Colorado School of Public Health University of Colorado at Denver Anschutz Medical Campus Department of Health Systems, Management, & Policy

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Colorado School of Public Health
University of Colorado at Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus
Department of Health Systems, Management, & Policy

HSMP 6607 - Current Legal Issues in Health Care
Thursdays 5:30 – 7:20 pm
Ed 2 South L28-1307

Michael T. Jewell, JD, MPH

Assistant Clinical Professor


Current Legal Issues in Health Care (HSMP 6607) discusses public health and health care administration legal issues in the United States. The course offers graduate students knowledge of guiding jurisprudence and policy that shape the current health care system. HSMP 6607 is not a course in legal training, but it instead emphasizes interdisciplinary discussion in order to develop the necessary tools that the student will use to analyze current issues in health care and public health with a rooted framework.


Public Health Law – Students will be able to discuss foundational issues that drive public health law and policy, including: Constitutional underpinnings, regulation, rights, tort, and liberty interests.

Administration Law – The law of health care administration runs parallel with public health law in order to analyze public health foundations in practice. Students will understand general legal themes of not only the law of health care administration, but also the current American health care system.

Policy – The course instills in the student the appreciation of historical and legal developments that established the current American public health and health care systems. This includes guiding students through discussions of America’s unique history, culture, and economics and how they drive health law.

Required Texts

Gostin, Lawrence O. Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint. University of California Press, 2nd ed., 2008. 767 pp.

Showalter, J. Stuart. The Law of Healthcare Administration. Health Administration Press, 5th ed., 2008. 511 pp.

Optional Texts

Gostin, Lawrence O. (ed.). Public Health Law and Ethics: A Reader. University of California Press, 2002.

-This is a helpful companion to the required Gostin text that includes valuable primary source readings.


This is a 2-hour course that surveys a broad topic that has high utility within the context of an MPH course of study. In lieu of a research paper, students are expected to thoroughly read the assigned text for each class and come to class prepared to engage the lecture and readings.


Grades for the course are based on a Mid-Term Examination (45%) and a Final Examination (55%). The final examination will contain some cumulative material. Exam format will be essay and/or short answer in format. All lectures and assigned readings are fair content for the exams.

Grading Scale:

98 – 100: A+ 80 – 83: B-

94 – 97: A 77 – 79: C+
90 – 93: A- 74 – 76: C
87 – 89: B+ 70 – 73: C-
84 – 86: B 60 – 69: D


*Semester Begins – January 23

January 26 - Introductions, Overview, Public Health Legal Theory/Anglo-American Law Primer
Readings: Gostin, Chapters 1-2 (3-74); Showalter, 3-18
Topics: American Legal System, Roots of Common Law, Public Health Theory

February 2 – Constitutional Design: Rights, Limitations, and Powers
Readings: Gostin, Chapters 3-4 (77-144)
Topics: Constitutional Powers, State Power/Police Power, Federal Limitations,
Individual Rights, Property and Liberty Interests, Equal Protection

February 9 – Administrative Law and Health Regulation
Readings: Gostin, Chapter 5 (147 – 178)
Topics: Public Health Regulation, Agency Powers and Restrictions

February 16 - Issues in Tort Law
Readings: Gostin, Chapter 6 (181 – 226); Showalter, 47 – 77
Topics: Negligence, Tort Reform, Caps, Institutional Liability

February 23 Liability of the Health Care Entity: Corporate Structure and Responsibilities
Readings: Showalter, Chapters 4-5 (89-158)
Topics: Corporate Structures, Respondeat Superior and Agency Law, Independent Contractors

March 1 – Contract and the Law of Consent
Readings: Showalter, Chapters 2 and 9 (23-46, 243-292)
Topics: Basic Contract law, Insurance Arranagements, Consent/Withdrawal, Emergency Treatment

March 8 – Compliance Programs and Patient Safety; Introduction to Federal Payors
Readings: Showalter, Chapter 12 (357-384)
Topics: False Claims Act, Medicare/Medicaid/Tricare, Stark, Anti-Kickback

March 15Mid-Term Examination

March 22Spring Recess – No Class.

March 29 Privacy
Readings: Gostin, Chapter 8 (287-330); Showalter, Chapter 14 (423-460)
Topics: HIPAA, Surveillance, Confidentiality, Notification

April 5 First Amendment I – Right to Privacy
Readings: Showalter, Chapter 13 (385-414); as assigned.
Topics: Contraception, Abortion, Technology

April 12 – First Amendment II – Speech in Health Law
Readings: Gostin, Chapter 9 (333-369)
Topics: Compelled disclosure, Pharmaceutical Marketing, Commercial Speech

April 19 – Epidemiology and Civil Liberties
Readings: Gostin, Chapters 10-11 (371-458)
Topics: Immunization, Quarrantine, AIDS, Epidemic and Pandemic Containment

April 26 – American Law through History and Culture
Readings: As assigned.
Topics: Historical and Cultural perspectives in America that contribute to American health law; religion and theonomy; the uniqueness of the American health care situation

May 3 – Law and Economics
Readings: Gostin, 473-488; as assigned.
Topics: Economic liberty, implications of freedom of contract, economic perspectives and health care reform.

May 10 – Open Discussion, Review, Things Left Unsaid
Readings: None.
Topics: Open.

May 17Final Examination


All policies contained in the student handbook apply to this class.

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