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Delaware Health Law Blog

Bill Authorizing Medical Practice Inspections Up for Consideration by Delaware’s General Assembly

The 146th General Assembly reconvened this week and one of the bills it may consider is SB51, which authorizes the Division of Professional Regulation to investigate complaints of unsafe or unsanitary conditions at any location where “medical or health-related treatment” is rendered, excluding hospitals, freestanding birthing centers, freestanding surgical centers or freestanding emergency centers. The bill also provides that a Delaware-licensed physician may be disciplined for maintaining an unsanitary or unsafe condition in his/her office. Complaints must be in writing, may not be anonymous, must be filed within 5 days of observing the complained-of condition, and can only be filed by a person over the age of 18 who has observed the condition and reported it to the staff at the location where the condition was observed. So while the proposed legislation does not give the Division free reign to conduct inspections of physicians’ offices, it authorizes discipline against Delaware physicians who operate their practices in an “unsafe” or “unsanitary” manner, leaving open to interpretation just what constitutes an “unsafe” or “unsanitary” condition.

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