10.32.02.10

.10 Sanctioning and Imposition of Fines.

A. General Application of Sanctioning Guidelines.

(1) Sections A and B of this regulation and Regulation .11 of this chapter do not apply to offenses for which a mandatory sanction is set by statute or regulation.

(2) Except as provided in §B of this regulation, for violations of Health Article §§14-404(a), 14-504 and 1-302, Annotated Code of Maryland, the Board shall impose a sanction not less severe than the minimum listed in the sanctioning guidelines nor more severe than the maximum listed in the sanctioning guidelines for each offense.

(3) Ranking of Sanctions.

(a) For the purposes of this regulation, the severity of sanctions is ranked as follows, from the least severe to the most severe:

(i) Reprimand;

(ii) Probation;

(iii) Suspension; and

(iv) Revocation.

(b) A stayed suspension in which the stay is conditioned on the completion of certain requirements is ranked as probation.

(c) A stayed suspension not meeting the criteria for §A(3)(b) of this regulation is ranked as a reprimand.

(d) A fine listed in the sanctioning guidelines may be imposed in addition to but not as a substitute for a sanction.

(e) The addition of a fine does not change the ranking of the severity of the sanction.

(4) The Board may impose more than one sanction, provided that the most severe sanction neither exceeds the maximum nor is less than the minimum sanction permitted in the chart.

(5) Any sanction may be accompanied by conditions reasonably related to the offense or to the rehabilitation of the offender. The inclusion of conditions does not change the ranking of the sanction.

(6) If a licensee has violated more than one ground for discipline as set out in the sanctioning guidelines:

(a) The sanction with the highest severity ranking should be used to determine which ground will be used in developing a sanction; and

(b) The Board may impose concurrent sanctions based on other grounds violated.

(7) Notwithstanding the sanctioning guidelines set forth in Regulation .11 of this chapter, in order to resolve a pending disciplinary action, the Board and the licensee may agree to a surrender of license or a consent order with terms, sanction, and fine agreed to by the Board, the administrative prosecutor, and the licensee.

(8) Depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, and to the extent that the facts and circumstances apply, the Board may consider the aggravating and mitigating factors set out in §B(5) and 65) of this regulation and may in its discretion determine, based on those factors, that an exception should be made and that the sanction in a particular case should fall outside the range of sanctions listed in the sanctioning guidelines.

(9) If the Board imposes a sanction that departs from the sanctioning guidelines set forth in Regulation .11 of this chapter, the Board shall state its reasons for doing so in its final decision and order.

B. Aggravating and Mitigating Factors.

(1) Depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, and to the extent that the facts and circumstances apply, the Board may consider the aggravating and mitigating factors set out in §B(5) and (6) of this regulation and may in its discretion determine, based on those factors, that an exception should be made and that the sanction in a particular case should fall outside the range of sanctions listed in the sanctioning guidelines.

(2) Nothing in this regulation requires the Board or an administrative law judge to make findings of fact with respect to any of these factors.

(3) A departure from the sanctioning guidelines set forth in Regulation .11 of this chapter is not a ground for any hearing or appeal of a Board action.

(4) The existence of one or more of these factors does not impose on the Board or an administrative law judge any requirement to articulate its reasoning for not exercising its discretion to impose a sanction outside of the range of sanctions set out in the sanctioning guidelines.

(5) Mitigating factors may include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) The absence of a prior disciplinary record;

(b) The offender self-reported the incident;

(c) The offender voluntarily admitted the misconduct, made full disclosure to the Board and was cooperative during the Board proceedings;

(d) The offender implemented remedial measures to correct or mitigate the harm arising from the misconduct;

(e) The offender made good faith efforts to make restitution or to rectify the consequences of the misconduct;

(f) The offender has been rehabilitated or exhibits rehabilitative potential;

(g) The misconduct was not premeditated;

(h) There was no potential harm to patients or the public or other adverse impact; or

(i) The incident was isolated and is not likely to recur.

(6) Aggravating factors may include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) The offender has a previous criminal or administrative disciplinary history;

(b) The offense was committed deliberately or with gross negligence or recklessness;

(c) The offense had the potential for or actually did cause patient harm;

(d) The offense was part of a pattern of detrimental conduct;

(e) The offender committed a combination of factually discrete offenses adjudicated in a single action;

(f) The offender pursued his or her financial gain over the patient’s welfare;

(g) The patient was especially vulnerable;

(h) The offender attempted to hide the error or misconduct from patients or others;

(i) The offender concealed, falsified or destroyed evidence, or presented false testimony or evidence;

(j) The offender did not cooperate with the investigation; or

(k) Previous attempts to rehabilitate the offender were unsuccessful.

C. Fines for Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.

(1) The Board may impose a fine as provided in §C(3) of this regulation for:

(a) Practicing medicine without a license in violation of Health Occupations Article, §14-601, Annotated Code of Maryland; or

(b) A violation of an order of cease and desist from practicing medicine without a license.

