2002 Maryland Legislative Update, Part 1
Each year the Maryland Legislature enacts a number of laws which impact in various degrees on the personal and business lives of people living in or doing business in the State of Maryland. The General Assembly adjourned on April 8, 2002, and the Session actively concluded when the Governor enacted legislation into State law during four separate signing ceremonies on April 9, April 25, May 6 and May 16.
The WTP Annual Legislative Update is prepared each year for our clients and friends as a summary of important business, real estate, tax, health care and intellectual property legislation that was passed in the current Maryland Legislative Session. The Legislative Update is divided into sections by topic and each Bill is noted by subject matter. The date following each subject matter description is the effective date of the legislation. As you will see in reviewing the enclosed summaries, effective dates vary, although most are either July 1, 2002 or October 1, 2002.
- Health Insurance - Continuation of Coverage for Voluntarily Terminated Employees (10/01/02). Expands the definition of "change in status" under state laws governing eligibility to elect continuation of health insurance to include voluntary termination of employment. Current law provides that an individual may only elect 18 months of continued coverage under prior employer's health insurance plan if employment was involuntarily terminated, other than for cause. Note: federal law mandating continued coverage under health insurance plans ("COBRA") has always allowed continuation of coverage following voluntary termination of employment; this change affects only the Maryland state law.
TECHNOLOGY AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
- Electric Companies and Gas Companies - Use of Trade Names and Trademarks (05/01/02). Prohibits the use of the trade name or trademark of an electric company or gas company by a person for specified purposes if the person is owned wholly or partly, directly or indirectly, by the electric company or gas company, or the parent company of the electric company or gas company. Provides that the Act applies to persons engaged in specified activities relating to heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, or refrigeration services, plumbing services, appliances, or home improvements.
- Commercial Law - Electronic Mail - Unauthorized, False, or Misleading Information (10/01/02). Prohibits a person from transmitting, conspiring to transmit or assisting in the transmission of commercial electronic mail from a computer in Maryland to an electronic mail address of a resident of Maryland, if the sender uses a third party's internet domain name or electronic mail address without the permission of the third party and if the electronic mail contains misleading or false information about the origin of the transmission or contains false or misleading information in the subject line.
- Nursing Home Residents - Increase in Personal Needs Allowance (07/01/02). Specifies the amount of the personal needs allowance for a nursing home resident who is a recipient of medical assistance; provides for an annual cost of living increase in the personal needs allowance; requires that the personal needs allowance be deducted before computing eligible income for medical assistance; and requires the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene to adopt specified regulations.
- Statewide Commission on the Crisis in Nursing - Study of the Use of Technology to Assist Nurses in Caring for Patients (07/01/02). Requires the Statewide Commission on the Crisis in Nursing to identify a technology driven point of care application to maximize nursing productivity, increase the quality of patient care and improve the work environment infrastructure in health care facilities; and generally relates to the Commission and the use of technology in nursing.
- Health Occupations - Regulatory Boards - Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation (10/01/02). Continues specified health occupations regulatory boards and an advisory committee in accordance with the provisions of the Maryland Program Evaluation Act (Sunset Law) by extending to specified dates the termination provisions relating to the statutory and regulatory authority; and requires that an evaluation of the specified boards and advisory committees and the statutes and regulations that relate to them be performed on or before specified dates.
- Catastrophic Health Emergencies - Powers of the Governor and the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene (04/09/02). Provides for emergency powers of the Governor and the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene whenever an imminent threat of extensive loss of life or of serious disability exists due to exposure to specified diseases, chemicals, or radiation; requires specified public units and officials to develop plans and procedures; specifies the contents of an order; and requires the Secretary to issue a specified directive in a specified manner.
- Oral Health - Dental Hygienists - Access to Care (04/25/02). Authorizes specified licensees to practice dental hygiene under the general supervision of a dentist in specified places; requires a dental facility in which a dental hygienist is authorized to practice under general supervision to ensure that specified criteria are met; and requires a facility to report that the facility is operating under general supervision and to report the identity of each supervising dentist and each dental hygienist to the State Board of Dental Examiners before it operates under general supervision.
