Tax Changes in New Health Care Bill

Passage of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (“Reconciliation Act”) amending the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (together the “Health Care Reform Package”), which President Obama signed on March 23 created many tax changes. Many of these tax changes are discussed below.

Additional Medicare Payroll Tax

Beginning in the 2013 taxable year, the Reconciliation Act imposes a 3.8 percent “unearned income Medicare contribution” tax on the lesser of the taxpayer’s net investment income or modified adjusted gross income (“AGI”) in excess of $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for joint filers.

Net investment income includes interests, dividends, annuities, royalties, rents, gain from disposing of property from a passive activity, income earned from a trade or business that is a passive activity, and income earned from a trade or business of trading financial instruments of commodities as defined by existing mark-to-market tax rules for dealers of commodities. Income on an investment of working capital is also taxed. In determining net investment income, investment income is reduced by deductions properly allocable to that income. Some income is exempt from the tax, including income from the disposition of certain active partnerships and S corporations, distributions from qualified retirement plans, and any item taken into account in determining self-employment income. The tax does not apply to nonresident aliens or trusts for which all of the unexpired interests are devoted to charitable purposes.

The provision defines modified adjusted gross income as AGI increased by any income excluded by the foreign earned income exclusion over the amount of any deductions and exclusions disallowed with respect to that income.

Estates and trusts are also subject to a 3.8 percent unearned income Medicare contribution tax on the lesser of the undistributed net investment income for the tax year or the excess of adjusted gross income over the dollar amount at which the 39.6 percent tax bracket for trusts and estates begin.

Small Business Tax Credit

Beginning in 2010, many small businesses and tax-exempt organizations that provide health insurance coverage to their employees now qualify for a special tax credit.

The credit is designed to encourage small employers to offer health coverage for the first time or to maintain health coverage they already have.

An employer generally qualifies for this credit if the business has no more than 25 full-time equivalent (“FTE”) employees paying wages averaging less than $50,000 per employee per year. Because the eligibility formula is based in part on the number of FTEs, not the number of employees, many businesses will qualify even if they employ more than 25 individual workers. The qualified small employer must contribute at least one-half of the cost of health insurance premiums for coverage of its participating employees.

In 2010 through 2013, qualified small employers may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of their contribution toward the employee’s health insurance premium. After 2013, small employers that purchase coverage through an insurance exchange may qualify for a credit for two years of up to 50 percent of their contribution and 35 percent of premiums paid by eligible employers that are tax-exempt organizations.

The maximum credit goes to smaller employers with 10 or fewer FTEs paying annual average wages of $25,000 or less.

Eligible small businesses can claim the credit as part the general business credit starting with the 2010 income tax return they file in 2011. The IRS will provide further information on how to claim the credit for tax-exempt employers.

Excise Tax on “Cadillac” Health Plans

Beginning in 2018, the Health Care Reform Package will impose a 40 percent nondeductible tax on insurance companies or plan administrators for any health insurance plan with an annual premium in excess of an inflation-adjusted $10,200 for individuals and an inflation-adjusted $27,500 for families. There is a higher premium level for employers in certain high-risk professions: $11,850 for individual coverage and $30,950 for family coverage. Non-Medicare retirees age 55 and older are also eligible for higher thresholds.

Dental and vision plans are not included when calculating the total benefit value.

Corporate Estimated Taxes

The Reconciliation Act includes a one-time increase of 15.75 percentage points for estimated taxes of corporations with assets of at least $1 billion dollars for payments made during July, August, and September of 2014. Payments will be decreased by a corresponding amount during the following quarter.

Individual Mandate

Pursuant to the Health Care Reform Package most individuals who fail to maintain essential minimum universal coverage are liable for penalties. The penalty is based on the greater of a flat-dollar amount or a percentage of household income. The Reconciliation Act exempts income below the filing threshold, lowers the flat payments required from $495 to $325 in 2015 and from $750 to $695 in 2016 and increases the percent-of-income thresholds.

