Former Howard County Executive, Ken Ulman, signed an Executive Order on June 11, 2014 to develop a Howard County Task Force to assist in the development of a Comprehensive Behavioral Health Action Plan for the county. Composed of 31 members, the Task Force is co-chaired by Donna Wells, Executive Director of the Howard County Mental Health Authority and Nikki Highsmith Vernick from the Horizon Foundation and includes representatives from Howard County General Hospital, various county agencies, as well as health care providers, the faith community and advocacy organizations. The task force had its first meeting on October 8, 2014, and is to deliver recommendations to the county by April 1, 2015. The Task Force is charged with the following mission:
- To understand the roles played by all community partners in providing ongoing support for individuals with mental illness as well as in reducing the frequency and intensity of mental health crises;
- To identify gaps in the continuum of care. These services may include but are not limited to consistent access to outpatient treatment and psychiatric services, as well as critical supportive services such as wrap-around stabilizing services, peer support services, community re-entry support post discharge from detention center, housing, employment and case management.
- To identify synergies and strategies to maximize return on existing investments in this area as well as to understand where additional funding or support, both public and private, should be directed in the future; and
- To develop an action plan with policy, program and funding recommendations to enable the implementation of a preventative and recovery-oriented continuum of care for both Howard County adults and children.
In the early meetings, the Task Force formed four sub-committees: Criminal Justice Subcommittee (click here for meeting minutes) Primary Care Work Group (click here for meeting minutes) Screening and Prevention Work Group (click here for meeting minutes) Super Users Work Group (click here for meeting minutes)
The BHTF Steering Committee presented the final report to the County Executive on March 27, 2015. To view the report, click here.