MedStar Health Expands Behavioral Health Services with New Center

November 10, 2016

MedStar Harbor Hospital Site Designed to Meet Growing Need

BALTIMORE—(November 10, 2016)In 33,000 square feet of sunlit space that includes aqua tones, comfort rooms, and clear lines of sight, MedStar Health has committed more than $8-million and a value-based approach in treating mental health issues, to open a new regional in-patient behavioral health center at MedStar Harbor Hospital.

A 10 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 16, will celebrate the center’s official opening. Beginning Thursday, Nov. 17, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital’s Inpatient Behavioral Health unit will be relocating to MedStar Harbor, creating one of the best coordinated behavioral health delivery models in the region.

According to the Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore City residents comprise only 11% of Maryland’s total population but represented 30% of all statewide inpatient hospital discharges for individuals with mental illness. Over 60,000 residents are estimated to have a drug or alcohol addiction.

“There hasn’t been a more important time than now to work in mental health care," said Elias Shaya, MD, Regional Medical Director of Behavior Health MedStar North. “We are proud to be in a position where we can address our communities’ needs in the most comprehensive and integrated way by addressing all aspects of their health.”  

The new behavioral health center features a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals who will provide each patient with a customized care plan. They include board certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, licensed clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurses, case managers, social workers, licensed mental health counselors and technicians.

The newly completed space is one-hundred percent focused on transparency and respect, with design input provided by a full spectrum of individuals who treat patients with emotional, behavioral, intellectual or addictive challenges.

“The majority of the workspace is open,” said Jill Johnson, Vice President of MedStar Behavioral Health and Vice President of Operations at MedStar Harbor, “with a lot private space too and design features that blend safety and comfort to promote a normalized surrounding, rather than institutional. Special considerations were made in the construction of windows, doors, walls and flooring.”

In the MedStar Harbor emergency department, a crisis intervention unit affords a private observation area where clinicians can determine if in-patient care is necessary.  There, a peer recovery coach from the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) project is also available for intervention and treatment services of those with substance use disorders.


About MedStar Harbor Hospital

After more than a century of healing, MedStar Harbor Hospital is a mainstay in the community, serving patients from Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties at our convenient waterside location, with the services of a large, regional medical center in a smaller, more personal environment. With more than 350 physicians representing 30 medical and surgical specialties, and 1,200 associates, the hospital offers a full range of health care services for patients from infancy through the senior years. From general medicine and surgery, obstetrics, diabetes, pain management, arthritis, orthopaedics, and geriatrics to cardiology and urology, and now behavioral health, our team of caring physicians and associates serves the unique needs of every patient.

In 2016, MedStar Harbor Hospital was named a top hospital in Maryland and in the Baltimore metro area by U.S. News & World Report, receiving high performance ratings in specialty areas, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Gynecology, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Heart Failure, Pulmonology, and Orthopaedics.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit



Debra Schindler
Phone: 410-274-1260
[email protected]

Back to Top