The employer-provided health coverage gross income exclusion extends to coverage for adult children up to age 26 as of the end of the tax year. Self-employed individuals are allowed a deduction for the premiums paid on the dependent care coverage for adult children up to age 26.

Employer Responsibility

The Health Care Reform Package generally does not require employers to provide health insurance coverage. However, beginning in 2014, a fee is imposed on firms with 50 or more employees that do not provide coverage. The fee is calculated based on the number of full-time employees.

The Reconciliation Act modifies that provision by excluding the first 30 employees from the payment calculation.

Indoor Tanning Tax

The Health Care Reform Package imposes a 10 percent tax on qualified indoor tanning services effective for services provide on or after July 1, 2010.

Codification of the Economic Substance

The Reconciliation Act adds a revenue raiser that codifies the economic substance doctrine. Economic substance is a common law doctrine under which the tax benefits of a transaction are not permitted if the transaction does not have economic substance or lacks a business purpose. The provision in the Reconciliation Act requires a conjunctive analysis of economic substance under which taxpayers must show that (1) the transaction changes in a meaningful way their economic position apart from federal income tax effects and (2) they had a substantial purpose apart from federal income tax effects for entering into the transaction.

A 40 percent penalty applies to tax understatements attributable to undisclosed noneconomic substance transactions. The penalty is 20 percent if the transaction is adequately disclosed. The Reconciliation Act also renders the ability to obtain relief from accuracy-related penalties under the reasonable-cause exception inapplicable to noneconomic substance transactions.

The Joint Committee on Taxation projects that this provision will generate $4.5 billion over 10 years.

The courts have relied on the economic substance doctrine to distinguish abusive transactions from legitimate ones. The application of the doctrine is heavily dependent upon the facts and circumstances of a particular transaction. The codification of the economic substance doctrine adds some clarity but what remains to be seen is whether the codification will be more or less favorable to a transaction than the doctrine as historically applied

Disclaimer Required by IRS Rules of Practice: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

This publication is intended for general information purposes. It does not constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with knowledgeable legal counsel to determine how applicable laws apply to specific situations. Articles in this publication are based on the most current information available at the time they were written. Since it is possible that the law and other circumstances may have changed since this publication, please call us to discuss any actions you may be considering as a result of reading an article.

© 2010 Law Office of Michael G. Lapidus.  All rights reserved.

Obama’s Health Care Plan and Tort Reform

When President Obama addressed the American Medical Association (AMA) in Chicago on June 15, the President told the crowd of physicians that he recognized that his health care plan could not succeed unless doctors were freed from their fear of lawsuits. While the President did not go into details about how this would be accomplished, he did say that he was not proposing a cap on jury damage awards in medical malpractice suits.

The President’s speech to the AMA highlighted one of the central debates in the Obama administration’s struggle to push health care reform: Will the reform also include tort reform, and if so, in what capacity?

Whether or not to put a federal cap on medical malpractice damage awards has been an issue of intense debate between the legal community and the medical community. Doctors blame soaring medical malpractice insurance premiums on large jury awards in med mal cases and argue that the costs of health care will not decrease until there is significant tort reform. Tort reform proponents claim the high cost of medical malpractice insurance has led to an exodus of physicians in states with the highest premiums, resulting in some communities having little to no access to doctors or specialists without traveling hours from their homes.

Physicians also argue that the fear of being sued forces them into practicing defensive medicine, which results in doctors ordering more tests and performing more diagnostic procedures than they otherwise would if not for the fear of being sued. In turn, these additional tests and procedures then raise the overall costs of providing health care.

Attorneys representing victims of medical negligence, on the other hand, believe that physicians have severely overestimated how much defensive medicine actually contributes to the overall costs of the American health care system. Lawyers point to the lack of empirical evidence showing a direct correlation between rising health care costs and medical malpractice damage awards.

