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July 29, 2011

State seeks to streamline health care regulations

While many health care regulations are in place to provide consistent and quality care, as well as protect the vulnerable, some are outdated, expensive and not particularly useful.

So, the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene endeavored to clean house. Officials began collecting input from the public in April and have released a draft report on changes that could be made in the fall – some changes may be done through regulation and others may require legislation.

Joshua M. Sharfstein, the department secretary, said he heard those who operate facilities about the costs of regulations, some that may no longer necessary or could be tweaked. The changes could have wide ranging impact.

In Maryland, there are: 230 skilled nursing facilities serving an estimated 25,240 individuals; 1,375 licensed assisted living providers approved to care for almost 20,000 residents; 123 licensed adult medical day care programs with capacity to serve approximately 7,000 adults; 1,500 licensed community mental health programs and with some 116,948 consumers; 200 community based providers for those with developmental disabilities at 2,600 sites serving more than 22,500 people; and 1,000 certified substance abuse treatment programs with about 21,000 seeking treatment a month.

Many of the regulations on the list for change had to do with the level of training providers needed, the intervals for reporting, the definitions of providers and changes in technology.
“Some of the regulations are important for protection of public,” said Sharfstein. “But there is a real balance to be struck. We don’t presume they every regulation needs to stay there forever. We need to look on a case by case basis.”

To see the report or make a comment, click here.

Posted by Meredith Cohn at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Business of health

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About Picture of Health
Meredith CohnMeredith Cohn has been a reporter since 1991, covering everything from politics and airlines to the environment and medicine. A runner since junior high and a particular eater for almost as long, she tries to keep up on health and fitness trends. Her aim is to bring you the latest news and information from the local and national medical and wellness communities.

Andrea K. WalkerAndrea K. Walker knows it’s weird to some people, but she has a fascination with fitness, diseases, medicine and other health-related topics. She subscribes to a variety of health and fitness magazines and becomes easily engrossed in the latest research in health and science. An exercise fanatic, she’s probably tried just about every fitness activity there is. Her favorites are running, yoga and kickboxing. So it is probably fitting that she has been assigned to cover the business of healthcare and to become a regular contributor to this blog. Andrea has been at The Sun for nearly 10 years, covering manufacturing, retail , airlines and small and minority business. She looks forward to telling readers about the latest health news.

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