On February 28, 160 family members, advocates, legislators and their staff gathered in the Miller Senate Office Building for MCF’s 17th
Annual Family Day in Annapolis. Families traveled from 20 of Maryland’s counties and Baltimore City to be part of the day.
During the morning session, Dr. Al Zachik, the Director of the Child and Adolescent Division of the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration stressed: "Your voice is so, so, so important. We need to hear your concerns on the state level.” He also thanked attendees for making the significant effort to get to Annapolis (some people caught their bus as early as 5:00 am).
Later, Senator Guy Guzzone addressed those gathered and discussed legislation that he has sponsored this session. The Keep the Door Open Act (HB 580/SB 476) would index behavioral health provider rates to medical inflation in order to alleviate the shortage of mental health and substance use treatment providers, long waiting lists, and frequent turnover of staff. Senator Guzzone also explained his bill that would designate monies from the Cigarette Restitution Fund for the establishment of a Behavioral Health Treatment Account, with priority given to substance use treatment services (HB 541/SB 474).
Following the morning program, families visited elected officials from 27 legislative districts to share their personal stories and advocate for behavioral health.
Special thanks to all the families who joined us!