A 2004 report issued by the Congressional Budget Office stated that med mal costs represented as little as 2% of the country’s overall health care costs. Another report issued by Wellpoint Insurance found that the three biggest reasons for the rising costs of health care did not include rising medical malpractice insurance premiums and the practice of defensive medicine, but the costs for advances in medical technology, increasing federal regulation on the health care industry and a growing obese population that requires more medical care.

Many opposing tort reform also argue that there is no evidence that tort reform actually results in lower medical malpractice premiums for physicians. There have been studies conducted in some of the states that have passed caps on non-economic damages – damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish and other non-monetary losses – which have shown that even though the amount of jury awards had gone down, there has not been a correlating decrease in the costs of med mal insurance. In order to lower the insurance rates for doctors, there must be reform of the insurance industry, rather than the tort system. Despite the philosophical differences between the legal profession and medical profession when it comes to how to solve the health care crisis, many commentators believe the Obama administration will not be able to pass their health care bill without keeping at least some physicians on board. And in order to do this, the administration will have to make some attempt to alleviate physicians’ fears that medical malpractice lawsuits are increasing the costs of health care.

There have been two proposed ways of accomplishing this goal without passing federal legislation to cap med mal injury awards. The first option would shield physicians from liability arising from a potential medical malpractice lawsuit so long as the doctor followed “best practices” guidelines in providing for the patient’s care and treatment. These guidelines would be developed by physicians. The second option would require hospitals to implement the “Sorry Works” program. This program would require hospital staff and physicians to determine the cause of every bad treatment outcome and then take remedial steps to ensure the bad outcome is not repeated. The program would also require physicians and the hospital to apologize to the patient and family and offer upfront compensation for the injury, akin to a settlement offer. The Sorry Works program believes it can lower the costs of protracted litigation if a fair offer is made early on in the process. This program currently is in use in several states. A less extensive version has been in effect in Illinois for several years passed into law at the urging of the medical profession and insurance industry. Interestingly, however, this writer is unable to identify a single settlement having ever been reached by this program, which basically requires the medical provider to come forth and admit negligent conduct.

There are many questions remaining about how either of these programs would work in practice – particularly the best practices model – and whether physicians will be on board for anything less than a federally imposed cap on non-economic damage awards. The Obama administration had promised to pass sweeping legislation to reform health care before the summer ended, but it appears that the battle over how best to lower costs of the bloated industry may take much longer than that to settle. The voter anger and frustration apparent in many recent small town debates with local politicians illustrates that our health care issues run much deeper than tort reform concerns.

Health Care Careers – Which Are the Most Sought After?

Health care careers are still considered to be in the top ten careers in the world. The health care profession is not only a noble profession; it is also a financially lucrative profession. If you wish to pursue the healthcare career, here are some options that you might want to look into.

Doctor of Medicine

The doctor of medicine is basically a doctor who looks into the matters concerning the health of an individual. The responsibilities of the doctor is to diagnose the health problems that a person may have and nurse them back to good health as long as it can be done with the help of medicine and also treat injuries that a person may incur in their day to day lives.

Surgeon

A surgeon is a doctor who has a specialization in performing surgeries. The surgeon basically becomes a specialist of any one part of the human body or any one organ of the human body. For example, a surgeon may be a specialist heart surgeon, or a specialized stomach surgeon, etc. The profile of a surgeon is one of the most important of the medical professions. The profession of a surgeon is actually one of the most lucrative medical professions on a financial basis, as a good surgeon can charge thousands of dollars for a single surgery.

But the downside of being a surgeon is that the surgeon is part of a more critical medical process as compared to the MD, or the psychologist-the surgery. When a doctor decides to undertake a surgery, the very life of the person depends on whether the surgeon can commit a successful surgery or not. A doctor or a psychologist would have a chance to change the treatment or tackle the mental problem in some other way, but a surgeon rarely has any opportunity of this kind. This is one of the more lucrative health care careers.

