The Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) is the agency within the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene charged with monitoring the quality of care in Maryland's approximately 14,000 health care and community residential programs.
The OHCQ licenses and certifies the states health care facilities. Through licensing, a facility gains the authority to operate or do business in the state; through certification, a facility obtains the right to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The OHCQ used state and federal regulations, which set forth the minimum standards for provision of care and conducts surveys to determine compliance. When problems or deficiencies are noted, the OHCQ initiates administrative action against facilities that violate rules and regulations. If a facility fails to correct problems and is unable or unwilling to do so, the OHCQ may impose sanctions such a license revocation, fines, bans on admission, or other restrictions on the operating license.
The OHCQ also educates providers, consumers, and other stakeholders though written materials, presentations, its website, and at conference and seminars.