Essay Example: Legal and Ethical Considerations in Health Care

Published: 2022-05-30
Essay Example: Legal and Ethical Considerations in Health Care
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Law Ethics Healthcare
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1770 words
15 min read

Over the last century, there have been rapid developments in healthcare. Using advanced diagnostic methods and tools, healthcare practitioners can now diagnose various diseases and illnesses faster and with more accuracy than ever before. Management of diseases has become efficient and useful because there are refined medications for multiple conditions and different patients that have no or fewer side effects (Pozgar, 2014). The medical sector is using less aggressive methods of management with patients and has higher chances of survival as they can recover faster. This paper seeks to point out all possible legal and ethical considerations that healthcare stakeholders are affiliated with and the possible compliance issues.

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Darrow, Sarpatwari, Avorn and Kesselheim (2015) mentioned that the healthcare sector relies so much on technology and forces in the market influences the decision-making process of healthcare professionals. Rendering to Cheery and Jacob (2016), the primary issue of non-maleficence, beneficence, justice, confidentiality, and autonomy are the most important factors that ought to guide the decision-making process of healthcare practitioners on a daily basis. Llegal and ethical principles stay the same for the situations above.

The transformation of healthcare in the recent past has attracted investors of various backgrounds with the motives of making profits. There is a feeling as well, that health care practices are turning out to be more impersonal, and that as people increasingly continue to depend on technology, there is a rise in the treatment costs associated with health care. Patients are frequently becoming dissatisfied; especially those individuals whose expectations are not met (Herring, 2015). This phenomenon has led to increased cases of litigation.

Health Care Improvement Act

There were many malpractice suits filed in the medical field in the 1970s and 1980s. These malpractice suits were large because physicians would relocate from one state to another without disclosing their previous medical malpractice as far as payment and adverse actions are concerned (Steinbrook, 2009, p. 1059).

Plan for Addressing Issues Concerning Healthcare Act

After finding out that many practitioners engaged in dangerous acts and careless deeds in healthcare, the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (HCQIA) were created to work on the perpetrators of Acts and laws. HCOIA was passed as a law to create a system where such physicians can be tracked. The order came to be known as the National Practitioner Data Bank. The lack of will to engage in the activities of peer review was also one of the reasons why medical malpractice suits were increasing.

On the other hand, Obama (2016) mentioned that there was an urgent need in the country to deter the incompetent physicians from relocating from one state to another without disclosing their incompetence or damaging performance. The plan developed was in conjunction with the federal law which was enacted to try to provide a solution to the escalating problem in the country through peer review that granted immunity for the damages of the civil money for those who took part in the activities of peer review. According to Rakestraw (2009), the peer review system that was supposed to be preventing physicians from relocating from state to state generated many misdemeanors (Nijm, 2003, p. 545). This phenomenon was prevalent because the HCQIA could not specify and categorize the nature of a misdemeanor.

There was a clique of insider physicians who had a significant influence on the peer review committee as well as the credential positions and assured they eliminated their fellow physicians whom they considered competitors. Physicians who were not in good graces with the peer review committee were mistreated and discriminated against (Robinson, 2012).

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

President Bill Clinton, in 1996, signed into law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act assured that Americans who were changing jobs, their health care coverage was still intact. The Act included a provision that put to task the managers of patients' health information, how they use it, share it, store it, and dispose of it (Robinson, 2012). It also intended to simplify the health insurance administration. It also aimed at combating abuse, fraud, and waste in health care and health insurance.

The American's with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The law aims at prohibiting discrimination against any Americans with issues of disability in their places of work as well as other aspects of public life, for example, private and public places, transportation, schools, and jobs. This federal law meant that persons with the disability were also guaranteed access to the same opportunities and have the same rights as those without disabilities (Friedman & Hayden, 2017). Persons with disabilities were allowed by law to have equal access to services provided by the federal and state governments, accommodations, telecommunications, transportation, and employment.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 1993

This is a federal law that provides a specific group of employees with a job-protected leave of 12 weeks, unpaid, every year. However, the law allows for their health benefits to remain intact while on their vacation. The bill is aimed at helping employees find a balance between their family and work roles (Lopez & Blair, 2018). It also takes in employers' legal interests while trying to maintain and promote equal opportunity as far as employment is concerned. The leave may be obtained because of giving birth, to take care of a close member of the family such as parents, children, and or spouses for medical reasons.