Psychologist

A psychologist is the doctor who looks after the mental health of the patient. The psychologist sometimes also treats the patients for medical situations like depression, etc. which may not be as full-blown as a physical illness, but it may hamper the day to day life of the person. A psychologist may also sometimes be required by the legal department to understand what a particular criminal thinks of thought, so that they can better decide the actual reason of any crime that has been created. A psychologist may also sometimes be required to treat the criminal insane people. A psychologist’s profession is a relatively new health care career.

Nurse

The nurse is another aspect of the health care industry that is quite important. In fact, the nurse is the individual that stays more in contact with the patient than even the doctors. There are several streams that one can go into in the nursing profession. Each of the streams has their own advantages and disadvantages, and not all the streams may be a good idea for all kinds of people. Therefore, one should do the proper research before they decide to follow a particular stream of the nursing profession.

Why Health Care Law Firms Are Needed to Protect Medical Institutions

The healthcare industry brings in billions of dollars each year. However, with the increased prices to provide medical care, stringent billing guidelines and a litigious society, many healthcare professionals are struggling to break even. Health care law firms can provide many benefits to doctors, medical staff, facilities and other similar organizations when it comes to standards and compliance.

Health care law firms help to ensure that professionals and organizations within this industry comply with all of the regulations that are imposed upon them by local and national laws. They ensure that each medical professional is appropriately qualified and has the appropriate credentials that his profession requires. Federal laws exist that regulate the quality of care, healthcare professionals’ licensure and accreditation. Health care legal practices also ensure that medical professionals comply with HIPAA and homeland security rules and regulations.

Healthcare professionals and organizations must rely on the Medicare program to reimburse them for medical treatments. Private insurance companies can also pose complications in receiving reimbursement for treatment. Health care law firms help medical professionals and organizations receive the compensation that they deserve in exchange for the medical services that they provided to patients, but prevent acceptance of overpayment, which can in turn incur penalties.

Practitioners at these law firms are knowledgeable about the types of challenges that these professionals and organizations face. Medical lawyers realize that many hospitals and other healthcare organizations are often understaffed and lack the necessary nursing and medical staff. A medical law firm can help a health care organization to restructure its business in order to comply with all of the relevant regulatory authorities.

A health care law firm is knowledgeable about the adverse effect that medical professionals must contend with due to malpractice suits. These types of suits increase the cost of malpractice insurance, making it difficult for a medical organization to continue to provide valuable medical services. The high cost of malpractice insurance increases the likelihood of a medical organization having an understaffed facility and other budget cuts. A firm of this nature can help institutionalize practices that will reduce the cost of malpractice insurance.

Hospitals, hospices, nonprofit healthcare facilities and private medical offices can also benefit from the array of benefits that a health care law firm provides. Not only can this type of legal assistance address existing lawsuits or allegations, it can prevent problems before they begin and preserve an accredited practice or institution’s reputation.

Licensed Practical Nurse – Nursing Scope of Practice Variations in the Canadian Health Care System

The licensed practical nurse is one of the three legally defined types of nursing in Canada. The other two types of nursing are the registered nurse and the registered psychiatric nurse (recognized in the four Canadian western provinces only).

Past trends

There are approximately 75,000 licensed practical nurses in Canada. When labor trends are examined it shows that the number of LPN jobs in the Canadian health care system has waxed and waned over time. This was usually in response to the job market for the registered nurse. When registered nurses are more plentiful the number of LPN jobs decreases and when the RN becomes more scarce this usually creates a demand for more licensed practical nurses.

Contemporary trends

The nursing shortage in Canada is increasing and expected to get worse over the next ten years. The demand for nursing services will increase as the population ages and Canada has never been able to produce enough nurses to meet the demand. Once again the labor forecasts are that the demand for LPN’s will increase.

