Open Accessibility Menu

TRIBE Behavioral Health Crisis Stabilizations Centers Open

Collaboration between Atlantic General Hospital, TidalHealth, and community health partners

It has often been said that it “takes a village” to solve some of the greatest challenges facing any community. On the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, the responsibility of managing and closing existing gaps in crisis care for individuals experiencing behavioral health crises belongs to the TRIBE.

TRIBE is the Tri-County Behavioral Health Engagement. The newly formed collaboration is a regional partnership between TidalHealth Peninsula Regional, Atlantic General Hospital, and nine behavioral health community partner agencies. Their immediate goal is to design behavioral health crisis stabilization centers, or behavioral health urgent care centers.

“TRIBE originated from a community partners group that met monthly for about a year with the mission of working together to identify gaps in behavioral health services in the tri-county area, with the goal of not duplicating services and working together to address unmet needs,” said Katherine Smith, MSW, LCSW-C, Executive Director of TidalHealth Behavioral Health Services. “A grant opportunity gave TRIBE the ability to establish a regional partnership and obtain the resources to address of the community’s biggest identified gaps – namely accessing behavioral health care in a crisis in real-time.”

TRIBE’s primary function is a three-county centralized response to reduce emergency department utilization, hospital admissions and readmissions for individuals experiencing behavioral health issues. In addition, the partnership will increase collaboration with community behavioral health and crisis agencies, including law enforcement, eliminate duplication of services and increase opportunities to help patients experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

Here on the Lower Shore, these behavioral health crisis centers are desperately needed. Currently, individuals who need emergent behavioral health care must either wait for an appointment with a community agency provider or go to their hospital’s local emergency room; neither of these scenarios is ideal.

“When opened later this year, individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis will be able to have their needs met in real time, to feel relief sooner and hopefully avoid needing higher levels of care,” said Tina Simmons, MBA, BSN, RN, LSSBBH, Director of Nursing for Atlantic General Health System. “These centers will play an integral part in the larger continuum of care of behavioral health services currently in operation in our communities.”

The two crisis centers will essentially serve as behavioral health urgent care centers where individuals can receive crisis respite, observation, and intervention in a warm, friendly, home-like community setting.

The primary site, which will be near TidalHealth Peninsula Regional in Salisbury, MD, will be open seven days a week with extended hours and feature a safe, home-like environment. A satellite site near Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, MD, will initially welcome patients six days a week, with plans to expand to seven days a week.

A warm and seamless handoff for follow up care and services with community providers will be arranged that day or the next. Those community provider partners include Lower Shore Clinic, Resource Recovery Center, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), Sante Mobile Crisis, Life Crisis Center, Chesapeake Health Services, and the health departments of Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset counties.

While TidalHealth Peninsula Regional and Atlantic General Hospital are the lead agencies for this endeavor, the nine identified community agencies will be integral to its success, which in turn could result in additional partners in the following years.

Community partners will play an integral role in developing procedures and protocols and operating the centers. They’ll aid in the coordinated response to individuals in crisis by ensuring a seamless warm handoff for continued patient care.

At both locations, behavioral health care providers will seek to relieve immediate crisis symptoms, provide observation, determine levels of care and deflect from unnecessary higher levels of care, like hospital admission. Individuals will be triaged, linked with peer support, and offered brief crisis counseling, medication management services to include psychiatric and substance abuse as appropriate, care navigation, and coordination of health needs.

Some of the offered services may be completed via telehealth as needed to share resources between sites or as necessitated by the ongoing pandemic. Law enforcement and EMS may transport patients to the center, if allowable by state regulations.

The Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) Regional Partnership Catalyst Grant program approved five years of funding at just over $11 million. Work has already started on this project. It’s hoped these centers will be open by late summer/early fall 2021.

To learn more about TRIBE or the services offered by the behavioral health community health partner agencies, please visit the TidalHealth and Atlantic General Hospital at or call the TidalHealth Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic at 410-543-7119.