The state plans to open its sixth hospital-based domestic violence program in Hagerstown, officials said today.
Other programs have been opened in Baltimore-area hospitals and this will be the first in Western Maryland, according to Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who has worked to expand programs since 2008 when his cousin was killed in 2008 by an estranged boyfriend.
He joined advocates and officials in announcing the program at Meritus Medical Center., which will be funded with $50,000 in state grant money and $16,000 from CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield for the first year.
The programs are the result of an executive order by the governor in 2010 to encourage expanded dometics violence services at health care facilities in the state. That includes screening patients, training health care staff and providing resources to victims of abuse.
The other programs are at Anne Arundel Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Sinai Hospital and Northwest Hospital in the Baltimore area and at Prince George's Hospital Center in Prince George's Hospital Center.
Washington County has experienced an uptick in incidence of domestic violence with nine fatalities since 2006 and a 12.5 percent increase in reports from 2010 to 2011, officials said. The rate, according to a 2011 state report, shows that domestic violence related admission to the emergency department were 67.8 per 100,000 county residents.
Brown reported that domestic violence death in the state are down 41 percent in the past three years.
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