Articles Posted in Health Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgments of the circuit court and Court of Special Appeals that there were no errors of procedure or substantive law on the part of Respondents - the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (Hospital) and the Maryland Department of Health - and the administrative law judge (ALJ) in determining that Petitioner met the requirements for involuntary admission to the psychiatric unit of the Hospital. The Court held (1) the ALJ did not err in finding that Petitioner’s hearing on involuntary admission complied with the ten-day deadline for an involuntary admission hearing set forth in Md. Code Ann. Health-Gen. 10-632(b); and (2) there was substantial support in the record for the ALJ’s finding that Petitioner presented a danger to the life or safety of herself or of others at the time of the hearing. View "In re J.C.N." on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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The process of involuntary admission of an individual begins with the initiation application for involuntary admission and ends upon a hearing officer’s decision whether to admit or release that individual. If, during the process, a physician applies the statutory criteria for involuntary admission and concludes, in good faith, that the individual no longer meets those criteria, the facility must release the individual. The physician’s decision is immune from civil liability and cannot be the basis of a jury verdict for medical malpractice. Brandon Mackey was taken to Bon Secours Hospital pursuant to an application for involuntary admission after he attempted to commit suicide. Dr. Leroy Bell treated Mackey. Two days before a scheduled hearing to determine whether Mackey should be admitted involuntarily or released, Dr. Bell authorized Mackey’s release. Thereafter, Mackey committed suicide. Plaintiff brought suit contending that Dr. Bell, and Bon Secours vicariously as his employer, were negligent in releasing Mackey. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Chance. The circuit court vacated the judgment based in part on its understanding of the immunity statute. The court of special appeals reversed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Dr. Bell’s decision to discharge Mackey, made in good faith and with reasonable grounds, was immune from liability. View "Bell v. Chance" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the Attorney General has authority to request injunctive relief against a nursing facility pursuant to two different provisions of the Patient’s Bill of Rights, a comprehensive statutory scheme enacted to identify and protect individuals’ rights in Maryland nursing facilities. The State sought an injunction against Defendant, a nursing facility. The trial court concluded that the allegations in the State’s complaint, if true, would be in violation of the Patient’s Bill of Rights but that the Injunction Clause did not authorize the kind of broad injunctive relief the State sought and that the State lacked authority to sue for an injunction under the Enforcement Clause. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) under Md. Code Ann. Health-Gen. 19-345.3(c), the Attorney General may bring suit on behalf of individual residents who have been subjected to, or away, imminent, unlawful involuntary discharges if at least one individual’s statutory rights have been violated, and a court may issue injunctive relief for violations of Md. Code Ann. Health-Gen. 19-345, 19-345.1 and 19-345.2; and (2) the Attorney General’s authority to prosecute violations of Md. Code Ann. Health-Gen. 19-344(c)(4)-(5) permits the Attorney General to seek an injunctive to enforce certain provisions related to the Medicaid application process. View "State v. Neiswanger Management Services, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law

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The trial court properly dismissed two of Petitioners’ counts against Respondent seeking damages for injuries one of the petitioners allegedly sustained while staying at one of Respondent’s facilities because these two counts alleged medical injuries within the Health Claims Act (HCA). Therefore, Petitioners were required to file those claims in the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolute Office (ADR Office) as a condition precedent to their circuit court action. Petitioners’ remaining negligence count should survive because it did not allege a breach of professional standard of care such that it must be filed in the ADR Office. Petitioners’ counts sounding in contract, consumer protection, and loss of consortium also survived dismissal. View "Davis v. Frostburg Facility Operations, LLC" on Justia Law

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Alternative Medicine Maryland, LLC (AMM) sued the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission, its members, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene after AMM applied for, but did not receive, pre-approval for a medical cannabis grower license. AMM sought a declaratory judgment and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, arguing that the Commission failed to follow applicable law with respect to the requirement to consider racial and ethnic diversity of potential medical cannabis grower licensees and requested that the Commission be required to reconnect the pre-approval process. Relevant to this appeal, the circuit court denied a motion to intervene filed by medical cannabis growers that had received pre-approvals for medical cannabis grower licenses, a coalition and trade association that advocate for the use of medical cannabis, and patients who would potentially receive medical cannabis as treatment for illnesses. The Supreme Court held (1) the growers were entitled to intervention as of right and permissive intervention; but (2) the circuit court did not err in denying intervention as of right or permissive intervention as to the patients and the trade association petitioners. View "Doe v. Alternative Medicine Maryland, LLC" on Justia Law

