Health

General Health Articles

Many people do not have either a living will or an advance directive. This article outlines some issues that go into making these important decisions.
The Maryland AIDS Drug Assistance Program (MADAP) ensures that people living with HIV/AIDS in Maryland have access to certain medications they need to help them stay healthy.
A federal law called the Affordable Care Act is creating a new way to get health insurance. Maryland has set up an online health insurance shopping site called Maryland Health Connection, to guide residents through the process.
The Montgomery County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law (Sick & Safe Leave Law) requires employers to provide each employee with earned sick and safe leave for work performed in Montgomery County.
In Maryland, possession or use of less than 10 grams of marijuana is not a criminal offense. Possession or use of up to 10 grams of marijuana is still illegal, however, and carries civil penalties.
This page lists some programs for free or reduced price medications. Eligibility varies.
The Maryland Court of Appeals has held that medical care is the responsibility of the parent. This article outlines some rights in regard to minors.

Advance Directives

An advance directive allows you to decide who you want to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
At 18, your child may enter into contracts and sign legal documents for herself. As she becomes an adult, she may wish to give you some access to information and authority to make decisions in order to have your continued help. For example, she can put in place a HIPAA release authorization form, an advance health care directive, and a durable general power of attorney.

Alcoholism/Substance Abuse

In Maryland, possession or use of less than 10 grams of marijuana is not a criminal offense. Possession or use of up to 10 grams of marijuana is still illegal, however, and carries civil penalties.

Disability Law

Guardianship is a court proceeding. When an adult is unable to make personal decisions, such as medical decisions, or to handle his or her own property, a court can appoint a guardian.
This article discusses the Maryland Accessibility Code, which provides certain rights to individuals with disabilities and their families when they rent living space.
What happens when someone becomes disabled and can no longer manage his or her financial affairs? Perhaps that person has dementia, suffered a stroke, or has some other ailment or injury that renders that person unable to act. That person’s financial affairs must be put in order, and kept in order, so that the financial needs of that person can be taken care as long as possible. Often, the answer to that question is to initiate a guardianship proceeding on behalf of that disabled adult.
Establishing a guardianship is a formal, public, legal process. It is initiated when someone files a petition with a Maryland circuit court to be appointed guardian for an “alleged disabled person.” It should be noted that a disabled person is always an “alleged” disabled person until that person is determined by a court to be disabled, based on competent medical evidence, affidavits or opinions. Prior to that determination, a person is presumed to have capacity. If the court determines that a person is disabled, the court will appoint someone, most often an interested person, to serve as guardian, and issue an order setting out the terms and conditions of the appointment.
Interested persons play a pivotal role in guardianship proceedings. For example, only an interested person can petition for guardianship.
Whether or not the guardianship is contested, a hearing on the guardianship petition will be conducted in the circuit court for the county in which the petition was filed. The two main issues in a guardianship hearing are (1) whether a guardian is needed (i.e., is the alleged disabled person really disabled?) and (2) who is the most appropriate guardian for the disabled person. The Petitioner has the burden to prove both of these issues.
The Maryland Medical Assistance Program, also known as Medicaid, is a very important program for people with disabilities and provides many healthcare services that can enable people with disabilities to live in the community or return to the community from institutions such as hospitals or nursing homes. The Maryland Disability Law Center, the Protection & Advocacy System for the rights of Marylanders with disabilities, has a number of booklets on the services and programs available under Medical Assistance including one booklet concerning children’s services, one concerning services for adults, and one related to coverage of communication devices. All the booklets are available in Spanish translations.

Insurance

Maryland law requires certain benefits to be in health insurance policies. If an insurance company denies coverage for a treatment, consumers may appeal to the Maryland Insurance Administration.
A federal law called the Affordable Care Act is creating a new way to get health insurance. Maryland has set up an online health insurance shopping site called Maryland Health Connection, to guide residents through the process.

Medicaid/Medicare

The Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program (SPDAP) is a subsidy program established by the Maryland General Assembly in 2005 to provide financial assistance to moderate-income Maryland residents who are eligible for Medicare and are enrolled in a prescription drug plan.
Medical Assistance (also called Medicaid) is a program that pays the medical bills of people who have low income and cannot afford medical care.
Medicare is health insurance for people age 65 or older, under 65 with certain disabilities, and any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). ESRD is permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant. The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services if you meet certain conditions.
Medicare Part C, also known as "Medicare Advantage" is an alternative to coverage under Medicare Parts A and B.
This program helps Maryland Residents enrolled in Medical Assistance, HealthChoice, Primary Adult Care (PAC), Family Planning, or Medicare Part D pay for medically necessary prescriptions.
The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program is a state program to help people with lower income pay for out-of-pocket Medicare expenses, such as deductibles, co-payments and premiums.
Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) & Qualified Individual Program (QI) pay the Medicare Part B insurance premiums for Part B participants who have trouble paying premiums.
Many older taxpayers have Medicare premiums deducted from their Social Security checks each month and forget to take the deduction at the end of the year.
This article answers frequently asked questions about medical assistance and nursing home care. Prepared by: Long Term Care Assistance Project, Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.
Medical assistance in Maryland is provided through a large variety of state and federal programs. This overview provides basic information about four categories of help that are available, as well as links to more detailed information about specific programs. The four categories are Medicaid, Medicare, the Maryland Health Connection, and a set of state programs designed to help with prescription drugs.
The Maryland Medical Assistance Program, also known as Medicaid, is a very important program for people with disabilities and provides many healthcare services that can enable people with disabilities to live in the community or return to the community from institutions such as hospitals or nursing homes. The Maryland Disability Law Center, the Protection & Advocacy System for the rights of Marylanders with disabilities, has a number of booklets on the services and programs available under Medical Assistance including one booklet concerning children’s services, one concerning services for adults, and one related to coverage of communication devices. All the booklets are available in Spanish translations.

Nursing Homes/Assisted Living

An ombudsman is a third party that acts to investigate and resolve complaints involving residents of long-term care facilities. The Ombudsman is an advocate whose goal is to promote the highest possible quality of life for residents.
Assisted living is a residential program that provides housing, supervision, personal care services, health related services, or a combination of these to residents who are unable to perform activities of daily living or who need help performing them.
Under the Medicaid Waiver, the federal government "waives" the requirement that services be provided in a nursing facility and pays for home and community based services for those who otherwise go to a nursing home.
Your treatment, care and services must be adequate, appropriate, and promote your social, emotional, physical and spiritual health. For example, you have a right to a service plan based on an assessment of your needs; you also have a right to three meals and additional snacks each day.
Issues to consider before you sign.
In Maryland, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) offer older adults a variety of services and care facilities, ranging from independent living arrangements to nursing home care. This article discusses the issues making a decision.
This article answers frequently asked questions about medical assistance and nursing home care. Prepared by: Long Term Care Assistance Project, Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.
This article describes the rights that nursing home residents have under state and federal law and regulations.
This FAQ covers the rights of nursing home residents when the facility moves to discharge or transfer the resident.
Residents of nursing homes have certain rights.

Youth

The Maryland Court of Appeals has held that medical care is the responsibility of the parent. This article outlines some rights in regard to minors.
The Children's Medical Services Program assists families in planning and obtaining specialty medical and rehabilitative care for children who have or are at risk for chronic illnesses or disabling conditions which interfere with normal growth and development.
In Maryland, possession or use of less than 10 grams of marijuana is not a criminal offense. Possession or use of up to 10 grams of marijuana is still illegal, however, and carries civil penalties.