In January, Lt. Governor Rutherford announced Executive Order 01.01.2019.02, signed by Governor Hogan, establishing the Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health in Maryland. The Commission has been tasked with studying mental health in Maryland, including access to mental health services and the link between mental health issues and substance use disorders. The Commission will advise and assist the Governor with improving access to a continuum of services, with an interim report due July 10 and a final report due December 31. The final report will recommend policy, regulations or legislation to improve the crisis response system and ensure parity of resources to meet mental health needs.
The Commission will be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Rutherford and will include representatives from each branch of state government, representatives from the state departments of Health, Public Safety and Correctional Services, and Human Services, as well as the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Insurance Administration, the Opioid Operational Command Center, and six members of the public with experience related to mental health. The Maryland Children’s Behavioral Health Coalition (in which the MPS participates) has raised concern that this composition appears focused on the adult system and recommends that at least one of the commissioners appointed from the public have experience with the children’s behavioral health system. The coalition’s letter to Governor Hogan also suggests adding representatives from the state departments of Education and Juvenile Services.