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DHMH : Outpatient Surgical Centers

Request for Public Comment: Outpatient Surgical Centers
 
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is seeking public comment related to the oversight of outpatient surgical centers, including cosmetic surgical centers. 
 
Under Health-General §19–3B–01(c), a "freestanding ambulatory facility" includes an "ambulatory surgical facility," which is defined under Health-General §19–3B–01(b((1) as meaning "any center, service, office facility, or other entity that: (i) Operates primarily for the purpose of providing surgical services to patients requiring a period of postoperative observation but not requiring overnight hospitalization; and (ii) Seeks reimbursement from payors as an ambulatory surgery center."
 
Because some surgical centers do not seek reimbursement from third party payors as an ambulatory surgical center, they do not meet the definition of an "ambulatory surgical facility" and therefore are not freestanding ambulatory care facilities that require a license from the Office of Health Care Quality.
 
Although these surgical centers do not fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Office of Health Care Quality, Chapter 709 of 2010 authorizes the State Board of Physicians to discipline certain licensees that perform cosmetic surgical procedures in office or facilities that are not accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities, the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, or The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, or certified to participate in the Medicare Program. 
 
Questions for Public Comment
 
1.      Does the current authority of the State Board of Physicians to discipline physicians who perform cosmetic surgical procedures in offices or facilities offer adequate protections to the health and safety of surgery patients?
 
2.      What are the potential benefits to including additional surgery centers in Maryland under oversight such as 19-3B-01(c)? 
 
3.      If Maryland were to expand oversight to additional surgery centers in Maryland, which centers should be included and what standards applied?
 
4.      What are the potential risks and challenges to including additional surgery centers in Maryland under oversight such as 19-3B-01(c)?
 
5.      Should the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene support legislation in the General Assembly to expand oversight of surgical centers in Maryland? 
 
Comments may be submitted by mail to Michele Phinney, Director, Office of Regulation and Policy Coordination, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 201 W. Preston St., Room 512, Baltimore, MD 21201, or by email to dhmh.regs@maryland.gov, or by fax to 410-767-6483.  Please submit comments by October 26, 2012.