For the past four years, the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) has actively opposed or attempted to gut proposed legislation in the Maryland General Assembly to provide consumer protection for hospital patients. The Maryland Hospital Patient’s Bill of Rights (House Bill 145/Senate Bill 301) would require hospitals to communicate to patients all of their existing lawful rights, including the right to receive treatment without discrimination and the right to receive information in a manner that the patient understands. The bill was supported by 41 legislators and dozens of advocacy groups, including the NAACP, AARP, Disability Rights Maryland, the Arc, American Association of University Women and the Mental Health Association of Maryland.
UMMS has complained about spending $145,000 for signage to inform patients of their rights. However, this amount is only a modest fraction of the $500,000 provided to Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D) for her “Healthy Holly” books, as reported in the April 4 Metro article “Lawmakers eye overhaul at UMMS.” Thankfully, the Hospital Patient’s Bill of Rights passed the General Assembly this year in a unanimous vote in both chambers, and the bill is moving to Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) desk for signature. We look forward to its full implementation by all Maryland hospitals, including UMMS.
Anna Palmisano, Rockville
The writer is coordinator of Marylanders for Patient Rights Coalition.