- State Board of Examiners of Psychologists - Powers and Duties (10/01/02). Alters the number of days from 60 to 120 within which the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists must forward a complaint filed against a licensed psychologist; alters the number of days within which a complaint against a licensed psychologist must be disposed from 60 to 120; and adds that an actual suspension of a psychologist's license for more than 1 year may not be stayed pending judicial review.
- Assisted Living Programs - Implementation of Regulations Concerning Survey and Complaint Reporting (10/01/02). Requires the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene to adopt regulations requiring that an assisted living program facility's statement of deficiencies for the most recent survey and any subsequent complaint investigations conducted by federal, State, or local surveyors, and any plans of correction in effect with respect to the survey or complaint investigation, be posted in a conspicuous place visible to actual or potential residents of the facility and other interested parties.
- Department of Aging - Continuing Care Retirement Communities - Regulation (10/01/02). Requires that a governing board of a continuing care retirement community include a subscriber of the continuing care retirement community; requires that an authorized officer receive and answer questions at a meeting open to all the provider's subscribers; requires a continuing care retirement community to make specified information available to its subscribers; modifies the requirements relating to operating reserves; requires a facility's disclosure statement to include specified items; requires the Department of Aging to approve a continuing care agreement within a specified time period if the feasibility study has been approved; defines an extensive and modified contract and related health care services; revises certain time periods for refunds; specifies the circumstances to be considered by the Financial Review Committee in the Department of Aging when there is a financial risk concerning the continuing care facility, and requiring that certain communication of the Committee be confidential; specifies certain civil money penalties for provider violations under certain circumstances; provides for allowance of corrective action by a provider; provides additional relief to certain subscribers injured by violations; provides for a delinquency proceeding under certain circumstances for continuing care providers; requires certain directives in an order to rehabilitate a continuing care provider; provides for an appointed receiver to be a conservator, rehabilitator, or receiver of certain continuing care providers; and defines and modifies a number of terms.
- Health Occupations - State Board of Pharmacy - Sunset Extension (07/01/02). Continues the State Board of Pharmacy in accordance with the Maryland Program Evaluation Act (Sunset Law) by extending the termination date until July 1, 2013; repeals the requirement for manufacturing permits; requires an annual inspection of each pharmacy that holds a pharmacy permit; limits discovery by establishing a pharmacy permit holder designee as a medical review committee; requires an evaluation of the Board on or before July 1, 2012; and requires the Board to submit a certain report on or before October 1, 2002.
- Health Occupations - Physicians - Medical Review Committees (10/01/02). Adds a freestanding ambulatory care facility to the list of alternative health care systems that have medical review committees.
- State Board of Examiners of Psychologists - Sunset Extension (07/01/02). Continues the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists in accordance with the provisions of the Maryland Program Evaluation Act (Sunset Law) by extending the termination provisions relating to the statutory and regulatory authority of the Board, until July 1, 2013; and requires the Board to submit a report to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee and the House Environmental Matters Committee on or before October 1, 2002.
- State Board of Nursing - Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation (07/01/02). Continues the State Board of Nursing in accordance with the provisions of the Maryland Program Evaluation Act (Sunset Law) by extending the termination provisions relating to the authority of the Board until July 1, 2013; and requires the Board to submit a report to specified committees regarding implementation of the recommendations made by the Department of Legislative Services on or before October 1, 2002.
- Health Maintenance Organizations - Reimbursement of Noncontracting Providers (06/01/02). Identifies a specified rate that health maintenance organizations pay to specified health care providers; repeals an obsolete reference; repeals the termination date of a provision requiring a health maintenance organization to reimburse noncontracting health care providers at a specified rate; and repeals the termination of a provision requiring a health maintenance organization to reimburse noncontracting trauma physicians at a specified rate in a specified manner.
