A Week In Business – February 19, 2021

Partnership Created On Behavioral Health

SALISBURY — The Tri-County Behavioral Health Engagement (TRIBE) has recently been announced as a newly formed collaboration and regional partnership between TidalHealth Peninsula Regional, Atlantic General Hospital and nine behavioral health community partner agencies. The immediate goal is to design behavioral health crisis stabilization centers, or behavioral health urgent care centers.

“TRIBE originated from a community partners group that met monthly for about a year with the mission of working together to identify gaps in behavioral health services in the tri-county area, with the goal of not duplicating services and working together to address unmet needs,” said Katherine Smith, Executive Director of TidalHealth Behavioral Health Services. “A grant opportunity gave TRIBE the ability to establish a regional partnership and obtain the resources to address of the community’s biggest identified gaps – namely accessing behavioral health care in a crisis in real time.”

TRIBE’s primary function is a three-county centralized response to reduce emergency department utilization, hospital admissions and readmissions for individuals experiencing behavioral health issues. In addition, the partnership will increase collaboration with community behavioral health and crisis agencies, including law enforcement, eliminate duplication of services and increase opportunities to help patients experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

On the Lower Shore, these behavioral health crisis centers are desperately needed. Currently, individuals who need emergent behavioral health care must either wait for an appointment with a community agency provider or go to their hospital’s local emergency room; neither of these scenarios is ideal.

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“When opened later this year, individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis will be able to have their needs met in real time, to feel relief sooner and hopefully avoid needing higher levels of care,” said Tina Simmons, Director of Nursing for Atlantic General Health System. “These centers will play an integral part in the larger continuum of care of behavioral health services currently in operation in our communities.”

The two crisis centers will essentially serve as behavioral health urgent care centers where individuals can receive crisis respite, observation and intervention in a warm, friendly, homelike community setting.

The primary site, which will be near TidalHealth Peninsula Regional in Salisbury, will be open seven days a week with extended hours and feature a safe, home-like environment. A satellite site near Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin will initially welcome patients six days a week with plans to expand to seven days a week.

A warm and seamless handoff for follow up care and services with community providers will be arranged that day or the next. Those community provider partners include Lower Shore Clinic, Resource Recovery Center, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), Sante Mobile Crisis, Life Crisis Center, Chesapeake Health Services and the health departments of Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties.

While TidalHealth Peninsula Regional and Atlantic General Hospital are the lead agencies for this endeavor, the nine identified community agencies will be integral to its success, which in turn could result in additional partners in following years.

Community partners will play an integral role in developing procedures and protocols and operating the centers. They’ll aid in the coordinated response to individuals in crisis by ensuring a seamless warm handoff for continued patient care.

At both locations, behavioral health care providers will seek to relieve immediate crisis symptoms, provide observation, determine levels of care and deflect from unnecessary higher levels of care, like hospital admission. Individuals will be triaged, linked with peer support, and offered brief crisis counseling, medication management services to include psychiatric and substance abuse as appropriate, care navigation and coordination of health needs.

Some of the offered services may be completed via telehealth as needed to share resources between sites or as necessitated by the ongoing pandemic. Law enforcement and EMS may transport patients to the center, if allowable by state regulations.

The Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) Regional Partnership Catalyst Grant program approved five years of funding at just over $11 million. Work has already started on this project. It’s hoped these centers will be open by late summer/early fall 2021.

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Power Outages Decrease

SALISBURY — Delmarva Power customers across Delaware and Maryland are continuing to experience improvements in the reliability of their energy service, a result of the company’s ongoing efforts to modernize the local energy grid and support customers and communities through the pandemic. The frequency of power outages matched the company’s record performance in 2019, which was a 9 percent decrease from the previous low set in 2018. Over the past ten years, energy system upgrades and new innovative technologies have reduced the frequency of electric outages by 53 percent for Delmarva Power customers and communities.

“We are committed to providing the best possible service for our customers,” said Tyler Anthony, senior vice president & COO of Pepco Holdings, which includes Delmarva Power. “Tying our all-time low for customer power outages in 2020 is a testament to the ongoing hard work and dedication of our employees to meet this commitment during an especially challenging year when our customers needed us most. With more adults working from home and children learning virtually, we are focused on continuing to provide the reliable energy service they depend on and powering our communities through this pandemic.”

Each day, work is performed across Delmarva Power’s service area as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to further improve reliability for customers. This work includes inspecting existing infrastructure, trimming trees that could potentially impact the system, building new substations and new underground equipment, and strengthening transmission and distribution lines. The company also is installing innovative technologies to improve system reliability, such as specialized equipment that can automatically restore service more quickly or isolate damage. These new technologies have been a main driver behind the continued reduction in the frequency of outages customers experience.

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City Purchases Building

SALISBURY — NAI Coastal Principal Joey Gilkerson announced the City of Salisbury’s purchase of Truitt Street Community Center, a 5,000-square-foot building located at 319 Truitt Street in Salisbury. Gilkerson worked with the city transform the former warehouse into a recreation center for local youth, which ultimately led to their acquisition in January 2021.

Prior to purchasing, the city leased the property beginning in 2017. NAI Coastal Advisor Christian Phillips and Tonney Insley of SVN Miller Commercial Real Estate collaborated to co-broker the lease.

“When the City approached us with their plans, we knew that we had the tools in place to help bring their vision to life,” said Gilkerson. “Our development partnership allows us to reach beyond the typical offerings of a standard brokerage to provide our clients with qualified insight into renovation feasibility, cost estimation and completion timelines. In this case, we not only identified the property and brokered the transaction, but also acted as the City’s developer and contractor for the Truitt Street project.”