HAGERSTOWN, MD- Mental health is an integral part of overall health – a sentiment many share as they work to educate and expand awareness about emotional and behavioral health conditions. As local health providers consider better opportunities to support the total health of patients and as the demand for mental health services continues to climb in our community and in Maryland, Brook Lane and Meritus Health are looking at ways an expanded partnership might allow for enhanced access to services within the tristate region and across the state of Maryland, and provide patients with more coordinated care between primary care, specialist and mental health providers.
“Meritus Health and Brook Lane have a long tradition of partnering in our community to support the health needs of our neighbors. As we continue to look at the increased demand for high-quality and accessible mental, emotional and behavioral health care in our community and across our state, we see the strong value in two community organizations, who share similar values, working more closely together,” said Meritus Health President and CEO, Maulik Joshi, Dr.PH.
Joshi said Meritus Health and Brook Lane have successfully partnered on many initiatives. In September 2023, the health providers worked together to open a mental health urgent care on the Meritus Health Campus off Robinwood Drive in Hagerstown. Further, to improve the integration and coordination of patient care, especially for those with mental health needs at Meritus Medical Center, there is an ongoing initiative to align our electronic health records systems for interoperability, resulting in seamless and connected healthcare services.
“We looked at the need in our community and across our state and found a way to share resources in order to quickly support that need,” Joshi said. “We understand the strength in working together, and are excited to consider the opportunities for our patients if we take our partnership to a higher level.”
Joshi noted that the next steps forward in exploring this partnership include a period of formal due diligence, the development of a definitive agreement, and regulatory review. He and Brook Lane CEO Jeffery D. O’Neal, MBA, LCPC, FACHE have been considering how they can utilize the strengths of their respective organizations to better fill the current and future mental health needs across the region and the state.
“Meritus and Brook Lane share community-centric values and a vision for making our neighbors healthier,” O’Neal said. “By considering a formal partnership with Meritus, we would be ensuring that access to mental health care continues, and we are combining the talents and dedication of our great teams.”
Joshi and O’Neal agreed they would be transparent with the community about progress towards this partnership, sharing updates with the public and highlighting timeframes as they become available. At present, they expect the partnership could take form over the summer when the Due Diligence process is complete and if approved by both Boards.