Healthcare Laws

Healthcare Laws


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Healthcare is one of the most critical areas of any economy. It also takes up a significant amount of the government budget each year. Every citizen should have access to quality healthcare as part of their fundamental human rights. In line with the provision of healthcare, there must be laws to regulate the actions of both the medical practitioners as well as the patients. This will improve efficiency and accountability in the medical system as well as ensuring the protection of patients. Examples of these laws are the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 and the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

The HIPAA is used to safeguard patients’ privacy by regulating the use and release of patients’ medical records. The law applies to all medical practitioners in medical facilities as well as those in private practice such as third parties engaged in administrative and accounting work for medical institutions. The law also outlines the penalties associated with a breach of the law, which include criminal and civil lawsuits as well as financial penalties (Cohen & Mello 2018). With the increased use of electronic patient records, this law is necessary to protect patients from theft, blackmail and identity theft. Malicious staff may use records to their advantage and hackers will also target these electronic records. This law is implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services to which violations are also reported.

The second law in healthcare is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. It is also concerned with the use of technology in healthcare provision. It ensures that stakeholders in healthcare are audited to ensure compliance with privacy and security laws in patient records (Hoffman 2016). The regulation gives incentive for institutions to switch to electronic systems of files but also makes sure that these records are secure. Organizations are also required to report any cases of breaching of their records to their patients. These reports can be quite costly in themselves, and this is why it is better for the organizations to adhere to the far-reaching strict policies and regulations of this cat. Breach of this law is reported to the federal government and those found to have not complied face stiff penalties. These penalties can be as high as $1.5 million a year for each violation.

The third law is the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act or MACRA. This law addresses the reimbursement for medical practitioners. It is also concerned with cost controls regarding Medicare Part B. the reimbursement model is based on the quality of healthcare as well as the use of electronic records by doctors (Huston 2017). Practitioners who do not adhere to this law are reported to the Department of Health and Human Services. Consequences for violation include financial penalties.

With the increased use of technology in the storage of patient records, breaches have become common and rampant. It is therefore essential to make sure that all healthcare providers adhere to strict privacy and security regulations to ensure that patients’ confidential information is protected. It with this in mind that the government has stepped in with the HIPAA and HITECH laws to ensure that patients are protected. These laws also apply to third parties such as accounting and pharmaceutical firms that the hospitals and other medical practitioners work with. MACRA law also ensures that doctors are paid based on the services rendered to their patients according to the new Medicare and Medicaid provisions. With these laws in place, patients’ rights are protected. Stiff penalties


Cohen, I. G., & Mello, M. M. (2018). HIPAA and protecting health information in the 21st Century. Jama, 320(3), 231-232.

Hoffman, S. (2016). Electronic Health Records and Medical Big Data: Law and Policy (Introduction).

Huston, K. K. (2017). MACRA: a new age for physician payments. JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 23(3), 167-168.