|Achieving Operational Efficiencies
While the Department’s primary management focus should remain on servicing the public health needs of Baltimore’s neediest populations, this report includes a number of recommendations aimed at achieving operational economies-of-scale, increasing existing revenues and cultivating new revenue streams. These recommendations were designed to address fragmentation that was observed in the management of specific administrative and service functions, as well as to increase the availability of funds to support the Department’s future operations.
The City’s current compartmentalized approach to treating mental health and substance abuse problems fails to acknowledge the reality that in many instances Baltimore Mental Health Systems (BMHS) and Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems (BSAS) are treating a shared population of clients with similar service needs. This system fragmentation limits the City’s ability to maximize treatment opportunities, coordinate services, and improve public accountability. By combining BMHS and BSAS, a unified organization to oversee and direct the City’s behavioral health spending could be created. The merger could lead to better integration of treatment strategies and funding streams, improved data sharing, potential consolidation of administrative functions, enhanced public accountability, and increased access to treatment.
Another promising opportunity exists to consolidate the Department’s disparate data collection, evaluation, and policy development functions into a single administrative unit to improve the coordination of efforts and to achieve operational efficiencies. The timeliness, accuracy, and quality of the Department’s data collection and analysis efforts are critical to identifying emerging health trends, evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of existing initiatives, and developing new strategies to address the City’s most-pressing public health needs. The consolidated unit could be tasked with eliminating the Department’s duplicative data collection efforts, identifying cumbersome manual data collection processes that should be targeted for automation, and collaborating with external data sources to facilitate the sharing of information.
Introduction: Health Department