Fair Labor Standards

The provision seeks to protect practitioners who work on overtime. It states that all employees on overtime must be compensated according to the overtime pay directives. There should be Time and Attendance Record to enable all overtime employees to work smoothly by the overtime pay.

Conflict of the Laws with Health Administration

These laws may be in direct conflict with both health administrators and patients in many ways. As far as health administrators are concerned, when the physicians become employees, they are exposed to new challenges human resources. When the physician is permitted to take a one year leave, health administrators must find a way to replace them (Nadeau, 2015). As employees, physicians have the right to form and/or join unions which has the potential to be burdensome to health administrators. On the other hand, according to Armenia et al. (2014), the patients feel that these labor laws deny them an opportunity to be served by the physicians especially when they are on leave, or strike and this may lead to more suffering and the possibility of deaths. The best way to minimize the conflict developed regarding the laws, there should be some adjustment that should connect strict requirement by the law for the perpetrators of the laws.

Laws that Govern General Staff and Labor Relations and the Conflict Developed from the Perspective of the Patient

HIPAA in Relation with ANA Code of Ethics

According to HIPAA, no individual will be denied health coverage based on the patient's pre-existing conditions, claims of history or health status. This law and labor act provides grounds for protecting patients from any form of discrimination. Regarding Chen and Benusa (2017), no patient should be discriminated from the required medical approach due to age. The law is relating to ANA code of ethics. According to Kangasniemi, Pakkanen and Korhonen (2015, p. 1749), "the nurses' commitment to patients should be fully administered regardless of whether the patient is an individual population or community. Nurses or public health officials should not take advantage of a patient being a single individual and assign a single nurse to serve them. Provision four of ANA code of ethics states that "nurses have the authority, accountability, and responsibility to enhance nursing practice while making decisions." Therefore, nurses and medical practitioners' actions and tasks made should be consistent and should aim at providing excellent and optimal health regardless of the health condition of the patient (Kangasniemi et al., 2015). Provision nine of ANA laws and ethical standards necessitate the need for maintaining collective articulated values maintaining professional standards, maintaining integrity and integration of principles of social justice throughout the nursing and health policy (Kangasniemi et al., 2015) There should be social justice to all patients regardless of their state of mind and health.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

It is a federal law that covers all individuals and groups of both employees and employers seeking coverage or those who were previously covered or who never had an intention to get a cover unconditionally. In this legal Act, the patient's records could have been against a cover. Thus this Act protects them from any discrimination that might arise with the fact that the patients' history regarding the insurance scheme was unruly (Protection & Act, 2010). . The policy requires organizations to stipulate health insurance marketplaces by setting up online marketplaces to enable human subjects to obtain health insurance exchanges.

HIPAA Regulations and Compliance

Every time a patient visits a health care provider; a pharmacist, dentist, nurse, advanced practice provider, a doctor, or has been admitted to a healthcare facility, their health information is recorded. Before the advent of computers, this information would be recorded and kept in paper files, which were locked and held in the office or a storeroom. In today's world, where data is transferred electronically, it is necessary that the confidentiality of this information is protected (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003, p. 6). As explained earlier, President Bill Clinton, in 1996, signed into law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The law included provisions that called for the safe and confidential handling of patient information, how it is used, stored, shared, and disposed of as well (Schulz et al., 2016). It was intended to help combat abuse, fraud, and waste in the healthcare and health insurance industries (McKnight & Franko, 2016, p. 129). HIPAA Act protects patient medical records that are kept by health care providers, conversations regarding a patient by health care providers, patient information in the computer systems of health care insurers, billing information of patients, and other medical information and records. The law has various sections about consumer control over patient's health records, boundaries on using health information, security of health records and information, accountability for the information as well as privacy protection and public responsibility (Legal, 2014).

HIPAA Compliance Issues

The identifiable health information that is under the set regulation include and which leads to compliance issues include:

The various requirements by HIPAA are somehow voluminous and complex when making a follow-up of ensuring that all requirements are adhered to.

The patient cannot be able to secure email transmission concerning their protected information to any other medical provider due to HIPAA regulations.

In spite of the fact that a patient can sign to allow their information to be used or transmitted to other practitioners, HIPAA regulations still consider the matter to be an irregularity (Legal, 2014).

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