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8 hours $7.98
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30 hours $4.98

Legal Issues in Healthcare

1.0 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe major legal issues facing biomedical providers and integrative health providers, state laws relating to the regulation, credentialing concerns, malpractice and liability issues, and third-party reimbursement.
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Health care professionals today are acutely aware of the need to understand the legal environment in which they practice. Ever-shrinking resources, shorter lengths of stay, high-acuity patients, availability of more complex information, diverse patient populations, and the use of technology mean that health care professionals must understand the legal risks inherent in their practice.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • State sources and types of law.
  • Identify the key elements of the court system.
  • Differentiate between tort law, negligence, criminal law, and types of liability.
  • Explain how health care practice is regulated.
  • Describe the credentialing and privileging process.
  • List the common areas of malpractice and ways to limit malpractice claims.
  • List factors to consider in accepting or refusing a patient assignment.
  • Discuss characteristics of informed consent.


Health care professionals face many different legal responsibilities to their patients and society, and are bound by laws the general population does not routinely encounter (McTiegue & Lee, 2014). No one can deny that we live in a society dominated by an increasing, and some would say excessive, extent by legal rules and processes (Hodgson, 2014). In order to practice effectively, health care professionals must have a solid understanding of the legal environment in which they care for their patients.

Law is the formalization of a body of rules of action or prescribed conduct that is enforced by binding legal authority; or it is the sum total of rules and regulations by which society is governed (Westrick, 2013). Laws regulate the actions of the members of the community or society they govern. When they are broken, penalties are imposed (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Laws reflect the specific values of the society in which they have been created, and so “the law” is an ever-changing concept subject to modification. “The law reflects the will of the people as represented by legislative or judicial bodies (almost all of whom are elected) that enact the law or interpret the law (Westrick, 2013, p. 3).”

Sources and Types of Law

There are several sources of law in the United States and several types of law that provide a framework for the legal environment in the U.S. These include the following:

  • Constitutional law
  • Administrative law
  • Common law (also called case law)

Constitutional law is the organizational framework of a system of laws or principles that govern a nation, system, corporation, or other organization. It has the following characteristics (Rosedahl & Kowalski, 2008; Westrick, 2013):

  • It forms the basis of how that entity will be governed.
  • The U.S. Constitution (and its amendments) is the supreme law of the United States and identifies the general organization of the government and the powers and limitations of the federal government.
  • The first 10 amendments of the U. S. Constitution (known as the Bill of Rights) are the best-known limitations on the powers of the U. S. government. These incorporate such concepts as free speech, freedom of religion, and the right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness without due process of law.
  • Any rights not expressly granted to the federal government are reserved for the states.

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • NCBTMB -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapists


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Domain of OT

Course Expires:

December 15, 2020

  • Caroline Young, MPH
  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.