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)- Worcester County Emergency Service officials urge residents to exercise extreme caution and check on elderly and infirm neighbors during the heatwave forecasted to last through Sunday. Heat indexes for the shore are expected to rise above 100 degrees this week and exposure to extreme heat can be dangerous for humans and animals, even deadly.

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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. Remember that:

Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.

Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.

Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

IF YOU ARE UNDER AN EXTREME HEAT WARNING:

  • Find air conditioning.
  • Avoid strenuous activities.
  • Watch for heat illness.
  • Wear light clothing.
  • Check on family members and neighbors.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car. Read more ...

    Health Department emphasizes the importance of rabies prevention and safety

    Snow Hill, MD- The Worcester County Health Department has confirmed eight rabies cases locally since the beginning of 2019, emphasizing the importance of rabies awareness and proper pet vaccination. The latest confirmed positive rabies case was a groundhog found on Manklin Creek Rd in the Ocean Pines area on July 3.

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    Men's Health Month

    The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with thousands of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe.

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    Summer Wellness Camp

    The Worcester County Health Department will host a free, week-long health and wellness camp for youth age 12-17 this summer. From June 17-21, campers will learn about the importance of health, fitness, setting personal goals and much more. The summer camp is part of Worcester Health’s Promoting Health Among Teens program and will feature guest speakers, snacks and lunch, learning activities and field trips to locations around Worcester including the Jolly Roger amusement park in Ocean City.

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 Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program