Department Blog - December 2018

Posted 12/21/2018 by Linda Kesselring

UMMC's Opioid Task Forces Recognized by Mayor

At a press conference held at Baltimore’s City Hall on December 19, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that the University of Maryland Medical Center’s midtown and downtown campuses have been awarded “Level 1” status, the highest certification in the city’s efforts toward addressing the opioid epidemic. The city’s Levels of Care initiative assesses 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. Of the 11 hospitals assessed, UMMC and Midtown were the only two in the top tier of readiness and resources to offer comprehensive and timely treatment to ED patients struggling with opioid addiction."

Zachary D.W. Dezman, MD, MS, MS, chair of Midtown’s Opioid Task Force, noted that “a staggering 70% of patients who come to our EDs for care are struggling with addiction, behavioral health problems, or both. About one in every 50 patients treated at Midtown's ED is suffering from an overdose of some kind. We offer patients resources to put them on a path toward healing, including dispensing naloxone to those at high risk for overdose and providing peer recovery support services. Those peers can link patients with substance abuse problems to inpatient treatment programs within hours.”

UMMC’s Opioid Task Force is co-chaired by Christopher Welsh, MD, and R. Gentry Wilkerson, MD. Attendees at the Wednesday morning press conference included Reginald Brown, MD, ED Director, Bon Secours; Michael Jablonover, MD, MBA, CMO and Senior Vice President of UMMC; Mary Beth Haller, interim Baltimore Health Commissioner; and Alison Brown, MPH, President of UMMC’s Midtown Campus.