ACA Extension: Did you know that, in 2015, the Maryland General Assembly once again took action to apply the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance reforms more broadly? The new law specifies that the prescription drug benefit requirements under the ACA apply to small and large group health insurance coverage, as well as individual health insurance coverage, in Maryland. With respect to the small group health insurance market, the definitions of both "full-time employee" and "health benefit plan" have changed to conform with the ACA. Additionally, the Maryland Insurance Commissioner, in consultation with the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, will establish a new state benchmark plan for 2017 that will define "essential health benefits" for Maryland.
Sterile Compounding: Did you know that, in 2015, the Maryland General Assembly repealed much of a 2013 Maryland law that regulated "sterile compounding," particularly the routine mixing of medicine in a physician's office? Conforming more closely to recent federal law, the new Maryland law, effective immediately, no longer requires that a person who prepares and distributes sterile drug products into, or within, Maryland obtain manufacturer and distributor permits. The new law also repeals the requirement that sterile compounding facilities hold permits from the State Board of Pharmacy. Nonresident pharmacies that dispense "compound sterile preparations" to Maryland patients, however, must now, as a condition of obtaining a pharmacy permit, submit an inspection report to the State Board of Pharmacy that demonstrates compliance with federal sterile compounding standards and state regulations.
Actual notice not required: Did you know that Maryland's intermediate appellate court recently held, in Maryland State Board of Nursing v. Mabinty Sesay, that disciplinary action against a nurse was proper even though the nurse never received actual notice of the charges or the procedure for requesting an evidentiary hearing? The Maryland Administrative Procedure Act provides a statutory framework for providing notice, and because the Board complied with the statute, due process was satisfied. Furthermore, the nurse knew that charges were pending against her, and failed to update her address as required by law.
Ambulatory surgery center fees: Did you know that Governor Hogan has cut Maryland ambulatory surgery center fees? Fee elimination and reduction at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) will account for $1.78 million of the projected $51 million in savings to Maryland taxpayers over the next five years. There will be a $2,000 reduction in ambulatory surgery center fees, with the initial and renewal licensure fees decreasing from $3,000 to $1,000.
Boilerplate language: Did you know that a patient's signature on an emergency room admissions form may not be a conclusive indication that the patient should have known that the treating physician was not the hospital's agent? In Whitlow v. Rideout Memorial Hospital, a California appellate court rejected a trial court's finding that Rideout successfully absolved itself of liability through a boilerplate admissions form signed by an emergency room patient.