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Close to Home: How Meritus & Brook Lane team up for the community

Finding hope after the storm - we could not have a selected a better sky to show the hope represented in our Mental Health Walk-in Care clinic. It's an opportunity to provide the right level of care to our neighbors - and one that is possible due to a partnership with Brook Lane Health Services. On the most recent edition of Close to Home, our President and CEO. Maulik Joshi, Dr.P.H,. and Brook Lane's CEO, Jeffrey O'Neal discuss the opening of the center and its vital need in the community. Click here to listen!


Meritus Today

Take your best shot at enjoying the season by staying healthy

Autumn has officially arrived, and it brought along those cool, crisp temperatures we all love. But you know what else comes with this season? The start of viral illness season! At Meritus Health, we're not here to rain on your autumnal parade, but we are here to keep you safe, healthy and in the know. Our experts follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that everyone aged 6 months and older should have an updated flu and COVD vaccines. Those 60 and older should talk to their healthcare provider to see if RSV vaccination is right for them. We know that no one likes shots, but here's the deal: This simple yet oh-so-significant step can be your secret weapon against the flu. It'll shrink your chances of a flu-filled fiasco, keep you far away from hospital beds. As we dive into the cozy months of fall and winter, remember, it's all about staying in tip-top shape and having some viral fun without the viruses. Get that flu shot and keep those germs at bay. Meritus Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anand Budi shared some strategies to help you stay healthy: · Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against certain viral illnesses like the flu. Ensure that you and your family members are up to date on vaccinations, including the seasonal flu vaccine. · Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public places, touching surfaces that may be contaminated, and before eating. · Try to maintain physical distance from people who are sick, and if you are feeling unwell, consider staying home to prevent spreading illness to others. · Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of tissues properly. · Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as this can introduce viruses into your body if your hands are contaminated. Remember that while these strategies can help reduce your risk of getting sick, it's impossible to eliminate all risks entirely. In the coming weeks, be on the lookout for information on our upcoming COVID vaccine clinics – a chance to make it super easy to keep those vaccinations current. You can also find the latest, up-to-date information on the flu season, viral illnesses, testing, treatment, and vaccination at please visit MeritusHealth.com/Viralillness.          


Upcoming Events

Meritus Health recognizes National Recovery Month

In 1989, the month of September became officially known as National Recovery Month. A time to highlight the nation’s strong and proud recovery community, and raise awareness that recovery, in all forms, is possible. In September 2023, Meritus Health took a significant step in bringing services to the region to help aid in the recovery process by opening two dedicated facilities – a walk-in mental health clinic and an expanded inpatient crisis center. The Mental Health Walk-In Care facility is conveniently located at Meritus Medical Center 11116 Medical Campus Road, Hagerstown, MD. Patients must enter through the Orange/Mental Wellness Entrance on campus. The development of the Mental Health Walk-In Care facility falls in line with the health system’s mission to "Improve the Health of the Community." Meritus partnered with Brook Lane Health Services to provide support for patients aged 6 years old and older. “Our collaboration with Brook Lane is a key part of this project. Together, we recognize the importance of addressing mental health challenges in our community,” said Allen Twigg, executive director of community and behavioral health.  “This partnership allows us to combine expertise, resources and dedication to promptly treat mental health needs, and provide a path to ongoing care. Our shared goal is to foster long-term mental well-being for our community,” he added. In addition to the Mental Health Walk-In Care facility, the health system also expanded the Meritus Crisis Center program from three beds to six. This is an inpatient unit designed to support individuals aged 18 and older who are struggling with addiction.  The Meritus Crisis Center builds upon a successful pilot initiative that offered three crisis stabilization beds. During the pilot, Meritus achieved an impressive 82% linkage rate with treatment upon discharge. The unit provides a safe environment for individuals struggling with substance abuse while they await a treatment program. “We understand the profound challenges posed by addiction and aim to provide a safe and supportive environment for recovery,” Twigg said. According to Meritus Health’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), a concerning trend was indicated -- a steady increase in drug overdose fatalities in Washington County over the last decade, at a rate higher than the state average. The CHNA is a systematic process and report that examines the health concerns in a particular area.  “This underscores the urgency of our efforts to expand mental health services and addiction support,” Twigg said. The opening of the Mental Health Walk-In Care facility, along with the expansion of the Meritus Crisis Center, represents a represents a significant step forward in improving access to timely and effective behavioral health care.  “Our dedicated team is committed to supporting the well-being of our community and ensuring that everyone has access to the care they need,” Twigg said. For more information on these services and how they can benefit you or your loved ones, please visit MeritusHealth.com/MentalHealth.

Ribbon cutting for Mental Health Walk-In Care, Meritus Crisis Center

Leaders from Meritus Health, Brook Lane Health Services and state and local representatives gathered to celebrate the opening of the Mental Health Walk-In Care facility and expansion of the Meritus Crisis Center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the health system’s campus, Monday, Sept. 25, 2023.  These are two distinct services for the Washington County community. The Meritus Crisis Center supports patients struggling with addiction as they seek long-term treatment. The Mental Health Walk-In Care is open to patients aged six years and older who can come, without an appointment, for immediate mental health care. Proclamations from the Washington County Government, the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and from Sen. Paul Corderman (R-Washington/Frederick) were presented to Meritus and Brook Lane along with thankful words for the critically needed services. For more information on these important services visit MeritusHealth.com/MentalHealth.


Healthy Washington County