Future trends

For the first time in Canadian history the requirement for registered nursing practice in Canada is a 4 year degree. This means that it takes longer to produce a registered nurse and that they can demand more money for the work they do. The future trend in viewing the role of the licensed practical nurse will be to give more serious consideration to the education and employment of LPN’s with a view to creating a nursing professional that has a distinct role in the Canadian health care system. Governments and employers alike are trying to determine the best use of the higher educated registered nurse and more clearly define the role of the LPN.

At the government level there must be attention paid to making sure that the most cost efficient practitioner is being used for the needs of the patient while at the same time protecting the interests of the Canadian public.

At the regulatory level both professions must engage in professional collaboration to clearly define their own roles and responsibilities as well as those that overlap. It stands to reason that a registered nurse educated to a university degree level is not the same practitioner as a licensed practical nurse with 1- 2 years of vocational training. Determination of what the LPN can and cannot do or should and should not do in professional nursing practice is still ongoing and varies from province to province.

What is the variation in the nursing scope of practice for LPN’s across Canada?

Because health care is a provincial responsibility the regulation of nursing practice is done through provincial legislation. The legislation in each province outlines what the legal definition of nursing is and what the nursing scope of practice is for each type of nursing. The legislation is not the same in every province and the education required for LPN jobs varies greatly so there is considerable variation across the country in the nature and scope of LPN jobs.

  • A licensed practical nurse in British Columbia can practice nursing only under the direction or supervision of an RN or medical practitioner.
  • In Ontario and Alberta the LPN works independently within a defined nursing scope of practice and does not need to be under supervision or direction of a registered nurse.
  • In Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick the LPN works under direction.

Additionally in New Brunswick the complexity of the client suitable for assignment to the Registered Nursing Assistant (this is the same classification as a LPN) is defined and it is stipulated that the RNA can assist the RN with more acutely ill patients but not take care of those patients independently.

Depending on the province and the defined nursing scope of practice, LPN jobs can be in a variety of settings including long term care, community agencies, acute care hospitals and community health centers. In all settings the LPN works in partnership with other health care providers including registered nurses and is assigned to clients who have a limited number of variables. In all provinces when the number of variables increases and the client situation becomes more complex, that client should be transferred to the care of a registered nurse.

Despite the variations in the defined nursing scope of practice for the licensed practical nurse and the differences in the length of education, all LPN’s in Canada write the same nursing entrance test – the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam.

Health Care Schooling Opportunities and Courses

Health and medical professionals conduct job duties ranging from administrative work to medical care. Health care schools provide students with numerous areas of study that lead to satisfying careers. Students can seek schooling opportunities in several concentration areas that provide them with the coursework needed to enter the industry.

Students that have a desire to work in health care have multiple opportunities available to them. The interests of students will primarily determine what programs to work through. For example, students that want to enter health education will complete different training programs then students that want to enter cardiovascular technology. Educational training can be completed at all levels, but some may require students to hold graduate degrees to qualify for careers. Some areas may only require undergraduate degrees to step into careers. Students need to research the field to know what the requirements are for their area of interest.

Possible training options include:

*Health Information Technician

Professionals maintain all patient records for medical facilities. This highly important role ensures that everything is accurate and up to date. Schooling teaches students the proper and legal ways to collect, manage, and examine data. Students learn to handle medical history of patients and business billing. The goal is to decrease unneeded paperwork and help run the information side of health care smoothly. Common courses in this field may include:

  • Health Information Statistics
  • ICD Coding

Students will need to obtain at least an associate’s degree to enter careers as professionals.

*Cardiovascular Technology

The work done in this area of the field has students learning how to diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases. The different types of diseases are explored to give students a well-rounded knowledge of what affects patients and how to properly treat them. Several hours inside clinical and laboratory courses prepare students to understand diagnostic testing and how to assist with treatment practices. Core courses could include:

  • Ultrasound Technology
  • Electrocardiography

Students can become vascular technologists, echocardiographers, and more after completing a program.

