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Health Care Law Overview and Information

The federal and state governments are the largest payors of health care services in the United States. The largest federal programs are Medicare and Medicaid. It has been estimated that Medicare is the second largest segment of the federal budget, second only to Social Security payments. Provisions of health care services is largely determined by federal payment policies. Protecting public health is mainly regulated through state health regulations and laws. Many states delegate authority to administer such laws to govermental agencies such as boards of health.

Federal health law focuses on the activity of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It administers a wide variety of agencies and programs, like providing financial assistance to needy individuals; conducting medical and scientific research; providing health care and advocacy services; and enforcing laws and regulations related to human services. The HHS is responsible for overseeing the Medicare and Medicaid Programs. Their goal is to ensure that elderly and needy individuals receive proper medical care. Many other laws adminstered by other agencies deal with health issues. For example, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) work on issues such as :

Birth Defects
Diseases & Conditions
Emergency Preparedness & Response
Environmental Health
Genetics and Genomics
Health Promotion
Injury and Violence
Travelers’ Health
Vaccines & Immunizations
Workplace Safety & Health

Attorneys who practice in the area of health law provide legal services to individual physicians, hospitals, physicians groups, nursing homes and health care providers on matters relating to malpractice, risk management, peer review boards, managed competition, Medicare fraud and abuse, employment issues, power of attorney and healthcare directives, and provider regulation, among others.