New Maryland Laws

The Maryland General Assembly passed 774 pieces of legislation in the 2019 Legislative Session. Below you’ll find summaries of some legislation of interest to psychiatrists that went into effect on October 1, 2019.

HB25 Public Health Prescription Drug Monitoring Program – Revisions

This bill requires, rather than authorizes, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to review prescription monitoring data for indications of (1) possible misuse or abuse of a monitored prescription drug or (2) a possible violation of law or breach of professional standards by a prescriber or dispenser. If either is indicated, PDMP must notify and provide education to the prescriber or dispenser.

HB116 Public Health – Correctional Services – Opioid Use Disorder Examinations and Treatment

This bill establishes specified programs of “opioid use disorder” screening, evaluation, and treatment in local correctional facilities and in the Baltimore Pre-trial Complex. The program begins in four counties and phases in to include all counties and the Baltimore Pre-trial Complex. The State must fund the programs of opioid use disorder screening, examination, and treatment of inmates, and the bill establishes requirements for screening and treatment.

HB162 Medical Professional Liability Insurance Policies – Mandated Deductible Levels – Limitation

This departmental bill exempts a medical malpractice insurer from the requirement to offer additional medical professional liability policies with specified deductibles if the insurer’s basic policy has an annual premium that is less than $5,000.

HB427/SB403 Behavioral Health Administration – Outpatient Civil Commitment Pilot Program –Revisions

This bill requires the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) within the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to allow an eligible individual to request enrollment in, and allow an immediate family member of an eligible individual to request voluntary enrollment for the individual in, an existing authorized pilot program for outpatient civil commitment (OCC). BHA must include specified information in its annual report for individuals admitted into the program both voluntarily and involuntarily. [see more info here]

HB435/SB405 Health Insurance Prescription Drugs – Formulary Changes

This bill requires certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations (collectively known as carriers) that remove a drug from their formulary or move a drug to a benefit tier with a higher deductible, copayment, or coinsurance amount to provide a member and the member’s health care provider with (1) notice at least 30 days before the change is implemented and (2) included in the notice, the process for requesting a specified exemption. The bill also expands the current process carriers must have in place to allow a member to receive an off-formulary prescription drug or device to include a prescription drug or device that has been removed from a formulary and to allow a member to continue the same cost-sharing requirements under specified circumstances.

HB570/SB178 Outpatient Mental Health Centers – Medical Directors – Telehealth

This bill requires regulations governing behavioral health programs to include a provision authorizing an outpatient mental health center to satisfy any regulatory requirement that the medical director be on site through the use of telehealth by the director.

HB605/SB524 Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Telemedicine – Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners and Psychiatrists

This bill requires the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to include psychiatric nurse practitioners providing Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) or mobile treatment services (MTS) in any regulations that specify the types of health care providers eligible to receive reimbursement for telemedicine health care services. A health care service provided through telemedicine by a psychiatric nurse practitioner is equivalent to the same service when provided through an in-person consultation.

SB568 Crimes – Child Abuse and Neglect – Failure to Report

This bill makes it a misdemeanor for health care practitioners, police officers, educators, and human service workers who are acting in a professional capacity to knowingly fail to provide a required notice or make a required report of suspected child abuse or neglect if the worker has actual knowledge of the abuse or neglect. A violator is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a maximum penalty of up to three years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine. The bill only applies to a failure to report child abuse or neglect that occurs during the time the child is a minor.

HB1122 – Behavioral Health Programs – Outpatient Mental Health Centers – Medical Directors

This bill requires the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to adopt regulations to authorize a psychiatric nurse practitioner to serve as a medical director of an outpatient mental health center that is accredited in accordance with regulations, including through the use of telehealth.

SB28 Health Insurance – Coverage Requirements for Behavioral Health Disorders – Short-Term Limited Duration Insurance

This departmental bill alters the definition of “health benefit plan” to ensure that the State’s mental health parity law applies to short-term limited duration insurance.

SB45 Health Care Provider Malpractice Insurance – Authorization to Settle – Clarification

This departmental bill specifies that, for a health care provider malpractice insurance policy (commonly known as medical malpractice), the insurer is authorized, without restriction, to negotiate and effect a compromise of claims (i.e., settlement) unless the settlement amount exceeds the limits of the insurer’s liability.