*Health Services

Students interested in the operational side of health care should consider an education in health services. Through programs at every level students can study policies and apply them to organizational management. Administration degrees are highly common giving students a background in public health. Depending on the degree level students will either study to become entry-level managers or administrators. Through program areas relating to finance, human resources management, and more students are qualified for numerous careers inside the industry. Students will complete courses that include:

  • Health Finance
  • Aging and Health

Other areas of study can have students completing programs in preventive medicine, public health, and health education.

The industry is broad giving students several opportunities to enter training. Begin an accredited education in health care by choosing an area of study. Different agencies like the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools ( http://www.abhes.org/ ) can accredit programs that provide a quality education. A satisfying career is available to students once they complete a degree program.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

The Career Prospect of Health Care Nursing Degree

Over the past few years, health care nursing has been emerging as one of the most popular professions in the healthcare industry. It’s a well accepted and rewarding occupation which primarily requires high level of training. Today with a large number of patients and their families opting for home-based health care, the demand of healthcare nursing professionals is also increasing. In addition to this, with a booming health industry, the pressure on potential employees to earn a healthcare nursing degree is increasing more instead of going for a liberal arts affiliated health nursing course. No doubt, getting or gaining a degree in health care nursing can open up a whole galaxy of job opportunities.

Better future prospects

Accomplishing a degree in healthcare nursing can help you find surprising doors opening to boost your career. Today, many hospitals and nursing homes are looking and recruiting nurses who have at least completed a healthcare nursing degree. The major benefit of earning a health care degree is it provides the platform to earn future degrees in nursing or even become a doctor. This degree is an outstanding way to move into health service management while still working within the healthcare field. It even helps in broadening your knowledge base beyond patient care and anatomy. You can also learn about the legal and accounting aspects of successful healthcare facilities, human resources skills, staff management and medical ethics. Moreover, attaining this nursing degree even helps you command higher salaries. This is because, on an average health care professional earns close to double the average wage per capita in the United States.

Health care nursing schools

These days as the career opportunities are limitless after getting a healthcare nursing degree, choosing a nursing degree from reputed nursing school is getting more vital. As a result, you must have clear information about the kind of practical lessons that nursing school plans to provide you. Besides this, you must ensure to choose program from those school that meets the values of education set by a national accrediting organization. Today there are many online universities that offer this degree online. So make sure the online classes that are taught and the accredited curriculums are devised by certified and experienced individuals who have worked comprehensively in the healthcare field.

Conclusion

Today choosing a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant is definitely one of the best career options in health care industry. It provides enormous career opportunity and rewards. Some rewards include the relationship with a patient and their family, independence, and engaging in critical thinking. Certainly as long as there is a demand for nurses and others in the health care field, this profession is going to boom further in next coming years.

Legal Forms and Health Care

It is not beyond in our knowledge that when our children reach 18 years of age they left home to live their life independently. In the event that you got sick the children can visit you almost every day but cannot stay by you all day long as they have their own life to run too. No need to depend on them especially in regards to your health. You can prepare such times through filing legal forms before the event of being sick occurs.

The declaration of health care is a legal document which is one among other kind of directives. Health care directive is a documentary directed to health care pros that can be complex or simple. It consist the detailed kind of care you like to get in case you become disabled or in the event when you get sick. To the average person this paper called will of living. Some states have different name in this kind of directive such as;

1. Advance directive. This kind of directive pertains to the medical reference and treatments. It includes the designation of decision-maker in the event of the principal person become disabled.

2. Declaration of health care. This directive is known as the forcing and enforcing necessity as no normal person would like to talk about the event when he or she becomes ill.

3. Directive to physicians. This directive requires that the principal at least reach the age of 18 years old with two witness at hand upon filing. This is all about preparation and assigning of his own physician in the event when he or she got sick.

4. Appellation of health care replacement. This is the kind of directive form you need to fill up if you like to change your request on the original directives that you had submitted.

5. Medical directive. This directive will accommodate your medical needs on the event of getting sick. Make sure that you fill out this directive correctly and open to the possibility of any kind of sickness that will appear.

