Maine Medicine Weekly E-Update, July 20, 2022

In This Issue
July 20, 2022
Monkeypox Now a Reportable Condition in Maine
Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Extended
Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Authorized by FDA & CDC
Maine Joins National Launch Of 988 Suicide And Crisis Lifeline
Recent Reports of Human Parechovirus (PeV) in the United States
Maine Physicians Direct Primacy Care Model to Improve Medical Care
MMA Government Affairs Developing 2023-2024 State Legislative Agenda
CDC Launches New Addiction Medicine Toolkit
Revised Narcotic Treatment Program Manual
Governor Mills Hosts 4th Annual Opioid Response Summit
Concerns About BA.5 Variants Contagiousness, Hospitalizations
Sign Up Now for the MMA 169th Annual Session in Bar Harbor!
ASGE Colon Cancer Appropriate Screening Test Campaign
Nominations Due by July 29 for 2022 Mary Cushman, MD Award
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
Island Physician - MD/DO
Family Medicine Physician - Penobscot Community Health Care’s Brewer Medical Center
Thoracic Surgeon Opportunity at Progressive Medical Center in Maine
Lead Hematology/Oncology Opportunity in Northern Maine
Experienced Emergency Medicine PA Opportunity in Bangor, Maine!

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Maine Joins National Launch Of 988 Suicide And Crisis Lifeline

Mainers who find themselves in a mental health crisis can now call or text 988 to access a trained crisis counselor. Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to individuals of all ages.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline went live on Saturday, July 16.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a resource page designed to help states, territories, Tribes, and mental health and substance use disorder professionals understand the background, history, funding opportunities, and implementation resources for strengthening suicide prevention and mental health crisis services.

The new mental health hotline, 988, has been nationally launched despite concerns of staffing capacity required to cover expected calls.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has been collaborating with federal, national, and statewide partners since March 2021 to plan for successfully implementing the new 988 system in Maine. Over 60 representatives from across the spectrum of Maine’s mental health crisis services – providers; emergency first responders/911, and members of diverse communities such as deaf and hard of hearing, people with lived experience and more – have tackled key issues such as increasing operating capacity at Maine’s 988 call center and the critical connection between 911 and 988 services.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, and other Federal officials, worry that most states are ill-prepared to meet the hotline’s long-term needs, a failing that could hamper state’s ability to quickly answer crisis calls with operators familiar with local resources. New funds have been dispatched to states considering the mental health crisis, but federal officials say few states have held up their end of the bargain and implemented long-term funding.

Maine plans to only soft launch the new mental health hotline until its provider can increase staffing ahead to handle higher volume. Over half of the country’s public health officials say they do not have the funding or the staffing to handle the mid-July rollout, according to a recent Rand Corp report. Maine expects to being taking callings by the deadline, but the contracted provider for the hotline will not heavily promote the new line until they have appropriate staffing.

“I anticipate it’s not going to be a difficult launch; it’s going to fall into place as we start rolling with it” said Tracy Mallwitz, the clinical director of the Maine Crisis Line.

Maine set aside $450,000 in state and federal funds to facilitate the rollout, wrote a Department of Health and Human Services official in a letter to the Portland Press Herald. The state also allocated $13 million for state and federal crisis lines.  The states current hotline will continue to operate for the time being.

Every state currently has the 10-digit phone number, 800-273-TALK, as part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network, launched in 2005. This will be replaced by the 988 number on Saturday. Some states like Maine have 24-7 call centers already in places, but others are just not expanding round-the-clock operations.

Read More:

988 set for quiet launch in light of state, federal concerns about crisis call spike, Politico

Staffing issues will slow rollout of Maine’s new 988 mental health hotline, Portland Press Herald


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