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Office of Health Care Quality

The Maryland Department of Health's Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) is the licensing agent for Maryland nursing homes. The OHCQ is responsible for deciding whether a nursing home meets state licensing requirements and the federal Medicare and Medicaid standards for safety and quality. OHCQ may also be referred to as the “state survey agency.” Teams of surveyors inspect each nursing home in Maryland approximately every 12 to 15 months to ensure that the nursing home is operating according to Maryland regulations.

Regular Surveys

During the regular multi-day survey, surveyors:

  • Review the residents' medical records and observe care to see that the care given to residents is sufficient to prevent an unnecessary decline in the residents' health
  • Meet with and observe residents to determine whether the residents have a good quality of life at the nursing home
  • Determine whether residents' rights are respected
  • Inspect the nursing home for cleanliness and safety
  • Determine whether dietary/food services are in compliance with the law

Surveyors are required to interview approximately 10 percent of the nursing home's residents during the licensing survey. Residents and family members should take advantage of this opportunity to discuss any problems or concerns regarding care provided at the nursing home.

The results of licensing surveys are written in a formal report, sometimes referred to as the “deficiency report.” The nursing home is required to respond with a plan of correction to each negative finding (deficiency) noted in the survey.

You have the right to read the results of the most recent Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) survey. The nursing home is required to make it available in the main lobby, or upon the request of any resident or visitor. You may also review the nursing home's response (plan of correction), which must address all deficiencies found.

Complaint Investigation

If you or the local Ombudsman Program have not been able to resolve a problem, or if the problem involves serious abuse or neglect, you may call or write the Office of Health Care Quality to request an investigation of the problem. Complaints may be made anonymously. Surveyors may visit a facility any time, and without notice, to investigate a complaint. They will prepare a written report of their investigation.

Maryland law requires timely investigations. If the nature of the complaint is such that residents are in immediate danger, the Office of Health Care Quality must investigate the complaint within two days. If a resident has been harmed, the agency must investigate within 10 days. All other complaints must be investigated in a timely manner.

Contact Information

Office of Health Care Quality
Spring Grove Hospital Center - Bland Bryant Building
55 Wade Avenue
Catonsville, Maryland 21228
Phone: 410-402-8200
Toll-free: 1-877-402-8218