6. Patient counsel designation. This directive will allow you to choose the right person to be assigned for you when the time comes that you are sick or disabled. Choose the right person that you can rely on in times of needs.

Are Your Nursing Assistants in the Know About Legal Issues?

Do your nursing assistants know that judges don’t look kindly on anyone they feel may be taking advantage of a client? For example:

“Bob” has been “Mr. Howard’s” home health aide for over a year. Bob tells Mr. Howard that he is having trouble paying his bills and he may have to look for a different job. To keep Bob from quitting, Mr. Howard gives him some money. When Mr. Howard’s family members find out, they accuse Bob of stealing from Mr. Howard-and take him to court. Bob tries to defend himself by saying that the money was a gift. The judge does not agree…

“Sarah”, a nursing assistant, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a nursing home resident. The charges say that Sarah left “Mrs. Baxter”, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease, alone in the bathtub for at least seven minutes. Unfortunately, Mrs. Baxter drowned.

By sharing the following information at your next CNA inservice meeting, you’ll arm your aides with the knowledge they need to follow the laws pertaining to client care.

CNAs, Clients & the Law

Many different laws govern you as you go about your daily work. Think about it! There are laws relating to:

The type of training needed to become a certified nurse aide.
Who gets hired (or fired) at your workplace.
How many hours you can work at one time.
How many inservice hours you need for your job.
Which client care tasks you are allowed to do-and which must be done by a nurse.
Who can legally administer medications to clients.
The personal rights of each of your clients.

The law requires that all health care workers-like yourself-act in a professional manner. To accomplish this, you must:

Respect the rights of each client.
Behave in an ethical manner.
Perform your client care as assigned.
Follow the rules and regulations of your workplace.
Avoid doing anything beyond your level of training.

Remember…as health care workers, we often hold our clients’ lives in our hands. Because of this, our work is monitored closely-by supervisors, administrators, surveyors, government agencies, family members and, sometimes, lawyers. Keep reading to learn more about some common legal issues facing health care workers today.

Legal Terms & What They Mean

Accountability. To be accountable means that you-and all other health care workers-are held legally responsible for your actions while you are at work. This includes what you do and what you don’t do-but should have.

Assault. It is considered assault if someone threatens another person with physical harm. Whether the victim is actually harmed or is just threatened with harm-it’s still assault.

Battery. To commit a battery means to touch another person in a harmful or offensive way.

False Imprisonment. Do you think false imprisonment means locking an innocent person in a jail cell? Well, there are other situations that are also considered false imprisonment. Both the threat of being physically restrained and actually being physically restrained are false imprisonment. So, for example, threatening to keep a patient in the hospital against his will is considered false imprisonment.

Foreseeability. Health care workers are expected to be able to foresee-or predict-the consequences of certain situations. For example, let’s say that Mr. Jones tells you he wants to take a walk, but you notice the floor in the hallway has just been mopped. A lawyer would expect you to be able to foresee that Mr. Jones might fall if he walks on the wet floor.

Invasion of Privacy. There are several different ways a person’s privacy can be invaded. For example, breaking confidentiality about a client is an invasion of privacy. So is undressing a client in front of others.

Liability. In legal terms, liability is the same as accountability. Health care workers are held liable for everything they do-or fail to do-while working with their clients.

Libel. To commit libel means to injure another person’s reputation by writing something negative about that person. To be considered libel, the statement must be serious and it must be untrue.

Malpractice & Misconduct. Health care professionals, like doctors and nurses, can be charged with malpractice if their actions result in harm to their clients. In the same situation, nurse aides are charged with misconduct.

Negligence. All health care workers can be considered negligent if they fail to use reasonable care during their work with clients. (Care is considered reasonable if it’s what the average health care worker would do in the same situation.)

Slander. To commit slander means to injure another person’s reputation by saying something negative about that person. Just like libel, the statement must be serious and must be untrue.

