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-National Great American Smokeout Day returns on November 15. For individuals thinking about quitting smoking, this is the perfect time to take that first step. The Great American Smokeout may offer just the support you need by knowing that other smokers are also giving up cigarettes for the day.

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Know your risk and prevention strategies.

Snow Hill, MD- November marks National Diabetes Awareness Month and Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) is encouraging both those with diabetes and those at-risk for developing the disease to use healthy practices and prevention techniques this fall and winter. For those already living with diabetes, WCHD sponsors a free monthly diabetes support group monthly every third Wednesday, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Snow Hill Library. A Registered Dietitian and Community Health Educator facilitate the support group and the monthly topics help participants reinforce self-management skills.

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SNOW HILL, Md. – The Worcester County Health Department urges all residents age 6 months and older, including pregnant women and those with medical conditions, to be vaccinated for the 2018-2019 seasonal flu. People age 65 years and older have a choice of two flu vaccines available to them at the Worcester County Health Department. They can choose to receive a regular flu vaccine or a high dose flu vaccine which may result in a stronger immune response against the flu.

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Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

This bacterium is found in the nose, throat and mouth of an infected person, and can be easily spread. Pertussis can occur at any age, but often causes serious problems in babies, and is usually milder in older children and adults. Children who are too young to be fully vaccinated and those that have not received all their vaccinations are at highest risk for severe illness and complications. Complications of pertussis can include pneumonia (infection of the lungs), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), seizures, and other physical and medical outcomes associated with a severe cough.

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Our new Just Walk Worcester website has information on local parks, walking tips, and videos of trails in our area. If you like to walk, check it out! Click the image below to see the new site. 

 

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