32.03.04.32

.32 Civil Money Penalties.

A. Violations Warranting Penalties. The Secretary, or the Secretary’s designee, may impose a civil money penalty against a provider of congregate housing services for:

(1) A violation of this chapter or the provider’s subsidy services agreement that results in conditions presenting an imminent danger or substantial probability of death or serious physical harm to a participant;

(2) A violation of a participant's rights specified in Regulation .10 of this chapter; or

(3) Noncompliance with State or local fire safety regulations.

B. Notice of Violation. If the Department issues a notice of a violation under §A of this regulation, that notice shall provide:

(1) The time by which the provider shall submit an acceptable plan of correction to the Department;

(2) The time by which the provider shall substantially correct the identified violation, which time may not be less than 30 days; and

(3) That failure to submit an acceptable plan of correction as required by §B(1) of this regulation or to correct the identified violation as required by §B(2) of this regulation may result in an order imposing a civil money penalty under §D of this regulation.

C. Action if Violation Not Timely Corrected.

(1) After the expiration of the time set forth in §B(2) of this regulation the Department shall inspect the facility to determine whether the violation or violations have been corrected.

(2) If the violation or violations have not been corrected, the Secretary, or the Secretary's designee, may:

(a) Extend the time frame during which the violation shall be corrected; or

(b) Impose a civil money penalty under §D of this regulation.

D. Amount and Limitation of Civil Money Penalty.

(1) The Secretary, or the Secretary's designee, may impose a civil money penalty in the amount of $20 per violation per participant for each day that a violation remains uncorrected beyond the expiration of the time set forth in §B(2) of this regulation. A civil money penalty imposed under this regulation may not exceed $1,000 per violation or $5,000 in total.

(2) In setting the amount of a civil money penalty under §D(1) of this regulation, the following factors shall be considered:

(a) The number, nature, and seriousness of the violations;

(b) The degree of risk to the health, life, or physical safety of the participants caused by the violations;

(c) The efforts made by the provider to correct the violations;

(d) Whether the amount of the proposed civil money penalty will jeopardize the financial ability of the provider to continue operating; and

(e) Other factors as justice may require.

E. Notice. If a civil money penalty is imposed under this regulation, the Secretary, or the Secretary's designee, shall provide written notice to a provider of the imposition of the civil money penalty. The notice shall be served on the provider by certified mail and shall include:

(1) The basis on which the order is made;

(2) Each regulation or statute violated;

(3) Each penalty imposed and the total amount of the civil money penalty imposed;

(4) The manner in which the amount of the civil money penalty was calculated;

(5) A statement of the provider's right to request a reduction; and

(6) A statement on how to file an administrative appeal, including all relevant time requirements.

F. Appeal. If a civil money penalty is imposed under this regulation, the provider shall have the right to appeal from the order in accordance with Regulation .33 of this chapter.

G. Payment of Penalty; Civil Action; Deposit in General Fund.

(1) A provider shall pay all penalties to the Department within 10 days after the provider receives a final order imposing a civil money penalty.

(2) An order imposing a civil money penalty is final when the provider has exhausted all opportunities to contest the penalty in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, State Government Article, Title 10, Subtitle 2, Annotated Code of Maryland.

(3) If a provider does not comply with §G of this regulation, the Department may file a civil action to recover the penalty.

(4) The Department shall deposit all penalties collected under §G of this regulation into the General Fund.

H. Enhanced Penalties. The Secretary, or Secretary's designee, may impose a penalty three times the amount set forth in §D of this regulation if a sanction has been imposed on the provider for the same violation within 2 years before issuance of the notice of violation.

I. Requests for Penalty Reduction.

(1) A provider of congregate housing services may request a reduction of a civil money penalty imposed. The request shall:

(a) Be in writing;

(b) State the reasons for the request; and

(c) Be made within 10 days of the provider's receipt of the notice of the imposition of the civil money penalty.

(2) A request for reduction of a civil money penalty does not interrupt the accrual of the penalties under §D of this regulation.

(3) If a provider properly requests a reduction of a penalty under §I(1) of this regulation, the Department shall confer informally with the provider about whether to reduce the civil money penalty. The Department shall schedule the conference within 14 days of receipt of a request for reduction.

(4) The Secretary, or the Secretary's designee, shall consider, for the purpose of reducing the civil money penalty, such factors as:

(a) The provider's history of violations;

(b) The provider's current and past diligence in correcting violations;

(c) The number and severity of the violations; and

(d) Other factors which the Secretary, or Secretary's designee, considers appropriate in the particular circumstances.

(5) If the Secretary, or Secretary's designee, grants a provider's request for reduction of a civil money penalty, the Secretary, or Secretary's designee, shall impose as a condition on the reduction of the penalty the correction of all violations.

(6) The Secretary, or Secretary's designee, shall issue a written determination either granting or denying a request for reduction of a civil money penalty and shall state the reasons for the determination.