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Project Phoenix – Calvert County

The Calvert County Health Department, in partnership with the Calvert Health Medical Center, launched Project Phoenix in 2015 with help from a Community Health Resources Commission grant. Project Phoenix aims to expand behavioral health access to low-income residents of Calvert, improve the quality of medical and social services, and lower overall healthcare spending in alliance with Maryland’s All-Payers Waiver.

Project Phoenix identifies high users of emergency department and inpatient services for patients with underlying mental health and/or substance use disorders. Admissions may be due to a primary behavioral health condition or a somatic illness exacerbated by inadequately treated mental health or substance use disorders. Many of its participants struggle with opioid dependence. Once identified, health department case managers assess medical and social needs of patients and work to decrease the multiple barriers that have prevented appropriate community-based treatment.

Project Phoenix actively case manages 400 patients and a total of 939 patients have been served since inception.  Some patients had been presenting to the emergency department 10-15 times per month prior to entry into Project Phoenix. The program has prevented close to 300 re-admissions to the emergency room at a savings to the health care system of $1.5 million. Additional inpatient re-admissions have been prevented, but due to the more complex charges for these patients, an estimate of savings has not yet been completed.

Due to the high rate of successful outcomes, demand for patient enrollment continues to climb. The program recently added a third case manager to meet the needs of this complex population.

With regard to patients dealing with opioid-related dependence, a special emphasis is placed on rapid placement with outpatient services, including medication-assisted therapy. Access to buprenorphine treatment has been expanded as a direct result of Project Phoenix.

Interested in learning more? Contact:
Doris McDonald
Behavioral Health Director, Calvert County Health Department
410 535-3079