For the SMHE a relationship with an OMHC allowed for billing, providing more-intensive services, and adding child psychiatry fellows to the staff.
The preliminary partnership between the OMHC and the SMHP was established through a series of conversations that allowed for trust building, clear understanding about roles and responsibilities for each organization, and the development of procedures and protocols for successfully linking the organizations.
One issue involved differences in rules and regulations between a licensed OMHC in Maryland and the informal and less-structured regulations of school mental health programs.
Concerns raised by stakeholders focused on whether the OMHC partnership would affect student eligibility to receive services, reduce accessibility to services, and diminish the scope of services provided by clinicians.
Working with the SMHP posed a particular challenge because the 22 schools are off-site from the OMHC. While regular meetings, supervision, and quarterly audits help ensure program staff comply with regulations, oversight of a large and geographically dispersed staff remains a challenge.