What Legal Issues Regarding Alzheimer’s Will You Be Facing?

So Soon?

Legal issues on Alzheimer’s and Financial Planning come your way before you would notice it. Therefore it’s important to think about when to start arranging these matters when a person has the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Keep in mind that the ability to make proper judgments declines as time goes by. In the early stage of the disease you are very well capable to make the right decisions on all of the financial and legal issues on Alzheimer’s Disease. When you just wait and see what happens, you will be too late to make the necessary arrangements by yourself.

There is a number of issues to deal with. We present the most important ones in this article and advise you to consult someone who is specialized in these matters (especially where legal issues are involved).

Your Signature And Its Legality

In the first stages of Alzheimer’s Disease you are very well capable of making your own decisions on signing official documents and contracts. Even the law (through a legal verdict) endorses this.

How hard it is, you should be aware of the fact that other times will come. Then you’ll no longer be able to independently judge the legal issues because of the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.

At some point you might be placed under guardianship because you really won’t be able to judge well and to bear all responsibilities. Therefore we advise you to start in time with the very important long term care and disability planning after the diagnosis.

Take Care Of The Future

Starting in time with all arrangements for the time you won’t be able to do this yourself gives you the opportunity to participate in decisions like health care and financial matters, including plans for long-term care. All decisions can be written down and signed by you. Maybe you have to go to a notary to make certain legal records.

Starting in time gives you the opportunity to really make your own decisions and to take care of your loved ones at the moment you aren’t able to by yourself. You can also decide yourself on who to authorize to make decisions on behalf of you.

What Do You Need?

Next to a notary for your will, you may also need an attorney for a number of documents for the period in which others should care for you. As you plan for the future, ask the attorney about the following documents:

Power of Attorney
At the moment you cannot make your own decisions anymore someone or some people need to take care of that. You can write down in a power of attorney who you prefer to take those responsible tasks. It speaks for itself that you have talked about his with these people. In the power of attorney you write down exactly who will be responsible for what issues.
Power of Attorney for Health Care
Like stated before, it is possible to assign different issues in different roles within your power of attorney. There is a good reason to make a separate power of attorney for health care. Whether you appoint the same person from the other issues to also take care for your health care issues or you want to appoint another person for the health care issues isn’t important. In the power of attorney for healthcare you appoint a person to make all decisions regarding health care, including choices regarding health care providers, medical treatment, and, in the later stages of the disease, end-of-life decisions.
Living Will or Advanced Directives
A living will is a legal document to make known your wishes only regarding life prolonging medical treatments.
A living will informs your family and your health care providers about your wishes for medical treatment in the situation you are not able to make these clear by yourself.
In the main, a living will describes what your wishes are concerning certain life prolonging treatments. You declare in this Living Will which treatments you do or do not want to be carried out in the event you either will be in a terminal stage or are in a permanent vegetative state.
A living will only becomes effective when you are incapable to speak out your wishes. In all other situations you can still decide on what treatments you do or don’t want.
A living will is only used when your ultimate recovery is hopeless.
Living Trusts
Under a Living Trust you arrange how another person or a bank, called a trustee, holds legal title to property for you, the beneficiary.
The goal is to carefully invest and manage trust assets once the beneficiary is no longer able to manage finances because of cognitive impairment.
A Will or a Testament
Is a legal document to specify who will inherit your property after you die. Without a will, you will have no say in what happens to your property. To draw up a will you need an experienced wills and trusts lawyer to advise you in all of your estate planning needs.

Let People Involved Know About the Documents

Be sure people know about all of these documents. That’s the only way to get these legal issues on Alzheimer’s working at the necessary moment. Your doctor and the person you designate as your health care proxy have to know about them. Speak with your doctor not only about the existence of the documents but also about the content.

Even better if you’ve already talked about the subjects during the drafting of the documents. He or she can help you by answering all questions you have about certain treatments.

Once you’ve decided what it is you do or don’t want, make your wishes known to both your doctor and your family.