Of course, doctors and nurses need to know health laws. After all, they are professionals who diagnose, treat and care for patients. But even if you don`t treat or care for patients, your work still has an impact on the delivery of their health care. If you run a doctor`s office or are responsible for electronic health records, or if your job involves scheduling appointments, preparing exam rooms, or working with patients in any capacity, you need to understand the laws of health care. It is also important to know the regulations, as they help: health law focuses on the legislative, executive, and judicial rules and regulations that govern the healthcare sector. The healthcare industry includes hospitals and hospital systems, other health care providers (such as nursing homes, psychiatric centres, acute care centres and healthcare organisations), public and private insurers, pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, and individual practitioners who treat patients. Some of the regulations relevant to this industry include Stark, HIPAA, Anti-Bribery Law, EMTALA, and state privacy laws. The debate on the limits of public interest law takes place differently in health law research. In defining PHLR, we are not concerned with what is just, appropriate or legitimate to include in the jurisdiction of public health law, but whether it can be empirically demonstrated that the law has an impact on public health. Commentators may disagree on whether, for example, gender equality should be considered a public health issue, but this question is different from whether it is possible to empirically identify how the law affects health inequalities. Empirical data can be important for disputes over normative concepts and positions, but cannot even resolve disputes about the legitimate scope of public health or public health law, or the extent to which health promotion should be balanced with other social goods such as civil liberties. The PHLR therefore differs from public health law in its emphasis on description, explanation and prediction, i.e., in its emphasis on empirical research.
It takes more than doctors and nurses to provide patients with quality health care. Health managers, medical assistants, medical administrative assistants, billing and coding specialists, and many other trained professionals work tirelessly to keep healthcare facilities running smoothly. Whether in direct or indirect contact with patients, all of these members of the healthcare team can have a positive impact. Therefore, they all need to know and comply with health care laws and regulations. If you plan to start a rewarding career in healthcare, you will need to learn the health laws behind acronyms such as HIPAA, HITECH, EHR, etc. Are you up for the challenge? The biggest challenge facing PHLR is all too common in research: rigorous research may be relevant to policy in theory, but too often it is neither important nor useful for policymakers and advocates in practice. The elements of the problem are well documented. Researchers are often isolated from the policy-making process and disconnected from decision-makers and public health practitioners, making it difficult for them to identify important topics of study and generate knowledge that can both address policymakers` concerns and steer policy agendas towards evidence-based innovation (Brownson, Chriqui and Stamatakis, 2009). Academics tend to follow their own interests and, in the eyes of policymakers, often fail to anticipate where policy agendas will be in the short and medium term (Jewell and Bero 2008). Rigorous research – not to mention peer review and publication – takes time, but policymakers need information when they need it. Even when results are available, lack of understanding of decision-makers` perspectives, time constraints, and level of scientific literacy hinder researchers` ability to produce research reports that can be read and understood by policy and practice communities (Jewell & Bero, 2008).
Policymakers, for their part, are overwhelmed by the amount of information presented to them, particularly the amount of dense and detailed documentation (Sorian and Baugh, 2002).