- Acquisition of Nonprofit Health Entity - Conditions for Approval (04/25/02). Alters the standard for determining whether to approve the acquisition of a nonprofit health entity; eliminates a provision deeming an acquisition application approved under specified circumstances; and makes the Act an emergency measure.
- Abuse or Neglect of Vulnerable Adults - Degrees (10/01/02). Establishes the felony of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult in the first degree, subject to specified penalties; alters the scope of the misdemeanor of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult and redesignates it as abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult in the second degree; and provides that sentences for violations of the Act shall be in addition to sentences for convictions arising from the same facts and circumstances, except under specified circumstances.
- State Board of Physician Quality Assurance - Radiation Oncology/Therapy, Medical Radiation, and Nuclear Medicine Technologists (07/01/02). Requires the State Board of Physician Quality Assurance to adopt regulations related to radiation oncology/therapy, medical radiation, and nuclear medicine technologists; requires the Board to set fees and pay fees collected to the State Comptroller; establishes a Radiation Oncology/Therapy, Medical Radiation, and Nuclear Medicine Technology Advisory Committee within the Board; and requires specified technologists to practice only under the supervision of a licensed physician.
- Health Occupations - Nurses' Bill of Rights (10/01/02). Declares that nurses have specified rights; prohibits an employer from taking retribution against a nurse if the nurse discloses or objects to an activity, policy, or practice reasonably believed to be in violation of a law, regulation, or professional standard of practice, or reasonably believed to pose a risk to the health, safety, or welfare of a patient or the public; and prohibits an employer from requiring a nurse to work more than the scheduled hours according to a predetermined work schedule.
- State Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists (10/01/02). Authorizes the State Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists to adopt regulations to allow individuals to practice, under supervision, as licensed alcohol and drug counselors, licensed graduate marriage and family therapists, or as licensed graduate professional counselors; provides for the qualifications and requirements to practice as a specified therapist or counselor; and authorizes the use of specified titles and representations by specified therapists and counselors.
- Health Insurance - Nonrenewal of Individual Health Benefit Plans - Requirements for Carriers with Affiliates (06/01/02). Requires carriers to provide notice to affected individuals who are nonrenewed that the individual may purchase all other health benefits plans offered by an affiliate of the carrier; requires specified carriers to offer coverage to an individual whose health benefit plan has been nonrenewed by an affiliate; and prohibits carriers from rating on a substandard basis coverage that is offered to an individual whose health benefit plan has been nonrenewed.
- Physicians and Pharmacists - Therapy Management Contracts (10/01/02). Requires a licensed physician and a licensed pharmacist to enter into a specified agreement before entering into a therapy management contract; requires the Board of Physician Quality Assurance and the Board of Pharmacy to approve the agreements under specified circumstances; requires a therapy management contract to include specified provisions; and requires the Board of Physician Quality Assurance and the Board of Pharmacy to adopt regulations.
- State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators - Sunset Extension and Program Evaluation (07/01/02). Continues the State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators in accordance with the provisions of the Maryland Program Evaluation Act by extending to July 1, 2013, the termination provisions relating to the statutory and regulatory authority of the Board; extends the statute of limitations for the prosecution of misdemeanor offenses under the Health Occupations Article; and expands the definition of unauthorized practice; requires the Board to submit specified reports.
- Assisted Living Programs - Alzheimer's Special Care Unit or Program - Disclosure of Services (10/01/02). Requires specified assisted living programs with an Alzheimer's Special Care Unit or Program to disclose how the form of care and treatment provided by the Alzheimer's Special Care Unit or Program is specifically designed for the specialized care of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder; requires a specified description to be made in writing at a specified time; and requires disclosure of the written description to specified persons and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
- Hospitals - Uniform Standard Credentialing Form (07/01/02). Requires hospitals to use a uniform standard credentialing form as a condition of licensure; requires hospitals to use the uniform standard credentialing form as the initial application of a physician seeking to be credentialed; provides that the use of the uniform standard credentialing form does not preclude a hospital from requiring additional information; and provides for a delayed effective date for specified provisions of the Act.
