Legal System

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The Legal System
Imagine you are the director of health information services for a medium-sized health care facility. Like many of your peers, you have contracted with an outside copying service to handle all requests for release of patient health information at your facility. You have learned that a lobbying organization for trial attorneys in your state is promoting legislation to place a cap on photocopying costs, which is significantly below the actual costs incurred as part of the contract. (Case Study, p. 20)
Review this case study. Define and describe each branch of government and discuss the roles each branch will play in considering this legislation. How would you and your professional organization act to influence this process? Evaluate how the various sources of law relate to this case?
Our government has three branches. Imagine a triangle. At the top is the executive branch. The two bottom corners are the judicial branch and the legislative branch (also called Congress). Each part of the government is connected to the other. Each has its own responsibilities and powers. A system of checks and balances prevents one branch from gaining too much power. Congress is responsible for making laws. When Congress passes a bill, it goes to the president who reviews it. If he likes it, he signs it, and it becomes a law. If the president does not like it, he vetoes it. The judicial branch can review laws made by Congress and approved by the president. They are responsible for deciding if the law agrees with our constitution. A crucial function of the executive branch is to ensure that laws are carried out and enforced to facilitate such day-to-day responsibilities of the federal government. The legislative branch, as a whole, is charged with passing the nation's laws and allocating funds for the running of the federal government and providing assistance to the 50 U.S. states.
Trying to place a cap on photocopying would undoubtedly cause problems within the



References: McWay, JD, RHIA, D. C. (2010). Legal and Ethical Aspects of Health Information Management (Third ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar, Cengage Learning.

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