Health Care Legislation: Updates to Regulations and Policies

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A group of health care administrators standing and talking in an open, well-lit hallway.Legislation plays an important role in the health care industry. Health care legislation provides a structure of rules, policies, and regulations that keeps patient care delivery consistent across organizations. It also keeps patients safe, their information secure, and facilities focused on providing the most effective, efficient care possible.

Health care legislation evolves at a rapid pace. The influx of technological innovations and emerging concepts such as value-based care continue to require new rules about what health care professionals can do in a wide range of care delivery scenarios.

It is important for health care professionals to be aware of legislation changes as they occur. Doing so not only allows them to provide optimal patient care, it also keeps them legally compliant. While this may seem like a daunting responsibility, plenty of resources are available that can help health care professionals stay abreast of the latest changes.

What Is Health Care Legislation?

Health care legislation encompasses all of the federal, state, and local regulations and policies designed to improve health care delivery and ultimately optimize patient health.

Health care legislation can cover specific areas within health care, such as pediatric care or surgery. It can also focus on broader aspects of care delivery and clinical operations, such as what type of professional may prescribe medications or how to protect patients’ electronic health records (EHRs). Legislation may cover administration elements of health care as well, such as health insurance and patient costs.

The purpose of all legislation is to achieve specific health care goals, such as improving care delivery in rural areas or optimizing patient privacy in the face of new technology. These goals are intended to improve the delivery of health care, which can in turn improve patient outcomes.

Health Care Legislation Resources

Health care professionals need to stay current on new and potential health care legislation. Accessing available health care resources can help health administration professionals remain in full compliance with the current federal, state, and local laws, and allows them to take proactive steps to be prepared for when future legislation comes into effect.

Because the laws can change rapidly, health care professionals should review resources regularly.

List of Health Care Policies’ Resources

Below you will find a convenient list of resources you can access to stay up to date on health care legislation. On these sites, you will find information on everything from patient privacy to the Affordable Care Act to health care reform news.

  • Healthcare Leadership Council — The Healthcare Leadership Council helps health care leaders keep up to date on health care coverage, reform, and reimbursement news.
  • Kaiser Family Foundation — The Kaiser Family Foundation provides balanced information of value to health administrators concerning many current health care issues including in-depth analyses of legislation.
  • The Commonwealth Fund — The Commonwealth Fund is dedicated to the improvement of the health care system. Its coverage of health care reform topics can provide leaders with analyses of health care policy.
  • gov — This site is designed for the lay American and includes information on the Affordable Care Act along with key feature notations and dates for implementation.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — The CMS website has information for both consumers and health care personnel regarding the current status and potential reforms of Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of health care for all Americans. Its website contains analyses of problems and reform efforts valuable to health care administrators.
  • S. Department of Health and Human Services: Health Information Privacy — This website includes and interprets various legislation regarding patient privacy essential to health administrators.
  • Center for Connected Health Policy — This website tracks current and potential regulations and policies regarding telehealth.
  • Rural Health Information Hub — Rural Health Information Hub provides data, news, and information on how various legislative policies and rules can impact rural patients and providers.

Become an Informed Health Care Leader

Being fully compliant with health care legislation allows health care administrators to be effective leaders who can guide others toward providing the best patient care possible. This could have a profound impact on many aspects of care delivery, including potentially improving patient outcomes.

Earning an advanced degree from Ohio University’s online Master of Health Administration program can help prepare you to thrive in a health care leadership role. Our curriculum can help you gain expertise in key health administration concepts and strengthen the leadership skills you need to succeed — elements that can transform you into a confident leader in an ever-changing environment. Learn how we can help you achieve your professional goals.

Recommended Readings

Health Policy in America: Do Changes Need to Be Made to Better Prepare for Pandemics?

How to Become a Health Care Administrator

Types of Community Engagement Strategies for Health Care Organizations

Sources:

American Association of Nurse Practitioners, State Practice Environment

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legislation, Regulations & Policies

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, What Are the Value-Based Programs?

HealthIT.gov, Health IT Legislation

HealthIT.gov, What Is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)?

HealthyPeople.gov, Law and Health Policy

Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Global Health Legislation Tracker

The Medical Futurist, “10 Ways Technology Is Changing Healthcare”

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Compliance

World Health Organization, Health Law