- Health - Managed Care Organizations - Credentialing (10/01/02). Authorizes a managed care organization to deem a health care provider credentialed for a specified period of time under specified circumstances and upon specified verification; and prohibits a specified entity from refusing to verify specified information for a managed care organization.
- Acquisition of a Nonprofit Health Service Plan - Prohibition (06/01/02). Prohibits a nonprofit health service plan from being subject to acquisition; and prohibits a person from engaging in the acquisition of a nonprofit health service plan. „h Nursing Homes - Notice of Closure - Penalties (10/01/02). Authorizes the Office of Health Care Quality in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to impose specified penalties on a nursing home when the nursing home closes without providing the required 30-day notice to residents and their families or guardians; and provides that the nursing home is subject to specified appellate procedures when a civil money penalty is imposed.
- Health Care - Programs and Facilities - Pain Management (10/01/02). Establishes a State Advisory Council on Pain Management; specifies the membership, terms, and purpose of the Advisory Council; authorizes the Advisory Council to consult with specified individuals or organization representatives; requires the Advisory Council to issue an interim report on or before September 30, 2003, and a final report on or before September 30, 2004; and requires specified health care facilities to establish procedures for the routine monitoring of pain.
- Continuing Care Communities - Direct Admissions Into Comprehensive Care Nursing Bed - Repeal of Abrogation Provision (07/01/02). Repeals the abrogation provision relating to definitions for health planning and development that apply to specified health care facilities; and repeals the abrogation provision relating to specified provisions that allow a continuing care community that is exempted from a certificate of need to admit a subscriber directly to a comprehensive care nursing bed if at admission time the subscriber may be transferred to an independent living unit or an assisted living unit.
- Health Care Worker Whistleblower Protection Act (10/01/02). Prohibits an employer from taking or refusing to take specified personnel actions against a licensed or certified employee who discloses unlawful behavior or refuses to participate in unlawful behavior; and provides that specified protections under the Act apply only if a licensed or certified employee has a good faith belief that the employer is engaged in unlawful activity and that the unlawful activity poses a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
- Health Care Facilities - Pain Management (10/01/02). Adds the right to have pain assessed, managed, and treated to the patient's bill of rights for hospitals and related institutions; and requires specified other health care facilities to add pain management to any patient's bill of rights or similar document distributed.
- Maryland Physician Assistants Act - Revisions (10/01/02). Clarifies the practice responsibilities of a physician assistant and a supervising physician; adds items to be included in a delegation agreement between the physician assistant and supervising physician; alters the actions that the State Board of Physician Quality Assurance may take after reviewing a delegation agreement; alters provisions pertaining to physician assistants and medication orders; and provides that physician assistants are not to be prevented from performing specified general anesthesia medical acts.
- Human Subject Research - Institutional Review Boards (10/01/02). Requires a person conducting human subject research to comply with federal regulations on the protection of human subjects; provides that the minutes of an institutional review board shall be made available upon request within 30 days of receipt of a request; and authorizes the Attorney General to seek injunctive or other relief to prevent the conduct of human subject research in violation of federal regulations.
- State Advisory Council on Quality Care at the End of Life (10/01/02). Establishes the State Advisory Council on Quality Care at the End of Life; provides for the composition of the Advisory Council; provides for the terms of members; requires the Governor to appoint a successor if a vacancy occurs; requires the Governor to appoint the chair; provides for a quorum; requires the Advisory Council to meet two times each year; and prohibits members from receiving compensation but allows members to receive reimbursement for specified expenses.
- Health Insurance Safety Net Act of 2002 (07/01/02). Establishes the Maryland Health Insurance Plan to provide comprehensive health benefits to individuals with preexisting medical conditions; establishes a Board of Directors for the Plan; grants the Board regulatory authority; authorizes the Board to aggregate the purchase of prescription drugs for enrollees in the plan and in the Senior Prescription Drug Program for a specified purpose; establishes a fund of the Plan; specifies the uses of the fund; and requires the Board to establish premium rates for the Plan.