Mayor Pugh Joins Partners to Revitalize Healthcare Services in West Baltimore

BALTIMORE, MD.  — Behavioral Health System Baltimore (BHSB), along with its partners the Mayor’s Office, the Baltimore City Health Department and Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation, began renovations to the Hebrew Orphan Asylum (HOA) with a renovation launch ceremony on Friday, March 8.

When complete, the renovated building will be the permanent home to the Maryland Crisis Stabilization Center, a place for people to receive short-term crisis stabilization and sobering services for people under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When the center moves to the HOA it will be able to serve up to 35 individuals at a time. The goal is to ease the burden on the city’s emergency rooms while connecting patients to medical and social services that will aid in their recovery. The center has been operating as a pilot program at Tuerk House, a substance use treatment facility located next to the Hebrew Orphan Asylum.  

“This innovative approach to treating those in the grip of addiction will give hope to them, to their loved ones and our City,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “We are delighted to partner with Behavioral Health System Baltimore, the State of Maryland Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation to transform this piece of our city’s history into a modern-day health care resource for the community. Improving the health of our communities across our communities necessitates providing a path for those held back by crippling addiction. This new Stabilization Center will do just that.”

Across the state, emergency department admissions for drug and alcohol have been steadily increasing over the past several years. In Baltimore City, there are over 16,000 visits to EDs for alcohol and/or drug related diagnoses annually with more than 50 percent of those visits by Medicaid recipients.

“The Stabilization Center provides an alternative to costly hospital services by effectively diverting people  to care in the community,” said Crista M. Taylor, president and CEO of BHSB. “We are already seeing positive results for people coming through the pilot program. This innovative approach promotes recovery and resiliency, by  linking people with substance use disorders to treatment and support services that will help them in their recovery. We are excited to see such an important part of our city’s history become the new home of the Stabilization Center.”

The Hebrew Orphan Asylum has served as an anchor in the Greater Rosemont community for more than 100 years. Originally built in 1876 as an orphanage, the building eventually became part of West Baltimore General Hospital. It has been vacant since 1876. Coppin Heights CDC and its development partners – will undertake the $17 million-dollar renovation.
The renovated building will also lease space to other medical service providers, bringing much needed medical and social services to the Greater Rosemont community. The project is scheduled to be complete in spring 2019.

"So many people in West Baltimore have a connection to this building, we knew we had to preserve it," said Dr. Gary Rodwell, executive director of Coppin Heights CDC. "For years, we've had this vision of restoring the Asylum, providing better access to medical services for the residents of Coppin Heights and improving the health and well-being of our community. We are thrilled to finally see that vision become a reality."


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