The Florida Bar

Health Care Law

December 12, 2022

With rising cost of quality medical care, prescription drug coverage and the need for long-term health care solutions for an aging population, healthcare law has become big business, and legal matters frequently arise. The following are general issues involved in healthcare law:

Patient Rights

A number of federal and state laws cover a wide range of areas related to medical care, patient records, and available treatment methods. For example, informed consent laws require medical professionals to disclose the potential risks, benefits, and alternatives involved with any treatment. The physician must then obtain the patient’s written consent before proceeding. Once a patient has consulted with a physician, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prevents the physician or any other medical providers from disclosing the patient’s records without his or her consent. Legal issues often arise when a doctor or hospital makes an improper disclosure of a patient’s records or fails to obtain informed consent before moving forward with a course of treatment. Finally, a number of states, including California and Colorado, have passed laws approving the use of marijuana as a medical treatment.

Medicare and Medicaid

Many Americans are unable to pay the high costs of health care on their own, and Medicare and Medicaid step in when they can’t. While Medicare is available to senior citizens and administered equally across all states, Medicaid is available to low-income Americans of any age and handled by the states.

Americans who are at least 65 years old are eligible for Medicare benefits. While Part A of Medicare covers base level medical services, Part B is an optional supplemental plan that’s based on the patient’s income level. Medicaid, on the other hand, covers the basic health care costs of individuals who fall below a certain income level.

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or substitute for the advice of a lawyer.