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New Emergency Psychiatric Unit Opens at Howard County General Hospital

For Immediate Release
February 5, 2007

Columbia, MD – In opening the new Psychiatric Emergency Unit, Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine is providing for the growing mental health needs of its community. Over the past two years, the hospital has experienced a dramatic increase in emergency psychiatric evaluations. Until the opening of the new unit on Wednesday, February 7, the psychiatric patients are being treated in the main Emergency Department.

The new facility is a separate, secure unit that is specially designed and staffed to treat up to 10 patients in need of mental health services. The new unit enhances access, safety and quality of patient care. “The privacy and security provided by the new unit is a welcome change for patients and staff,” said Dr. Joseph Schwartz, medical director of the Howard County General Hospital Psychiatric Department. “The calming environment of the new unit supports treating patients during what is usually a difficult time for them.” The hospital also has provides inpatient psychiatric services in a 20-bed psychiatric unit.

The psychiatric emergency unit is located in a newly constructed 1,920 square foot addition to the hospital’s main Emergency Department. The $775,000 project was funded in part by a grant from the Maryland Hospital Association Hospital Bond Project Review Program, a grant from the Horizon Foundation, and the hospital’s working capital.

“We are pleased to have the support of the entire Howard County community for this important project,” said Victor A. Broccolino, president and CEO of Howard County General Hospital. “In working together on this and similar projects, we can ensure our patients receive the best possible care.”

Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine since 1998 is a 208-bed, not-for-profit, health care provider located in Columbia, Maryland. Serving the community since 1973, the hospital, with a professional staff of more than 800 physicians and allied health professionals, representing 67 specialties and subspecialties, and a workforce of nearly 1,700, has grown into a comprehensive, acute-care medical center that treats a full range of conditions from neonatal care to oncology and outpatient care to critical care.