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In 2002, Petitioner was found guilty but not criminally responsible of robbery and use of a handgun in commission of a felony or a crime of violence. In 2006, the circuit court released Petitioner conditionally. In 2009, Petitioner was re-committed to inpatient medical treatment. In 2010, the circuit court released Petitioner conditionally for the remaining duration of the 2006 order. In 2011, five days before Petitioner’s conditional release was to expire, the Department filed an application seeking to extend the terms of the conditional release for an additional four years. The next month, the circuit court granted the Department’s application. Petitioner filed a motion to alter or amend, asserting that the circuit court’s jurisdiction over him ended at the expiration of the 2006 order of conditional release, and therefore, the order extending his conditional release was invalid. The circuit court denied the motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court retained jurisdiction for a reasonable time to decide the timely-filed application to extend the 2006 order of conditional release; and (2) the circuit court did not delay for an unreasonable time before ruling on the State’s application for an extension on Petitioner’s conditional release. View "Harrison-Solomon v. State" on Justia Law

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In 2009, Charles Williams, who had been suffering with suicidal ideation and auditory and visual hallucinations, went to a hospital emergency room. Health care providers examined and evaluated Williams, decided not to admit him, and discharged him to the care of his mother. That same night, Williams broke into a residence and invited the responding law enforcement officers to shoot him. When Williams rushed the officers, they fired their weapons at him, killing him. Williams’ family (collectively, Plaintiffs) brought a wrongful death and survivorship action against the health care providers alleging negligence in their decision to release rather than involuntarily admit Williams to the hospital. The circuit court dismissed the complaint, concluding that the health care providers were protected from liability by statutory immunity. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Maryland’s involuntary admission immunity statute applies to health care providers who evaluate an individual and decide in good faith not to involuntarily admit him. View "Williams v. Peninsula Reg’l Med. Ctr." on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law, Injury Law

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Jai Medical Systems Managed Care Organization, Inc. (JaiMCO) is an entity that contracts with health care providers to provide health care services to patients enrolled in the State Medicaid program. Dr. Steven Bennett participated as a specialty care provider in the network of JaiMCO. Petitioner chose Dr. Bennett to treat a bunion on her foot that was causing her pain. After Dr. Bennett performed surgery to remove the bunion Petitioner developed gangrene, and her foot had to be partially amputated. Petitioner sought to hold JaiMCO liable for Dr. Bennett’s negligence on a theory of apparent agency, asserting that JaiMCO created the appearance that Dr. Bennett was its agent and that she reasonably relied on that appearance. A jury returned a verdict in Petitioner’s favor. The court of special appeals reversed, determining that the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) a managed care organization may be vicariously liable for the negligence of a network physician under a theory of apparent agency; but (2) even if Petitioner subjectively believed Dr. Bennett was an employee of JaiMCO, the belief was not reasonable under the facts of this case. View "Bradford v. Jai Med. Sys. Managed Care Org., Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law, Injury Law

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Petitioner had health care insurance as a member of the United Healthcare Select HMO (the HMO) when he visited a healthcare provider (GCM) for an x-ray of his knee. After Petitioner paid a bill he received from GCM for the x-ray exam he filed a complaint alleging that the bills GCM sent Petitioner were an illegal attempt to "balance bill" an HMO member in violation of State law and that the bills constituted an unfair and deceptive practice in violation of the Consumer Protection Act (the Act). The circuit court dismissed the complaint. The court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the state HMO law prohibiting balance billing by health care providers as part of the legal foundation for the establishment of HMOs does not include a right of action by an HMO member against a healthcare provider for violation of that prohibition; but (2) an HMO member may bring an action under the Act against a healthcare provider who improperly bills the member in violation of the state HMO law in a way that also violates the prohibition against unfair or deceptive trade practices in the Act.View "Scull v. Groover, Christie, & Merritt, P.C." on Justia Law

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Dozens of Jacksonville, Maryland households (Respondents) brought suit against Exxon Mobil Corporation for damages from an underground gasoline leak from an Exxon-owned gasoline service station that leaked approximately 26,000 gallons into the underground aquifer and contaminated wells supplying water to a number of households. Respondents sought compensatory and punitive damages based on allegations of fraudulent concealment, strict liability, trespass, punitive nuisance, and negligence. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Exxon with respect to the fraudulent concealment and punitive damages claims but found in favor of Respondents as to all other claims for compensatory damages. Exxon appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the awards for complete diminution of property value, damages for emotional distress, and damages for future medical monitoring costs. The court of special appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, reducing the $147 million in damages awarded to Respondents by more than half. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgments in favor of Respondents for diminution in property value, emotional distress, and medical monitoring, holding that the evidence was insufficient to support to the awards for these claims. Remanded. View "Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Ford" on Justia Law