HOGAN SEEKS CUT IN INMATE WAIT FOR MENTAL HEALTH CARE: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Thursday that he plans to work “very closely” with the stateDepartment of Health and Mental Hygiene to reduce the state wait list for mentally ill inmates of local jails to receive treatment in the state’s psychiatric hospitals, reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post.
The editorial board for the Sun opines that while increasing the number of beds for the mentally ill might alleviate the current backup — as recently as 2012 a consultant suggested adding 216 beds — it would cost the state millions of dollars (chiefly to pay the salaries of around-the-clock medical and security staff) that might better be spent elsewhere. That’s because the backup isn’t just about the number of beds available but about a system that doesn’t use existing resources efficiently.
MORE STAFF SOUGHT AT FACILITIES: State workers and their union called on the Hogan administration Thursday to hire more staff and improve training at mental health care facilities, pointing to injuries employees have suffered as a result of assaults by patients, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.
FENTANYL DEATHS RISE: Overdose deaths from the powerful synthetic opioid that killed rock legend Prince in April increased 83% in Maryland last year, according to the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Josh Hicks of the Post reports that the latest data on Maryland overdose deaths, which the department released Thursday, showed 340 fentanyl-related fatalities in 2015, compared with 186 the previous year.