.08 Complaint Investigations.

A. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this subtitle, each hospital and residential treatment center shall be open to inspections by the Department to investigate and resolve any complaint concerning patient care, safety, medical and nursing supervision, physical environment, sanitation, or dietary matters.

B. Complaints.

(1) To resolve expeditiously a complaint that alleges the existence of any non-life-threatening deficiency, the Department shall refer the complaint directly to the hospital.

(2) If appropriate, issues relating to the practice of medicine or the licensure or conduct of a health professional shall be referred to the hospital and may be referred to the appropriate licensure Board for resolution.

(3) If the Department determines that the hospital has not satisfactorily addressed the referred complaint or if the complaint alleges the existence of a life-threatening deficiency, the Department shall conduct an independent investigation. When conducting its independent investigation, the Department shall use:

(a) For an accredited hospital, the standards of review of The Joint Commission;

(b) For an accredited special rehabilitation hospital, the standards of review of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities; or

(c) For a nonaccredited hospital, the standards adopted by the Secretary under this subtitle.