(2) Factors in determining the amount of a fine include, but are not limited to the following:

(a) The extent to which the respondent derived any financial benefit from the improper conduct;

(b) The willfulness of the improper conduct;

(c) The extent of actual or potential public harm caused by the improper conduct; and

(d) The deterrent effect of the fine.

(3) Range of Fines Imposed.

(a) Except as specified in §C(3)(b) of this regulation, the Board may impose fines as follows:

(i) For the first violation, not less than $1,000 and not more than $30,000;

(ii) For the second violation, not less than $10,000 and not more than $40,000; and

(iii) For the third violation, not less than $15,000 and not more than $50,000.

(b) If the conduct resulted in harm to any patient, the Board may consider each patient seen to be a separate violation when imposing a fine listed in §C(3)(a) of this regulation.

(4) The Board shall pay all monies collected pursuant to this section into the Board’s fund.

D. Other Fines.

(1) The Board shall impose a fine of $100 for a violation of Health Occupations Article, §14-505, Annotated Code of Maryland, and a fine of $100 for a violation of Health Occupations Article, §14-316(f), Annotated Code of Maryland.

(2) The Board shall pay all monies collected pursuant to §D(1) of this regulation into the Board’s fund.

E. Offenses Related to Continuing Medical Education Credits.

(1) First Offense of Failure to Document Credits.

(a) Except as provided in §E(2) or (3) of this regulation, if a licensee has submitted an application claiming the completion of continuing medical education credits and the licensee fails to document the completion of such continuing medical education credits when audited by the Board, the Board may impose a civil fine under Health Occupations Article, §14-316(d)(4), 14-5A-13(d)(2), 14-5B-12(d)(2), 14-5D-12(g), or 15-307(f), Annotated Code of Maryland, of up to $100 per missing continuing medical education credit in lieu of a sanction under Health Occupations Article, §14-404, 14-5A-17, 14-5B-14, 14-5D-14, or 15-314, Annotated Code of Maryland.

(b) Section E(1)(a) of this regulation does not limit the Board’s authority to require completion of the missing continuing medical education credits.

(2) Willful Falsification.

(a) If a licensee has willfully falsified an application with respect to continuing medical education credits, the licensee may be charged under one or more of the following, as appropriate:

(i) Health Occupations Article, §14-404(a)(3), 14-5A-17(a)(3), 14-5B-14(a)(3), 14-5D-14(a)(3), or 15-314(a)(3), Annotated Code of Maryland;

(ii) Health Occupations Article, §14-404(a)(11), 14-5A-17(a)(10), 14-5B-14(a)(10), 14-5D-14(a)(10), or 15-314(a)(11), Annotated Code of Maryland; and

(iii) Health Occupations Article, §14-404(a)(36) or 15-314(a)(36), Annotated Code of Maryland.

(b) Upon a finding of a violation, the Board may impose any discipline authorized under Health Occupations Article, §14-404(a), 14-405.1, 14-5A-17, 14-5B-17, 14-5D-14, 15-314, or 15-316, Annotated Code of Maryland, and the sanctioning guidelines.

(3) Licensees Previously Disciplined Under §E(1) or (2) of this Regulation.

(a) If a licensee has been previously fined or otherwise disciplined under §E(1) or (2) of this regulation, the Board may, for a subsequent offense relating to continuing medical education credits, charge a licensee under one or more of the following, as appropriate:

(i) Health Occupations Article, §14-404(a)(3), 14-5A-17(a)(3), 14-5B-14(a)(3), 14-5D-14(a)(3), or 15-314(a)(3), Annotated Code of Maryland;

(ii) Health Occupations Article, §14-404(a)(11), 14-5A-17(a)(10), 14-5B-14(a)(10), 14-5D-14(a)(10), or 15-314(a)(11), Annotated Code of Maryland; and

(iii) Health Occupations Article, §14-404(a)(36) or 15-314(a)(36), Annotated Code of Maryland.

(b) Upon a finding of a violation, the Board may impose any discipline authorized under Health Occupations Article, §14-404(a), 14-405.1, 14-5A-17, 14-5B-17, 14-5D-14, 15-314, or 15-316, Annotated Code of Maryland, and the sanctioning guidelines for a subsequent offense.

(c) The Board may not apply the sanction described in §E(1) of this regulation in determining a sanction for a licensee previously fined or disciplined for an offense related to continuing medical education credits.

(4) The Board shall pay all monies collected pursuant to this section into the State’s General Fund.

F. Payment of Fines.

(1) An individual shall pay to the Board any fine imposed under this regulation within 15 calendar days of the date of the order, unless the order specifies otherwise.

(2) Filing an appeal under State Government Article, §10-222, Annotated Code of Maryland, does not stay payment of a fine imposed by the Board pursuant to this regulation.

(3) If an individual fails to pay, in whole or in part, a fine imposed by the Board pursuant to this regulation, the Board may not restore, reinstate, or renew a license until the fine has been paid in full.

(4) In its discretion, the Board may refer all cases of delinquent payment to the Central Collection Unit of the Department of Budget and Management to institute and maintain proceedings to ensure prompt payment.