Posts Tagged ‘Statutes’

Health Care Law Research in the Limelight

May 21, 2012 2 comments

There are many ways to describe health law.  Health Law is comprised of not only the law of the delivery of health care and the financing of these systems, but also all areas of law that are intersected between law and health.  These areas of law include bioethics (e.g. the ethics of end-of-life decisions), criminal law (i.e. the role of the government protecting elders and children from mistreatment), medical malpractice (i.e. the deterrence method for civil liability for health provider negligence), and employment law (i.e. occupational health and safety and worker’s compensation standards).  You may find that there are individual categories that make up health law as a whole.  For many, health law is subdivided into laws governing health care law, public and population health law, bioethics, and global health law.  This overview is just a mere snapshot in the big picture of what is health law. For the purposes of this blog post, we’re going to focus on health care law.

Much of health care law focuses on legislative, executive, and judicial rules and regulations that govern the health care industry.  The intended audience of these laws include hospitals and hospital systems, public and private insurers, pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, and the individuals who treat patients.  You may be familiar with some of the subcategories that include fraud and abuse dealing with insurance claims, food and drug laws and regulations (FDA), medical malpractice, and heath care mergers and acquisitions. Health care law researchers must deal with a variety of legal sources.  These sources range from the traditional statutes and cases to more complex administrative materials, which includes rules, agency decisions, commentaries, manuals, and guidelines.

Health care law exists at both federal and state levels.  The ability to regulate health care institutions is a policing power left to the states, and must further health, safety and the general welfare.  Licensure or certification is the primary method chosen by state legislatures to regulate the health care industry and its facilities. That being said, the major height of authority behind health care regulation is the federal-state Medicaid program.  In other words, a state’s authority under the Medicaid program is subject to federal regulation, specifically the federal Department of Health and Human Services. In order to participate in the Medicaid program, a state must submit a state plan that meets federal standards under the federal statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1396(a). Each state subscribes to different approaches for regulating the health care institutions within their borders.  To research each state, a 50 state survey may be extremely helpful for you to compare the differing laws and regulations. BNA, LexisNexis and Westlaw allow for you to access various 50 state surveys by topic.

Here are a few short (2-3 minute) video tutorials on how to access 50-State Surveys on each of the above resources.  For this example, assume you are looking for a state-by-state comparison of power of attorney laws and regulations:

As already noted, states have the ability to regulate health care facilities under their policing power.  Conversely, the federal government’s power to regulate this industry is derived from its financing authority or from the constitutional Commerce Clause.  The federal government as a purchaser, under the federal health care programs of Medicare and Medicaid, regulates health care facilities through a certification program.  Thus, in order to receive payments under either one of the federally funded insurance programs, the health care facility must be certified and sign a provider agreement with the Health Care Financing Administration for Medicare and with the state’s Medicaid agency for Medicaid. In sum, because the federal government provides a significant amount of funding to these programs, they are given the power to regulate the receiving facilities quality of care.

The majority of health care federal statutes are contained within the following U.S.C. Titles:

To make life easier, Westlaw and LexisNexis have created specific databases that house these collections of Health Care Federal laws:

But a better tactic than merely going and searching through these various databases or large statutory schemes, try to start your research with a research guide.  The following guides outline the various topics and relevant statutes for issues addressed in health care law.

Still have questions?  Jot it down in a comment and we’ll see what we can do to help you find the answer!

Krispy Kreme in the Limelight

August 19, 2011 Leave a comment

On July 13, 1937, Krispy Kreme was born.  To start, founder Vernon Rudolph bought a “secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe” from a Louisiana chef and began making doughnuts for local grocery stores to purchase.  He rented a building in what is now referred to as “Old Salem” here in Winston.  As people walked through Old Salem, they could smell Rudolph making these delicious treats and that’s how the hot “Original Glazed” doughnut emerged.  To appease  passersby, Rudolph cut a hole through an outside wall of his building and started selling his doughnuts directly to the people walking on the sidewalk.

Over the next 20 years, Krispy Kreme moved from making doughnuts locally at each franchised store to a more complex distribution system that has made Krispy Kreme “officially recognized as a 20th century American icon with the donation of company artifacts to the Smithsonian Institution’s  National Museum of American History.” For a full history, Krispy Kreme provides interesting facts and awards on their website.

Information about the corporation is available in various places.  For example, the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History provides access to search the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation Records from 1937 until 1997.  But, if you want to search for more current business records, you can access them for free using the North Carolina Department of Secretary of State website.  The Secretary of State website allows you to search for annual reports and other UCC documents for North Carolina corporations online. Specifically, you can search for corporation information by Corporation name or by Registered Agent.  Also, you can search for Dissolutions/Withdrawals and Name Reservations on the Secretary of State website as well. If you are worried about the currentness of the system, it is kept up to date in “real time,” meaning that the information on the filings is available on the website as soon as they are uploaded by the business.  There is no delay.

So how about a refresher on administrative law?  The Secretary of State is an agency of North Carolina (executive branch), and has only the power given to them from the North Carolina General Assembly (the legislative body).  The General Assembly enacts legislation that authorizes the Secretary of State to enforce the laws of North Carolina. Specifically, N.C. Gen. Stat. 143 A-11(Principal departments), 147- A(State Officers – Classification and General Provisions), and 147-34-54.10 (Article 4 – Secretary of State) provide the primary statutory authority for the Secretary of State.

And now back to doughnuts.  Not only has Krispy Kreme expanded out beyond the borders of North Carolina to numerous, if not all of, the United States, but it has gone global.  Specifically there are Krispy Kreme doughnut stores in Canada, Asia, Mexico, the Middle East, Puerto Rico, and Turkey.  If you need to do business related research for Krispy Kreme in any of the United States, always start with that specific company’s website and I think you will be surprised at the information available to the public. For example, Krispy Kreme provides access to their latest quarterly financial results, their 10-Q and 10-K forms, their 2011 Annual Report and the latest proxy statement.  If you don’t have luck with your businesses’ website, try the incorporating state’s Secretary of State Department.

Not for lack of being verbose, I think I’ll sum up this post with the words of comedian Mitch Hedberg, “I bought a doughnut and they me a receipt for the … I don’t need a receipt for the doughnut.  I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction.  We don’t need to bring ink and paper into this.  I can’t imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut.  To some skeptical friend, ‘Don’t even act like I didn’t get that doughnut, I’ve got the documentation right here…It’s in my file at home.. Under D.”  So the only difference here is that you will keep your corporate research in your file for Krispy Kreme… under K.