Complete 2 pages APA formatted article: UNIT 1 INDIVIDUAL PROJECT. Health Care Law Law is the term used to generally describe sets of rules, regulations, standards and consequences used by society toi

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Complete 2 pages APA formatted article: UNIT 1 INDIVIDUAL PROJECT. Health Care Law Law is the term used to generally describe sets of rules, regulations, standards and consequences used by society toimpart justice. Justice is often thought of as a sense

of fairness, or equality of human rights. Though the United States is said to have the

fairest system of justice in the world, there are frequently cases deemed as miscarriages

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of justice, by one or more groups of citizens. Often legislation that is designed to provide

equal access lacks resources at various state or regional levels to carry out its purpose.

Oversight to insure that legislation is put into practice can be sporadic. These factors are

among many others that explain why law is not an exact science. Those who are hired and

elected to uphold the law possess their own views which can and do affect their own

interpretation of the law and how they carry out their duties.

Just as judges, legislators, police and others working to uphold the law can be biased,

as can health care workers. Though OBRA89 was enacted in 1984 to include more children

and pregnant women in the Medicaid program (Flint, 2006), this served to create more

disparity in health care access. A comprehensive report by the Institute of Medicine in

2002 identifies health care worker bias as one of two major contributing factors in health

care disparities (Watts, 2003). Specific prejudices include provider assumption of Medicaid

patients in general to be less intelligent and more prone to substance abuse. Such attitudes

create situations where patients are denied basic medical rights such as life support and

pain medication, as they are deemed unworthy or undeserving. While law dictates that all

patients be given equal and proper medical care, it is difficult in most situations, to

determine if prejudice and subsequent malicious intent are the cause, as opposed to general

overburden of a system. Practices in health care that are considered unlawful include use of

excessive force, overmedicating, withholding medication, failure to provide adequate

Health Care Law 2

nutrition, selling prescriptions or any other act that causes further injury or general

decline in health as a result of the action(Arkansas Attorney General). Most patient

abuse within the health care system targets the elderly, though many other cases of abuse

by physicians and other staff occur in hospitals and clinics. Many health care institutions

have ethics committees, though they typically do not address ethical issues until a

problem arises with a specific employee or department.

Health care worker attitudes and views surrounding ethical issues can change over time

for a number of reasons. Exposure to other workers with specific bias and prejudice,

overwork, cultural influence and unethical treatment by employers are a few of the reasons

change occurs. While changes in ethical views do not necessarily indicate that the health

care worker will cause injury to or deny care to a patient. extremely negative views or

prejudice can distort judgment, leading to disregard of actual law over a period of time.

Though most health care workers are taught ethics and law during their training, many

are not exposed to such subjects again in their careers. Many businesses today realize that

lack of cultural sensitivity and attitudes of prejudice can greatly affect public view, and

therefore, overall corporate health. Organizations now provide training in sensitivity and

awareness that is required by most employees. Rosalyn Watts suggests such programs are

necessary for health care institutions as well, to provide care equally without consideration

of race, gender or socio-economic status, and to prevent not only unethical treatment, but

attitudes and behaviors that may lead to outright unlawful and abusive treatment.


Arkansas State Attorney. Retrieved October 3, 2006 from


Flint, S. (2006, February). Ensuring Equal Access for Medicaid Children. Health and

Social Work, 31, 65.

Watts, R.(2003, January 31). Race Consciousness and the Health of African

Americans. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 8,1,3. Retrieved October 3, 2006


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