Patient safety to be protected through quality and licensing standards
BALTIMORE (June 22, 2012) - The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) today released final regulations affecting surgical abortion facilities in the State. The purpose of the regulations is to protect the health and life of women seeking abortions by supporting the quality of surgical abortion services, while preserving patient access to these services in Maryland. The adopted regulations will be published on July 13, 2012 in the Maryland Register with an effective date of July 23, 2012.
Under the adopted regulations:
- Outpatient facilities that perform surgical abortions as a regular service on a routine basis, and are not regulated by the State, are required to obtain a license.
- To obtain a license, surgical abortion clinics must meet specific requirements related to anesthesia services, emergency services, laboratory, and radiologic services. These requirements are adapted from current regulations governing ambulatory surgical centers.
- DHMH staff may enter facilities for the purpose of inspection, and noncompliant facilities may face suspension, revocation of license, and/or administrative penalties.
Like other medical procedures, a licensed physician must perform surgical abortions. The new regulations will supplement existing State regulations of licensed physicians and other health care professionals.
The Department's Office of Health Care Quality will work closely with the affected facilities to facilitate the licensure process. A 120-day provisional period will allow for the inspection of the facilities and for the licensure application. The fee for abortion facilities is $1500 for three years.
These regulations were developed through a deliberative and inclusive process that included reviewing laws of other states, consulting with clinical experts in the fields of gynecology, anesthesiology, obstetrics, and outpatient surgery, meeting with advocacy groups and soliciting public comments during two comment periods in the past year. The Department received and closely reviewed nearly 1200 comments before moving forward with the adopted regulations.
To get an application and learn more, visit the Office of Health Care Quality: http://dhmh.maryland.gov/ohcq/AC/sitePages/Licensure-Application.aspx