The healthcare industry today is growing and changing in all its bounds. This stems from the fact that the lawmakers, patients, payers and stakeholders involved are constantly adapting to the changing demands. This is when the healthcare administrator’s role comes into play which is not just constrained to business. They ensure that all the regulatory compliances are followed properly and patients receive high-quality care. Their work also includes the management of daily operations of healthcare facilities. Regardless of the work, they must navigate the legalities associated with each and adhere to all of them. The article will explore the responsibilities and key legal obligations of healthcare administrators.
Who are healthcare administrators?
These are healthcare personnel responsible for managing and overseeing daily healthcare facilities and operations. The healthcare administrator ensures that the services offered and delivered by their facility are effective, efficient and within their budget. They work in distinct settings such as hospitals, privately owned clinics, nursing homes, insurance companies and even government agencies.
What are the roles of Healthcare Administrators?
Their roles may include the following:
- Managing staff
- Developing policies and procedures
- Negotiating contracts
- Analyzing financial data
- Implementing strategies to improve healthcare outcomes.
What are the legal responsibilities of Healthcare Administrators?
- Compliance with Regulatory Requirements
Administrators are responsible for ensuring that the healthcare facilities they are involved with are compliant with the relevant regulatory requirements such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act). The healthcare administrators also obtain and maintain the required certifications and licenses needed as per the safety and sanitation standards.
They also ensure that the necessary reporting requirements are followed and staff is trained regularly around these as any carelessness around it can cost heavy fines, penalties or criminal charges on the healthcare administration.
- Patient Privacy and Confidentiality
Healthcare administrators are also involved in ensuring that the patient’s privacy and confidentiality are maintained. This obligates them to make constant checks for any breaches or violations to safeguard the sensitive information of the patient. They also ensure that PHI (Protected Health Information) of the patient is securely stored, and is only shared after proper consent from authorized individuals. They train staff on HIPAA policy implementation on privacy and confidentiality best practices. This is done to protect the facility from any significant fines and reputational damages.
- Quality of Care Standards
Healthcare administrators are responsible for ensuring that the facilities are providing high-quality care to the patients. This involves keeping a check on equipment maintenance and the provision of proper consent from the patients before they undergo any treatment. They also check whether these meet established standards or not by implementing effective quality improvement initiatives, and ensuring that all necessary resources are available to support patient care. They also ensure that only qualified staff is hired and the ones hired are provided regular training and education on safety protocols.
This heps the facility to avoid regulatory fines or loss of accreditation that might be a cause of violation of any of these. Failure to provide quality and adequate care can also result in malpractice lawsuits.
- Employment Laws
Healthcare administration also has the legal obligation to promote a safe environment for their staff. This applies to ethical hiring, providing employee due rights, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), and addressing any safety concerns promptly. Administrators should keep constant checks and promptly respond to any kind of harassment, discrimination or misconduct in the workplace.
If not followed diligently, it might lead to disciplinary actions on the facility from employees or regulatory agencies under employment law violations or workplace safety.
- Financial Responsibilities
It is the legal duty of healthcare administrators to make financially sustainable models for their facilities and responsibly manage monetary operations. This involves designing budgeting strategies, managing the revenue cycles and negotiating contracts with payers. They also have to maintain accuracy in the financial records and reporting.
Following all of these religiously can help them avoid the risks of legal penalties or actions and in the worst case scenarios, bankruptcy for the facility.
Healthcare administrators are bound to be legally responsible and duly follow the administrative protocols to manage their facilities effectively. They are legally obligated to manage risk, maintain patient confidentiality and make the workplace financially sustainable. They should have an understanding of employment laws, and regulatory requirements and should commit to promoting a culture of compliance within their organizations. By fulfilling these requirements, healthcare administrators can maintain standards and minimize legal risks that might arise in their facilities.
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