HEALTH OFFICIALS HELD IN CONTEMPT: A Baltimore circuit judge is holding Maryland’s acting health secretary and other top Health Department officials in contempt of court and ordering them to open dozens of beds at state psychiatric hospitals by the end of the year. Pamela Wood reports in the Sun that the judge ruled Thursday that acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader and his top staff had failed to follow court orders to place criminal defendants in state psychiatric hospitals. In some cases, the judge said, mentally ill defendants have languished in jails for weeks waiting for a bed at a state hospital.
The judge gave Schrader until Dec. 31 to fully staff and admit patients to a 20-bed unit at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup, Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville and a third facility, to be selected in consultation with the state director of hospitals, that would also accommodate 20 inmates in need of psychiatric treatment, Ovetta Wiggins and Ellie Silverman report for the Post.
Schrader, speaking to reporters after the hearing, said he has been “very sensitive to this issue” since taking over in December, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. “We are following the recommendations issued by (former Health Secretary Van Mitchell) last August,” Schrader said. “I’ve been driving the staff.”
LAWS TAKE EFFECT SUNDAY: On Sunday, Oct. 1, dozens of new laws will take effect in Maryland affecting everything from public health and addiction to the environment, ethics and the handling of sex abuse and animal cruelty cases. Capital News Service and MarylandReporter pull it together.
STOP STUDYING, JUST HELP: In an op-ed for the Sun, state Sen. Mac Middleton writes that “when Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the General Assembly’s paid sick leave bill last May, he announced the creation of a task force to “better understand access to paid leave policies. Here’s the issue: what the governor is suggesting has already been done. … For two years, I personally reached out to Governor Hogan to join these conversations – and the governor and members of his administration never accepted the offer to meet with us. Since then, Governor Hogan’s so-called task force has gone nowhere fast.”