Marylanders urged to start year with focus on improving their health


— The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is encouraging Marylanders to use the New Year as an opportunity not only to adopt healthier lifestyles but also to maximize health coverage and to partner with primary care physicians by getting needed vaccinations, screenings and checkups.

“When confronting years-long health challenges, it’s easy to be intimidated. We want Marylanders to take the first steps toward living healthier this year,” says Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Van T. Mitchell. “Getting fit, quitting a tobacco habit, making better food choices— there are ways to take first steps toward these winnable battles. We want Marylanders to utilize available state resources to take those steps.”

Marylanders can get free help kicking their tobacco habits by contacting Maryland Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or They also can work with their primary care physicians to devise plans for losing weight and becoming more fit, in efforts to prevent the health conditions that can accompany being overweight or obese— such as hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Men and women should schedule health screenings for prostate and cervical cancer and get annual checkups.

Medicaid also covers needed screenings, tobacco cessation, and well-child checkups. Likewise, Marylanders who have been enrolled in Medicaid should contact the Maryland Health Connection at to see if their eligibility for coverage is up to date. Medicaid recipients must renew their eligibility every 12 months.

“We want our enrollees to work with the primary care physicians in our managed care organizations’ networks to chart pathways to healthier lifestyles,” said Health Care Financing Deputy Secretary Shannon McMahon.

“Securing treatment for a substance use disorder also is important for Marylanders who battle problems with addiction,” said Dr. Gayle Jordan-Randolph, Deputy Secretary for the Behavioral Health Administration.

Marylanders can find certified treatment providers at In Maryland, parents of kids who face mental health challenges can call a 24/7 hotline at 1-800-422-0009.

Maryland also has high rates of sexually transmitted infections. For Information about HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, treatment and support services in Maryland, call 410-767-5227 or visit the website: