Sheppard Pratt plans to build a children's hospital in Towson
The new children's hospital in Towson will help the state deal with a worsening pediatric mental health crisis.
Larry Hogan's initial budget plan calls for $100M in state funding for Sheppard Pratt. This money will be used to create the hospital and a global training centre for workforce development. Dr. Harsh Trivedi, CEO of the nonprofit, believes it is fulfilling an important task that was once the responsibility of the state government. To complement the 100 beds Sheppard Pratt has for children, the new hospital will have between 30 and 40 inpatient beds. Towson Hospital would be able to treat youth with complex disorders. Trivedi stated that if someone was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, they would know where to go. Similarly, Trivedi explained that if someone had a heart problem, they would know where to go. After decades of massive cuts to the state's inpatient infrastructure, there has been an increase in mental health services demand. Patients with mental illnesses may be forced to visit their local emergency rooms due to a lack of resources for mental health care. This has been a growing problem over the past few years. According to Maryland Information Network, the percentage of emergency department visits resulting from mental health issues increased from 11.6% in 2018 up to 47.95% by 2021. Sheppard Pratt also has plans to expand beyond the children's hospital. It will open a 50-bed expansion at its Elkridge hospital. As the demand for health care services increases, there has been a shortage of qualified workers in other sectors. Maryland will soon see the Meritus School of Osteopathic Medicine, Hagerstown, and the Maryland School of Osteopathic Medicine, Morgan State University. These schools are expected to address the current shortage of doctors. Trivedi intends to collaborate with local colleges, universities and historically Black colleges. People without a degree in mental health will be able to access the center's services.