As a result of a new Maryland law that became effective on October 1, 2013, the Maryland State Board of Physicians (“Board”) is now authorized to issue cease and desist orders to physicians and others that it regulates to stop specific acts, such as prescribing controlled dangerous substances, but still allow the licensees to continue a limited practice when the Board determines that the facts and circumstances of a particular case require such action to protect the public from dangerous practices. Prior to the new law, the Board could only issue a cease and desist order or obtain injunctive relief for practicing medicine without a license.
The Board regulates physicians, physician assistants, radiographers, radiation therapists, nuclear medicine technologists, radiologist assistants, respiratory care practitioners, polysomnographic technologists, athletic trainers, and perfusionists licensed by the State of Maryland.
The Board’s website states that the Board’s Mission is “to assure quality health care in Maryland through the efficient licensure and effective discipline of health providers under its jurisdiction, by protecting and educating clients/customers and stakeholders, and enforcing the Maryland Medical Practice Act” (source) as well as “to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Maryland through strong enforcement of licensure standards for physicians and allied health providers; and through an effective disciplinary program.” (source)
The expansion of the Board’s powers is set forth in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Health Occupations Article, Section 14-206, which states, in part:
(e) Cease and desist orders; injunctions. — The Board may issue a cease and desist order or obtain injunctive relief against an individual for:
(1) Practicing medicine without a license; or
(2) Taking any action:
(i) For which the Board determines there is a preponderance of evidence of grounds for discipline under § 14-404 of this title; and
(ii) That poses a serious risk to the health, safety, and welfare of a patient.
Now, the question becomes whether the Board will be active in using its new power to regulate specific wrongful acts of its licensees in order to protect the public.
Many state boards of physicians have been subjected to criticism that they have acted to protect their licensees’ interests over the interests of the public that is harmed by miscreants being allowed to continue to injure medical malpractice victims during the boards’ investigations and disciplinary actions that are too slow and woefully ineffective. We have previously blogged about state medical boards that have been advised of alleged wrongdoing by their licensees yet it is years (if ever) before the boards have acted to protect the public from further harm (for example, see our blog on August 25, 2013).
If you or a loved one have been harmed by medical malpractice in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Maryland medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and file a malpractice claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
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