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Brook Lane to affiliate with Meritus, enhance care for region, state

Move supports a growing community need for mental health services

Two long-standing local health providers will join together in July, as Brook Lane and Meritus Health will affiliate, vowing to expand access to mental health services across the region and state. The definitive agreement comes after months of formal due diligence by both organizations and their respective boards.

“As we consider the best opportunities to support the total health of our community, while the demand for mental health support and services continues to increase, welcoming Brook Lane to our organization presents an opportunity for our two strong organizations to enhance access to services and provide patients with more coordinated care,” said Maulik Joshi, Dr.P.H., President and CEO of Meritus Health.

Joshi said Meritus Health and Brook Lane have a long tradition of partnering in the community. In September 2023, the health providers worked together to open a mental health urgent care on the Meritus Health Campus off Robinwood Drive in Hagerstown.

“We looked at the need in our community and across our state and found a way to share resources in order to quickly support that need,” Joshi said. “We understand the strength in working together and look forward to the next chapter in providing mental health services and education to our community.”

Over the past several months, Joshi said he and Brook Lane CEO Jeffery D. O’Neal, MBA, LCPC, FACHE have been considering how they can use the strengths of their respective organizations to better fill current and future mental health needs across the region and the state.

By combining resources, O’Neal and Joshi outlined an expanded model for mental health that would extend access levels of care and position the organization as one of the largest and most accessible in the nation. Once combined, the community would have access to integrated clinical offerings with a total of 80 inpatient beds; a psychiatry residency program, a high acuity residential crisis program, day treatment programs for children, adolescents and adults, substance abuse treatment services, mental health urgent care, mental health telehealth visits, a Type III and two Type I school programs, school-based therapists, interventional psychiatry programs, an employee assistance program servicing 12 organizations, and much more. Together, there would be 25 providers, 105 licensed therapists, 115 dedicated nursing staff and 20 teachers, all dedicated to supporting mental health services.

This model, with combined resources, doesn’t just put together clinical excellence, but aligns cultural and community values as well.

"Meritus and Brook Lane share community-centric values and a vision for making our neighbors healthier," O’Neal said. "Affiliating with Meritus provides our organization with the support it needs to grow and expand, while maintaining our tradition of providing compassionate mental and behavioral health services.”

The affiliation will not reduce jobs, according to both leaders, but Brook Lane team members will be moved to the more competitive Meritus compensation scale. Over time, the organizations will consider together the best opportunities for expanding mental health services.

“We know this partnership will improve access to care in our community,” Joshi said. “We look forward to our next steps, as together we plan and envision how to best enhance services and education.”


About Brook Lane:

Brook Lane is western Maryland’s largest, non-profit mental health system. The main campus in Hagerstown, MD is home to the second largest freestanding psychiatric hospital in Maryland, serving children, adolescents, and adults. Brook Lane also provides a residential program for children and adolescents, partial hospitalization services for both adults and children and operates Type 1 & 3 special education programs in Washington County and a Type 1 program in Frederick County. Brook Lane’s three outpatient locations in Hagerstown, Frederick and Cumberland offer psychiatry services and therapy for all ages. The InSTEP program provides outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment options for individuals with substance use treatment needs. For more information, visit www.brooklane.org.

About Meritus:

Meritus Health, Western Maryland’s largest health care provider, is located at the crossroads of Western Maryland, Southern Pennsylvania and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. With over 3,000 employees, 500 medical staff members and 250 volunteers, Meritus Health serves over 200,000 residents of the tristate region. Meritus Medical Center has 327 beds and Meritus Medical group has over 160 providers. More information can be found at www.MeritusHealth.com or visit our Facebook page or LinkedIn page.