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Carroll County expanding behavioral health services; Sykesville Recovery Support will offer beds for treatment, triage

Edwin Singer, moving into his new office, is the new Health Officer for the Carroll County Health Department.
Edwin Singer, moving into his new office, is the new Health Officer for the Carroll County Health Department. (KEN KOONSSTAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

People who want to overcome substance abuse will soon have another safe place to rest their heads at night in Carroll County while they wait to begin treatment.

The Carroll County Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved a $497,715 contract with Maryland Treatment Centers Inc. to bring treatment services to the Carroll County Recovery Support Program facility in Sykesville, according to Ed Singer, county health officer.

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When the program is fully implemented — by Oct. 1 — there will be 38 treatment beds and 10 triage beds at the 7295 Buttercup Road facility, Singer said.

“This is a life-saving measure,” Singer said in an interview.

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The facility has provided housing and case management for people in recovery before they went elsewhere for treatment, Singer said, but now they’ll be able to get those services and more in one place. The Recovery Support Program building first opened as a treatment facility, but treatment services were discontinued due to high costs about 10 years ago, Singer wrote in an email.

The triage beds are the most important part of the change, in Singer’s mind, as they will be for people who are in crisis and want to enter treatment but need to wait for a spot to open up, he said. Without triage beds, if there is no opening in a treatment facility, a person may be told to come back in a few days, which runs the risk of them changing their mind or overdosing, Singer said.

“If somebody decides that they want to get into treatment on Monday and there’s not a treatment slot available for them until Thursday, we want to give them a safe place to be so they don’t go back and use again," Singer told the commissioners.

The triage beds are intended to be for short-term stays of five to 10 days, until a slot opens up, according to Singer. The beds will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Singer said. While someone is staying in a triage bed they will be connected to a case manager and peer support specialist to develop a treatment plan, according to Singer.

The contract term is two years, starting Oct. 1, and comes with the option of three one-year extensions, according to an agenda document. The Carroll County Health Department received the State Opioid Response Grant, which will cover the first year of the contract and is expected to be renewed for the second year, Singer wrote in an email. After the contract ends, it would be up to the commissioners to decide whether to continue funding, said Christine Kay, director of Citizen Services.

The county will provide $135,000 for startup costs, which is a one-time expense, the document states. Those costs include replacing equipment and furnishings that are necessary for accreditation, Singer wrote in an email.

The contract includes hiring four new nurses, four peer support specialists, a case manager, and in-house meal service, according to Kay. Singer said the staff will also work at the Shoemaker Center, 6655 Sykesville Road, which already has 22 beds for treatment.

“We need to resource our community to continue to fight the battle against this problem," Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said at the meeting.

Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, praised the health department for making this change, which he said has been a goal for years.

“If someone wants to go into treatment today and there’s no place to put them, they might not be ready for tomorrow," Frazier noted.

Four triage beds are already in place at the Buttercup Road facility, according to Singer. If someone wants to start treatment, they can call the Health Department at 410-876-2152 or go to Access Carroll Integrated Health Care to get a referral, Singer said.

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