Syllabus for MSP-642



Legal Issues in Health Care examines the various legal, regulatory, and ethical issues that most frequently arise in health care and that affect both health care organizations and health care providers. This course will address what role the law plays in: (i) promoting the quality of health care, (ii) organizing the delivery of health care, (iii) assuring adequate control of the cost of health care, (iv) promoting access to necessary health care, and (v) protecting the human rights of those who are provided care within the health care system. We will analyze and discuss materials from a variety of sources including federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, legislative history, judicial opinions, excerpts from contracts and consent forms, and hypothetical case studies. Legal Issues in Health Care will provide the student with the framework for identifying and addressing health care legal issues that arise in a variety of professional settings.


  1. Quality – (1) Regulation of Professionals and Institutions; (2) Professional-Patient Relationship; and (3) Professional and Institutional Liability

  1. Cost/Access – (1) Access to Health Care; (2) Public Health Care (Medicare/Medicaid); (3) Federal and State Regulation of Private Insurance and Managed Care; and (4) Health Care Reform

  1. Health Care as a Business Enterprise – (1) Legal Structure and Organization of the Health Care Enterprise; (2) Professional Relationships within Health Care Enterprises; and (3) Fraud and Abuse

  1. Choice and Protecting the Rights of the Patient – (1) Reproduction and Birth; and (2) Life and Death Decisions

  1. Public Health Issues – Assess Major Public Health Issues and the Constitutional Basis for Public Health


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Analyze ways in which the law can contribute to the promotion of the quality of health care. (CO1)
  2. Discuss the basis for and the effect of the contractual relationship between professional and patients. (CO2)
  3. Compare and contrast different standards of care and foundations of liability. (CO3)
  4. Examine issues of access to health care. (CO4)
  5. Compare and contrast different financing mechanisms for health care (i.e., private insurance, managed care, Medicare/Medicaid). (CO5)
  6. Identify methods to control health care costs. (CO6)
  7. Discuss the different ways in which the business of health care delivery can be organized. (CO7)
  8. Interpret fraud and abuse regulations and identify potential red-flag issues. (CO8)
  9. Address the role the law plays in protecting the rights of patients in regard to decision making. (CO9)
  10. Assess major public health issues. (CO10)


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbooks are available from the College’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

  1. Furrow, Barry R., et al., Health Law, Cases, Materials and Problems, Abridged (6th ed.), Thompson/West (2008).

ISBN-13: 978-0-314-19602-6


  1. Furrow, Barry R., et al., Health Care Reform: Supplementary Materials, Thompson/West (2011).  

ISBN-13: 978-0314277503


Legal Issues in Health Care is a three-credit online course, consisting of six (6) modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and assignments. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: The Role of Law in Promoting the Quality of Health Care, Part I
  2. Module 2: The Role of Law in Promoting the Quality of Health Care, Part II
  3. Module 3: Cost and Access Issues in Health Care
  4. Module 4: Health Care as a Business Enterprise
  5. Module 5: Choice and Protecting the Rights of Patients
  6. Module 6: Public Health Care Issues


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums and complete written assignments in the form of case studies.  See below for details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Legal Issues in Health Care requires you to participate in six (6) graded discussion forums that together count for a total of 20 percent of your course grade.

Communication among fellow students and with the mentor is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful. Deadlines for posting discussion threads are given in the Course Calendar.

Written Assignments: Case Studies

You are required to complete a total of five (5) written assignments in the form of case studies. These case studies are based on assigned reading material contained in your textbooks, and collectively they will account for 80% of your grade for the course.

Due dates for all of these assignments can be found in the Course Calendar.  


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Written Assignments: Case Studies (5)—80%
  2. Online discussions (6)—20%

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
























Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.
  2. Take time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.
  4. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments and posting discussions.
  2. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or the College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of the intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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