ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The professional license boards in charge of investigating complaints against Maryland nurses and therapists failed to investigate many complaints promptly according to a new report. That’s a big problem since professionals accused of misconduct are allowed to continue to practice until investigations are complete.

The audit, conducted by the Joint Audit and Evaluation Committee, chaired by Senator Clarence K. Lam, M.D. and Delegate Carol L. Krimm, revealed some shocking numbers.

The report covered 4 years from 2015 and 2019. The committee reviewed the Maryland Department of Health Regulatory Services. Regulatory services are comprised of 22 professional boards that monitor health care professionals in Maryland and the Office of Health Care Quality which monitors health care facilities in the state.

According to the findings, during this period the Board of Nursing received 8,238 complaints. A whopping 3,272 of those complaints were still under investigation as of March 2020. Close to 3,000 of those complaints had been open for more than one year.

Additionally, the Office of Health Care Quality failed to perform annual license inspections for several assisted living and developmental disabilities service providers.
The report said some of the boards did a poor job of handling finances and controlling security and failed to protect critical data.

According to the findings, some of the shortcomings may be linked to insufficient funds to operate the individual boards.

Both the Board of Nursing and the Board of Therapists and Counselors agreed with the findings of the audit. Both agencies made changes in their procedures to attempt to address complaints in a more timely fashion.

The report suggested that some of the licensing and other functions could be consolidated to save money and increase efficiency.

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