Laws are designed primarily to ensure:
- Patient safety
- That doctors and health care professionals/providers (HCPs) respect ethical guidelines in patient care. These guidelines are articulated in the Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) acknowledges that HCPs may experience conflicts between:
- Different ethical principles
- Ethical and legal or regulatory requirements
- Their own ethical convictions and the demands of other parties
The CMA recommends training in ethical analysis and decision-making during undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education for HCPs to develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to deal with these problems.
Consultation with colleagues, regulatory authorities, ethicists, ethics committees or others who have relevant expertise is also recommended.
This section is written from a Canadian perspective as a very basic overview only of health care law for HCPs and medical undergraduates.
There are very significant differences in the legal process between the United States and Canada due to differences in:
- Insurance programs in United States
- Absence of national health insurance in US
- Practices of the private insurance companies who cover physicians
- Insurance programs in Canada
- Medicare functions as a national insurance program
- Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) covers physicians for legal liability
- Legal Process
- Use of a jury
- Large size of damage awards
- Fee for service in U.S.
- Medicine is much more of a "business" with direct billing of patient by practitioner and increased competitiveness between practitioners
Read about the history of the CMPA