Legal Problems in Healthcare

| December 21, 2015

Legal Problems in Healthcare

This is a project on a topic of your own choosing. When picking the project topic, consider an issue or actual “real life” legal problem that is timely and presents a dilemma for the health care provider, health care entity, and/or health care industry as a whole. For this project, you must write a 10-12 page (double-spaced) letter addressed to a colleague, the administrator of the health care institution in question, or your state or federal legislator, as appropriate, in which you do the following:

1. Describe and analyze a legal problem of concern to a health care provider, health care institution, and/or health care industry, including how the legal problem arose.

2. Identify the legal principles and issues involved in the problem along with all the relevant facts.

3. Develop recommendations for a resolution of this problem as well as suggestions on how to implement those recommendations.

4. Discuss any and all intended and possible unintended consequences of your recommendations.

You may choose either of the following:

a. A legal problem that arose for you as a health care provider or that arose in a health care setting in which you work or have worked.

b. A health care related legal problem that you found in a recent (past three months) magazine, health care journal, or newspaper article.

If you choose “a” above, you must mask the identities of the institution and individuals involved, except, of course, for references to yourself. If you choose “b” above, you must cite the specific magazine, health care journal, or newspaper article in the written assignment itself.

FINAL PROJECT GUIDELINES

As you are writing a “letter” for your Final Project, your writing style may be less formal and more conversational than it would be in a traditional research paper. However, you are still expected to respect certain formalities. Below are general guidelines for completing your Final Project; you are encouraged to contact me by e-mail if you have any questions.

In your letter, you will describe and analyze a legal problem of concern to a
health care provider, health care institution, and/or health care industry, including how the legal problem arose; identify the legal principles and issues involved in the problem along with all the relevant facts; develop recommendations for a resolution of this problem as well as suggestions on how to implement those recommendations; and discuss any and all intended and possible unintended consequences of your recommendations. In a way, your letter is “argumentative” writing in the nicest sense of the word, since you are arguing that a legal problem that may not be recognized as such exists and you are arguing in favor of, or against, a particular resolution to the problem.

Legal theories and principles should be cited to support your argument or position. You must also acknowledge and discuss any legal theories and principles that do not support your argument or position. For example, in the Hightower case discussed in an earlier lesson, attorneys for the Hightowers will argue that the law recognizes an organ recipient’s right to know the health and social status of the donor, whereas attorneys for the hospital and the health care providers involved will argue that the law recognizes an organ donor’s right to privacy and recognizes an obligation on the part of health care providers to only inform recipients of foreseeable risks. Both sides will present the legal theories, legal principles, and any case law that support their arguments or positions. Regardless of which side an attorney represents, that lawyer must also acknowledge any legal principles and case law that support the other side, and then argue (if possible) why those principles or cases do not apply or should not apply in this case. Not only is this an ethical practice, but the practice promotes the credibility of both the attorney and the attorney’s arguments. This holds true for students too.

Support your recommendations for a resolution to the problem in a clear and reasoned manner, using your common sense and past experiences as well as what you have learned in the course. You are encouraged to interview individuals in the health care or legal fields and to use what you have learned from those interviews with appropriate attribution (citation). However, you are also expected to use a minimum of five written source materials/resources and to cite them appropriately. Your textbook may be one source. An encyclopedia, including Wikipedia, is not an acceptable resource for this project. In utilizing references, footnotes, etc., please use the APA formatting style.

Two additional guidelines:

First, in presenting the problem and your recommendations, avoid the Agatha Christie Syndrome: do not assume that the person to whom you address the letter shares your knowledge of the subject. Be clear, be thorough, and be careful not to beg the question or questions.

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