Mid-Atlantic Health Law TOPICS
Money Needed to Enforce Referral Law
In October 2007, John Colmers, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, wrote to Governor Martin O'Malley and the legislative leaders in the Maryland General Assembly requesting increased resources to allow the State's individual
licensing boards to investigate health care practitioners that may be violating the Maryland Patient Referral Law (MPRL).
The MPRL prohibits the referral of a patient by a health care practitioner to an entity with which the health care practitioner has a beneficial interest or a compensation arrangement, unless an exemption applies. Each licensing Board has the authority to investigate its own licensees.
Legislation passed in 2007 required Secretary Colmers to review each licensing Board's process and progress regarding investigations of MPRL complaints. Secretary Colmers reported that the Board of Physicians had received complaints regarding the MPRL, and that the Board of Physicians is actively enforcing the MPRL.
Curiously, Secretary Colmers did not recommend that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene assume responsibility for the enforcement of the MPRL, or recommend that the General Assembly clean up the confusing language of the MPRL, both of which recommendations might have been more constructive than asking for more money for multiple agencies to enforce a confusing statute.
March 22, 2008