This course will survey the legal issues that most frequently arise in healthcare. Students will learn the role of law in promoting healthcare quality, accountability, access, and efficiency. Using a casebook, students will learn how to apply the law to the examined diverse situations arising in healthcare. Many of the cases discussed deal with the tort liability of healthcare professionals and organizations, with a special emphasis on establishing the standard of care and proving negligence in malpractice and informed consent situations. Students will learn how antitrust may be applied to preserve competition in healthcare markets where hospitals have been merging to acquire market power, and where other healthcare providers, including physicians, have engaged in concerted conduct to avoid competition. Because most hospitals and other providers are not-for-profit and enjoy a tax-exempt status, we will cover the tax rules on maintaining that status. Also, healthcare providers rely on government reimbursement; students will learn the fraud and abuse rules that police the integrity of that reimbursement. Other topics the course addresses include the healthcare providers' obligation to provide care; medical records and patient confidentiality; health planning and certificate of need; human reproduction and birth; and decisions about death and dying. The course utilizes a treatise entitled: Health Law by Furrow, et al., and a casebook by the same name and the same set of authors. Both books are required. Students will learn to utilize the Furrow treatise as a desk reference when they leave Northwestern. The course is cross-listed with Law and MD-MPH programs, so students in the course will have the opportunity to work in teams that reflect a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.
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