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 – The Worcester County Health Department is requesting mini-grant proposals from community-based organizations, workplaces, churches, or other interested organizations for youth teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention education: Promoting Health Among Teens-Comprehensive education (PHAT-C). To be eligible for up to $2,500 in grant funding, your program must be an organization which serves young people in Worcester County. Funded organizations will be expected to deliver the PHAT-C education program to a minimum of 12-15 Worcester County youth ages 12-19.

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Snow Hill, MD-The Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) requests smoking cessation, education and enforcement proposals for grant funding through Cigarette Restitution Funds by way of the Maryland Department of Health. Community-based organizations, churches, private groups, non-profits, and workplaces are encouraged to apply.

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(July 31, 2019 Snow Hill, MD) – The Worcester County Health Department received notification from the State of Maryland that a mosquito pool in the Whaleyville area of Worcester County recently tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). This is the first positive test for EEE in Worcester in 2019.

Arboviruses, such as the EEE virus, are most common during the summer and fall months. The viruses are transmitted by infected mosquitoes and spread to humans, birds, horses and other animals. Since mosquitoes can breed in as little as a quarter inch of water, eliminating standing water is critical for the control of mosquito populations. Many factors impact when and where outbreaks occur, such as weather, numbers of mosquitoes that spread the virus, and human behavior.

The Worcester and Wicomico County Health Department provides the following tips to help prevent contact with mosquitoes and reduce risk of infection with EEE or other mosquito borne illnesses:

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Snow Hill, MD – The Worcester County Health Department will host a free summer program for girls entering middle school, grades 6 and 7. The Just for Girls summer program will be held Tuesday, August 13 through Friday, August 23 from 8:30am - 4:30pm at the Worcester County Health Department, located at 6040 Public Landing Road, Snow Hill, MD 21863. Participants will learn life skills, ways to improve their self-esteem, attend field trips, receive abstinence only education and much more.

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(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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