Public law theory governs the relations between the individual and the state, where the individual could be a hospital or a citizen, such as a patient, medical practitioner, or any other health stakeholder. Administrative, constitutional, and criminal laws are all covered under Public law. Private law on the other hand is concerned with the relationships between individual citizen, organizations, or citizens and organizations. It is sometimes referred to as civil law, and may cover such areas as the law of contracts, law of torts, law of obligations, and the like.
Patient Self Determination Act
The Patient Self Determination Act (PSDA) was enacted by the United States Congress in 1990, as a result of the amendment into the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. It became into effect in 1991 where the legislation required hospitals, home health care agencies, nursing homes, hospice providers, as well as, other health care institutions to make available the information regarding advance health care directives related to the aged patients upon their admission to these adult patients’ health care institutions. However, the law does not apply to individual medical practitioners, but requires these health care institutions to give the adult patients information relating to their rights under the state laws that governs their advance directives such as the right to participate in their health care decisions, prepare advance directives, accept or refuse surgical or medical treatment, and have information regarding the health care providers policies.
The Patient Self determination Act was necessitated by the fact that the elderly patients needed to have been informed of their rights concerning the decisions about their own medical care, as well as, to guarantee that these rights are communicated by the elderly health care providers. Therefore, these rights made sure that these elderly patients’ dictated their own future medical care by such means like power of attorney or living will, especially if they become incapacitated.
The criminal penalties for violating the Patient self Determination act can lead to loss of federal funding to the health care providers, as well as, institutional criminal charges for non compliance with the state laws, such as criminal penalties for violating the patients’ rights about their advance directives in participating in their treatment decisions, right to privacy, and other rights stipulated under the Patient self Determination Act.
The act governs the health care institutions, as well as, physicians can be convicted of criminal offense with charges such as Medicare fraud, patient abuse and neglect, illegal distribution of controlled substances, and can thus be banned from participating in Medicare. The key provisions of the Patient Self determination act are that the hospital or the health care provider must provide written information regarding the patient’s right under the state law, note the patient’s medical record whether the patient has executed the advance directive, non discrimination against the individual’s response to the patients’ decisions regarding advance directive, complying with state laws concerning advance directives, and creating a policy that provides education for both staff and community on issues regarding advance directives.
Since the Patient Self determination Act was enacted in 1990 in accordance with the federal law, it has since provided every competent adult to be informed about their rights to make their own decisions regarding medical care, which also includes their right to reject, accept, or discontinue with medical care. Therefore, the effect of the act has enabled the elderly patients to chose what they believe is best for them through the advance directives such as the durable power of attorney for health care, Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order, Living Will, and Organ or Tissue Donor.