LEONARDTOWN, Md. (March 31, 2014) Today, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown was joined by health care representatives, domestic violence advocates, community members, and state and local officials to announce the launch of a new Hospital-Based Domestic Violence Program at MedStar St. Marys Hospital (MSMH) in St. Marys County. MSMH is receiving nearly $40,000 in State funds through the Governors Office of Crime Control & Prevention to support the new program.
The MSMH program is Marylands ninth hospital-based domestic violence program designed to meet the goals of the Governors 2010 Executive Order, The Maryland Domestic Violence Health Care Screening and Response Initiative. In four years, the Administration has doubled the number of hospital-based domestic violence programs in the state, an effort led by Lt. Governor Brown. As outlined by the Executive Order, the programs aim to identify victims at an early stage in the cycle of domestic violence and extend comprehensive services to prevent future physical and emotional injury. Similar programs are currently in place in the Baltimore region at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Sinai Hospital and Northwest Hospital, as well as Prince Georges Hospital Center and Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown. In October, the Lt. Governor announced the eighth program at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia.
"Over the past seven years, we've driven Maryland's domestic violence rates to new lows by going after abusers and expanding services to victims, but we still have work to do," said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown. "By establishing our state's ninth hospital based domestic violence program here at MedStar St. Mary's Hospital, we're taking another step forward to strengthen communities and build a brighter future for all of our families."
Established in 1912, MSMH is a 95-bed, full-service hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care. The new MSMH Domestic Violence program provides enhanced training for nurses and emergency department personnel, as well as improved screening, referral, and documentation of domestic violence victims. The grant from the State, which began in October 2013, was partially used to hire a part-time Domestic Violence Program Coordinator, responsible for overseeing the training and referral process. The remainder of the funding is being used to purchase a Variable light source camera that allows for increased evaluation and documentation of strangulation victims, aiding in evidence collection. In the first quarter since the start of the grant, the Hospital has begun staff training and has seen five victims, including one strangulation case.
We are pleased to have this opportunity. This initiative further enhances our hospital and our countys best-practices collaborative services and support for victims of domestic violence. We are excited to be able to provide this connection at MedStar St. Marys Hospital, said Hospital President Christine Wray.
In response to the 2010 Executive Order, the Governors Office of Crime Control & Prevention and the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission made state funds available for Hospital-Based Domestic Violence Programs. Private sector partners have also committed private/non-profit funds to support select programs. MSMH has also been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Weinberg Foundation to support their new program.
"GOCCP recognizes that hospitals play a key role in combating domestic violence in Maryland. For victims, hospitals provide a safe, neutral location where they can receive assistance. Offering a domestic violence program in this setting helps to identify victims, link them to critical services, and save lives," said Tammy Brown, Executive Director, Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention.
"Working hand-in-hand with law enforcement, government, and local service providers is an important step in the fight against domestic violence," said Sheriff Timothy Cameron. "This new program at MedStar St. Mary's Hospital is a vital component of a partnership that will quickly connect victims with the support and resources they need."
Source: Press Office of Lt. Governor Anthony Brown