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Western Maryland Health System opens Behavioral Health Emergency Department

June 20th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

Adding to their already extensive behavioral health support services program, Western Maryland Health System will officially open its latest addition, a Behavioral Health Emergency Department, during the week of June 24.

    The new BHED will feature eight patient rooms constructed as a safe space for its occupants, as well as specialized equipment and an open nursing station allowing for therapeutic interaction with staff. All ages – including adolescents – will be eligible for admittance, and a protected entry system will separate the facility from the WMHS Emergency Department.

    The new addition was built to provide a secure environment for care and treatment of patients with behavioral health emergencies, including opioid abuse and addiction issues. In 2017, 413 overdose patients were treated at the WMHS ED; 266 of which were opioid related. In 2018, those numbers decreased to 347 and 224 respectively.

   “Opening the Behavioral Health Emergency Department is the next component in the collaborative effort that Western Maryland Health System has spearheaded to provide cutting edge treatment for behavioral health patients,” said Barry Ronan, WMHS President and CEO. “The results of all the thoughtful departmental efforts and facility upgrades will go a long way as WMHS continues to be at the forefront of treatment for patients suffering from opioid addiction and abuse.”

    “We are trying to do it differently,” said James Karstetter Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer. “It’s a collective and collaborative plan that has been put together to help understand the needs of the patients.” The new BHU will feature increased security, safety and staffing. “These patients will be cared for in a specialized care area designed specifically for behavioral health needs,” Karstetter said.

   The Western Maryland Health System Behavioral Health Emergency Department is located at 12500 Willowbrook Road and is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. For more information, log on to


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