Even before we found ourselves in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, I knew that investing in our healthcare system and building a world-class wellness infrastructure would be an essential part of our growth and development as a County. That is why I am so proud to announce that a regional partnership of hospitals in Prince George’s County and surrounding jurisdictions has been awarded two multimillion-dollar grants from the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) that will play a key role in building a healthcare system that will serve the residents of Prince George’s County for generations to come.
The first grant includes nearly $23 million to increase behavioral health (mental health and substance use disorder) services in Prince George’s County, the second-largest amount awarded in the State by the HSCRC, and the largest behavioral health award to any single County. The grant will allow the County to expand its mobile crisis teams, reducing response times when they are needed for behavioral health crises.
Other activities that will be funded through the behavioral health grant include technological enhancements to the Crisis Call Center, the implementation of wraparound care coordination services for high-risk individuals, the creation of a crisis receiving and stabilization center where individuals can receive timely care coordinated by behavioral health professionals, and transportation services through the mobile crisis teams and taxi/rideshare services to help residents access behavioral health resources.
The second grant includes more than $7 million to enhance diabetes care and prevention in Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties. The grant was awarded in part due to the successful implementation of the PreventionLink program through the Prince George’s County Health Department, which integrates clinical practice with evidence-based public health programs to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes in people at risk. This program is also bringing together stakeholders in chronic disease care with a shared goal of reducing the burden of diabetes, hypertension, and stroke in underserved areas.
The grant itself provides funding for the expansion and support of additional DPPs (diabetes prevention programs) and DSMT (diabetic self-management training) programs, many of which are community-based. The grant also provides funding for outreach to clinical providers to support electronic referrals to prevention programs and train them in new screening guidelines to better measure pre-diabetes, as well as outreach to patients through a social marketing campaign for screening and education on chronic disease. Finally, funding is provided to increase wraparound services for patients, including help with transportation to healthcare appointments, financial support for the purchase of prescriptions, and assistance to apply for health benefits.