Syllabus for MSP-642



This course is designed to give students an in-depth introduction to the issues of health services law and ethics. Among the subjects covered are: the role of law in the U.S. healthcare system; the legal system and legal research; managing and regulating the healthcare system, including legal structure and governance of healthcare organizations; government regulations in public health and health services; protecting the privacy of medical information, medical staff credentialing and clinical privileges; the laws in government payment programs; antitrust law in the healthcare field; and legal and ethical issues in patient care and in health insurance.



After completing this course, students should be able to:

CO 1        Compare and contrast ethical and legal principles, including their impact on the healthcare industry.

CO 2        Appraise the major benefits and challenges associated with healthcare reform efforts in the United States.

CO 3        Evaluate how the law impacts the physician-patient relationship and the rights of individual patients to make healthcare decisions.

CO 4        Measure how governmental regulation of the healthcare industry is utilized to protect patient health and safety and to promote access to care.

CO 5        Assess the impact of the government’s enforcement of laws that regulate the healthcare industry.

CO 6        Evaluate how managed care organizations and efforts to implement malpractice reforms impact treatment decisions and liability for negligence.

CO 7        Synthesize the legal issues that may arise under managed care contracts, including the imposition of financial incentives to provide less care and control patient utilization of healthcare services.


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

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-1567936377


Legal Issues in Healthcare is a three-credit, online course consisting of six modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Promoting Originality

One or more of your course activities may utilize a tool designed to promote original work and evaluate your submissions for plagiarism. More information about this tool is available in SafeAssign.

Discussion Forums

Legal Issues in Healthcare requires you to participate in six graded discussion forums that together count for a total of 30 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

You are required to complete a total of six written assignments; one assignment per module. The written assignments focus on the topics covered in each of the course modules.

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

Final Project: Research Paper

You are required to produce a final project in the form of a research paper and submit it at the end of the semester.

In your paper, you will identify a particular current healthcare issue, problem, or current trend and analyze it in terms of any laws or policies that support it together with any ethical issues involved. Part of your paper will involve  developing a plan of action to resolve or improve the issue you have identified.

You will produce your final project in four stages as part of your assignments for Modules 2, 3, 4, and 6.


For specific details regarding what you are required to do go to the Final Project area of 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:

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). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.

Lateness Policy

The University's late assignment policy states that written assignments should be submitted no later than the due date unless prior arrangements are made with the mentor and a new due date is established. If you submit an assignment after the due date without having made arrangements with the mentor, a minimum of 5 points (based on an assignment grading scale of 100 points) or 5 percent of the total points will be deducted for each week, or part thereof, that the assignment is late. To receive credit for discussion forum assignments, you must actively participate during the assigned discussion period. Also, unless you have registered for an extension, assignments submitted after the semester ends (or after the extension date expires) will be returned to you ungraded.

Active duty military students in receipt of Temporary Additional Duty orders (TDY) may be exempted from point deductions if their orders prescribe a return-to-class date that allows for sufficient time to complete the remaining course requirements, which is generally defined as allowing the student to miss no more than 1/3 of the total semester.


Military students with TDY orders shall follow the procedures, found on the OMVE website, to establish new due dates without penalty for written assignments and discussion boards.


First Steps to Success

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

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University 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.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University 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 University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

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, or without identifying it as a direct quote, 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 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.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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