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Brook Lane planning to expand

May 07, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG — Brook Lane Health Services is planning to add 14 beds to its mental-health treatment center northwest of Smithsburg.

Chief Executive Officer Lynn Rushing said that sometimes all of its beds are filled and patients who need treatment have to wait or go elsewhere.

Brook Lane now has 43 beds. Twenty are for adults, 17 are for adolescents (ages 11 and older) and six are for younger children.

Rushing said the 14 new beds will make up a section for children, allowing the current children’s beds to be used however they are needed.

The project is expected to cost about $2.5 million.

Last month, the Maryland General Assembly approved a fiscal year 2013 capital budget that includes $1.1 million for Brook Lane’s expansion project.

Rushing said he expects the rest to come from a mix of sources, including a fundraising campaign. Brook Lane probably will have to borrow money, too, he said.

Looking ahead to the challenges of a fundraising drive, Rushing said mental-health care has less of a stigma than it used to, but is still not widely known or discussed.

He figured the design work probably will be done next month, allowing Brook Lane to seek permits during the summer.

Brook Lane is the state’s only psychiatric facility for children and adolescents west of Baltimore, Rushing said.

When beds for youths there are filled, Western Marylanders have two inconvenient choices — go to a facility in Baltimore or wait at a local emergency room.

The greatest need — when beds are most likely to be filled — usually is January through May and again in the fall, Rushing said.

After about two or three years of increased need for services, Brook Lane was confident that it had an actual need for more beds, he said.

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