Patients Rights and Accountability: Can There Exist Rights Without Remedies in an American Legal and Legislative Framework?
Zaremski, Miles J.
Medicine and Law 2003; 22(3): 429-450
Considerable attention has been given patient rights within the borders of the United States over the last five to 10 years. This has been driven by the creation of the managed health care organization. But as this form of health care delivery within the United States has a strong foothold, perils in its administration have arisen, notably how America's legislative and civil justice systems need to respond to the issue of accountability for such entities when they make decisions as to what care and treatment should be provided to enrollees of their plans. This has come to be known as decisions involving what is medically necessary care and treatment. The American Congress has tackled, legislatively, the issue of patient rights (and remedies within these rights) to be accorded patients affected by decisions made by managed care organizations. Unfortunately, these efforts have stalled, principally over the remedies to be so afforded patients whose care has been unacceptable, i.e., fallen below a standard of care that results in injury or death. Experience from other nations has not been helpful due, in large measure, to the system of health care delivery within those countries. America's civil court decisions, however, are not only illuminating a proper path to follow nonetheless, but also are a beacon to follow for justice systems in other countries faced with the same or similar issues.
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