New Laws Will Strengthen Patient Protections in Maryland

 ANNAPOLIS (May 2, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley today signed three new laws that will provide critical protections for patients in Maryland. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene advocated in favor of the new laws, which will allow for greater oversight and protection in a variety of settings.

These new laws will strengthen protections for Maryland patients,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of DHMH.

House Bill 1009 authorizes DHMH to adopt regulations to oversee cosmetic surgical facilities, including “medical spa” facilities. The legislation was proposed after three patients contracted severe invasive Group A Streptococcus infections following liposuction procedures at a cosmetic surgery center in Baltimore County in 2012. An investigation found the facility lacked adequate infection control procedures. The new law will allow the Department the authority to license such facilities, investigate complaints and hold facilities accountable. The law takes effect October 1, 2013.

House Bill 986 will require facilities and practitioners who either create or distribute pharmaceuticals created using sterile compounding in Maryland to acquire a permit from the Maryland Board of Pharmacy. The legislation was proposed in the wake of a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to contaminated steroid injections that came from a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. In Maryland, 26 individuals contracted fungal meningitis, and three died, as a result of the infected injections. The law takes effect July 1, 2013.

Senate Bill 1057 requires all health care staffing agencies operating in Maryland to be licensed by the Office of Health Care Quality. Currently, only nursing staffing agencies must be licensed, but agencies that place other health professionals are not required to be licensed. The agencies place health professionals on a temporary basis in hospitals and healthcare facilities around the state. The legislation was introduced after a healthcare worker who was infected with Hepatitis C was arrested in New Hampshire on suspicion of unlawful drug diversion activity that transmitted Hepatitis C to patients. The individual worked in several states, including Maryland. Laboratory testing has now found seven Maryland patients infected with Hepatitis C virus who were found to have virus closely related to infections linked to the case.

The Department conducted a thorough review of the case and released recommendations for strengthening legal and regulatory protections to prevent similar cases in the future. Senate Bill 1057 was a result of one of those recommendations. The new law takes effect October 1. 2013.


 

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WCHD News

Snow Hill, MD-The Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) requests smoking cessation, education and enforcement proposals from county entities for grant funding through Cigarette Restitution Funds by way of the Maryland Department of Health. Community-based organizations, churches, private entities, non-profits, and workplaces are encouraged to apply.

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Join Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan and Worcester County Health Department's Kathy Wool for a virtual tour of the famous Ocean City, Maryland Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is an iconic example of how walkable Worcester can be. 

 

New education and training campaign focused on substance use disorders

(Snow Hill, MD)- The Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) is proud to announce the launch of a new Addiction in the Workplace awareness campaign. Through Addiction in the Workplace, WCHD will provide educational material such as rack cards and posters, access to a Substance Use Resource Liaison, as well as training opportunities for Naloxone/Narcan, responsible beverage service training, and Mental Health First Aid. Educational material is free-of-cost and readily available, and most trainings are free.

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Walk and Talk events aim to get residents moving: Worcester County Health Department to host community conversation walks.

(Snow Hill, MD)- Are you interested in walking and exploring local, walkable places? The Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) is hosting a series of community Walk and Talk events starting this July. All events are free and open to the public.

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From Ready.gov


Extreme Heat often results in the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards. In most of the United States, extreme heat is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In extreme heat, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. This can lead to death by overworking the human body.

 

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