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Wrap Up Essay

3707 words - 15 pages

Week Two Wrap Up – The Fabric of Healthcare Law By Mary Nell Cummings In week two we discussed how legislation and other laws affect healthcare delivery. While there is no need to understand any law in detail at this point in the course, it is important to understand the source of law. Also, it is important to understand how law affects your organization, as well as how your organization complies with legal requirements. Finally, your understanding of the sources of law, and the process of regulation will help you to make good decisions as a health care administrator. The Sources of Law Many people believe that all law comes from the Congress or from state legislatures. They believe that law ...view middle of the document...

Thus, common law is always evolving. While common law may be at the foundation of contract law, other laws also influence contracts. There may be additional rules and duties imposed by specific statutes and specific regulations. In addition, a state or the federal constitution may be relevant. Finally, there is a rule in common law that a contract cannot be enforced if it is for an illegal purpose or result. For example, a contract will not be enforceable if it violates constitutional rights. Public policy also requires some exceptions to contract enforcement. Tort Law: If healthcare delivery’s heart is contract law, tort law is its immune system. Tort law is an ancient form of common law that recognizes a duty owed to a person, a violation of that duty that results in an injury to the person, and a right to compensation (damages) for the injury. The torts most often associated with healthcare are malpractice (for negligent medical care) and product liability (for medicine and devices that cause harm). The purpose of tort law is to help route out bad practices and keep bad practices to a minimum. Is it working? If there were no tort liability for malpractice or for medicines that cause undisclosed harm, the most a patient could recover is their out of pocket expense. Would this be enough of a deterrent for the healthcare industry? Like contract law, tort law is also influenced by constitutions, statutes, regulations. For example, some state legislatures have passed statutes that limit the amount of damages a party can recover for pain and suffering.

In addition, tort law is influenced by codes of ethics. Often, it is these codes of ethics that describe the duty a doctor may have toward a patient. Statutory, Administrative and Constitutional Law Constitutional law is good place to start when studying law. This is because the Federal constitution places limits on the Federal government and the state government to pass laws and enact regulations. Supreme Law. The Constitution of the United States creates and limits the power of government. It provides that all powers not specifically enumerated to the federal government or specifically withheld from the states rest with state government. This means that in certain areas federal law will be the supreme law of the land, and state law that contradicts federal law will be ineffective. It also means that certain areas of healthcare law are reserved to the states, and certain areas are the remit of the federal government. State and Federal. State government has the traditional authority to pass laws to protect public health, safety and welfare (this is called the police power). Thus, state laws determine things like licensing requirements, vaccination law. The federal government can pass legislation only under one of its enumerated powers. One of the broadest powers granted the federal government (given today’s complex economies) is the Commerce Clause, an enumerated power in the United States...

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