members, friends and in fact our entire community. We are committed to aggressively pursuing sustainable solutions to this health epidemic.”  

Baltimore City has approached the opioid crisis aggressively with many innovative programs and initiatives, including issuing a standing order that provides a blanket prescription of naloxone to all City residents; launching the state’s first Stabilization Center; piloting a program allowing those arrested for low-level drug offenses to choose treatment over incarceration (L.E.A.D.); and targeting outreach and naloxone distribution to overdose “hotspots.”

“Hospitals alone cannot end this epidemic, but it cannot be ended without them,” said Mary Beth Haller. “Addiction is a disease and treatment exists. Today, hospitals have shown they are willing and able to be a part of this fight. They are helping to make Baltimore City a national model for treating addiction alongside every other disease. For many Baltimore City residents, treatment begins in a traditional health care institution, including hospitals, and their involvement is critical.”

Through the Health Department’s convenings, with dedicated leadership of hospitals, funding from the state and federal governments, and expertise of the Mosaic Group, Baltimore’s hospitals have implemented interventions such as medication-assisted treatment in emergency departments, peer recovery specialists, and screenings, brief interventions, and referrals to treatment.


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