Discuss with your colleagues the following questions: What is Legality? Specifically how are employees and medical entities legally responsible in Health Service Organizations? Provide two specific real life case examples that you find on the internet or in the print media. Read the background articles but this discussion will take research beyond the above articles. Provide citation of authority to support your initial response to discussion questions. Peers are expected to demonstrate critical thinking in their questions related to the classmates’ descriptions. Initial response to dicussion topic must be no later than midnight Thursday and then you must substantively respond to at least 2 classmate submissions no later than 6pm Sunday. See Discussion Requirements in Discussion topic entitled “Discussion Expectations and Grading” No duplication. Redundant primary posts will not be graded.
[Legal issues facing health care professionals]
http://ijahsp.nova.edu/articles/Vol2num1/pdf/lazaro.pdf [ethical and legal analysis of health care case]
Background Readings for week 1 discussion 1
[This government website outlines employer responsibilities under Occupational Health and Safety Administration federal law.]
[This employee handbook identifies a number of state and federal obligations as it relates to employees. Pay special attention to the activities and programs on page 10 of this handbook.]
|Discuss with your colleagues 1.What are Ethics? 2. Where do they come from and who is responsible? 3. How do ethics apply to health care organizations and its employees? Provide two specific real life case examples that you find on the internet or in the print media. 4. Research a specific ethics issue applicable to health care organizations, discuss how it was handled, what ethics theory epitomizes the handling of the issue and how would you have handled the issue and which specific ethics theory would apply to your solution. [see below A Framework for Thinking Ethically to help with last question]
Read the background articles but this discussion will take research beyond the above articles. Provide citation of authority to support your initial response to conference questions. Peers are expected to demonstrate critical thinking in their questions related to the classmates’ descriptions. Initial response to dicussion topic must be no later than midnight Thursday and then you must substantively respond to at least 2 classmate submissions no later than 6pm Sunday. See Discussion Requirements in Discussion topic entitled “Discussion Expectations and Grading” No duplication. Redundant primary posts will not be graded.
http://www.rcecs.com/MyCE/PDFDocs/course/V7050.pdf [Ethics issues facing health care professionals]
http://ijahsp.nova.edu/articles/Vol2num1/pdf/lazaro.pdf [ethical and legal analysis of health care case]
See background readings below.
[Ethical Responsibilities of Health Care Leadership]
[This educational resource is designed to help health care organization directors ask knowledgeable and appropriate questions related to health care corporate compliance.]
· http://www.nahq.org/uploads/files/about/codestandards.pdf [Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Healthcare Quality Professionals]
· http://www.jblearning.com/samples/076374526X/4526X_CH14_235_250.pdf [Health Care ethics]
A Framework for Thinking Ethically
This document is designed as an introduction to thinking ethically. We all have an image of our better selves-of how we are when we act ethically or are “at our best.” We probably also have an image of what an ethical community, an ethical business, an ethical government, or an ethical society should be. Ethics really has to do with all these levels-acting ethically as individuals, creating ethical organizations and governments, and making our society as a whole ethical in the way it treats everyone.
What is Ethics?
Simply stated, ethics refers to standards of behavior that tell us how human beings ought to act in the many situations in which they find themselves-as friends, parents, children, citizens, businesspeople, teachers, professionals, and so on.
It is helpful to identify what ethics is NOT:
· • Ethics is not the same as feelings. Feelings provide important information for our ethical choices. Some people have highly developed habits that make them feel bad when they do something wrong, but many people feel good even though they are doing something wrong. And often our feelings will tell us it is uncomfortable to do the right thing if it is hard.
· • Ethics is not religion. Many people are not religious, but ethics applies to everyone. Most religions do advocate high ethical standards but sometimes do not address all the types of problems we face.
· • Ethics is not following the law. A good system of law does incorporate many ethical standards, but law can deviate from what is ethical. Law can become ethically corrupt, as some totalitarian regimes have made it. Law can be a function of power alone and designed to serve the interests of narrow groups. Law may have a difficult time designing or enforcing standards in some important areas, and may be slow to address new problems.
· • Ethics is not following culturally accepted norms. Some cultures are quite ethical, but others become corrupt -or blind to certain ethical concerns (as the United States was to slavery before the Civil War). “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is not a satisfactory ethical standard.
· • Ethics is not science. Social and natural science can provide important data to help us make better ethical choices. But science alone does not tell us what we ought to do. Science may provide an explanation for what humans are like. But ethics provides reasons for how humans ought to act. And just because something is scientifically or technologically possible, it may not be ethical to do it.
Why Identifying Ethical Standards is Hard
There are two fundamental problems in identifying the ethical standards we are to follow:
If our ethics are not based on feelings, religion, law, accepted social practice, or science, what are they based on? Many philosophers and ethicists have helped us answer this critical question. They have suggested at least five different sources of ethical standards we should use.
Five Sources of Ethical Standards
The Utilitarian Approach
The Rights Approach
The Fairness or Justice Approach
The Common Good Approach
The Virtue Approach
Putting the Approaches Together
Each of the approaches helps us determine what standards of behavior can be considered ethical. There are still problems to be solved, however.
The first problem is that we may not agree on the content of some of these specific approaches. We may not all agree to the same set of human and civil rights.
We may not agree on what constitutes the common good. We may not even agree on what is a good and what is a harm.
The second problem is that the different approaches may not all answer the question “What is ethical?” in the same way. Nonetheless, each approach gives us important information with which to determine what is ethical in a particular circumstance. And much more often than not, the different approaches do lead to similar answers.
Making good ethical decisions requires a trained sensitivity to ethical issues and a practiced method for exploring the ethical aspects of a decision and weighing the considerations that should impact our choice of a course of action. Having a method for ethical decision making is absolutely essential. When practiced regularly, the method becomes so familiar that we work through it automatically without consulting the specific steps.
The more novel and difficult the ethical choice we face, the more we need to rely on discussion and dialogue with others about the dilemma. Only by careful exploration of the problem, aided by the insights and different perspectives of others, can we make good ethical choices in such situations.
We have found the following framework for ethical decision making a useful method for exploring ethical dilemmas and identifying ethical courses of action.
A Framework for Ethical Decision Making
Recognize an Ethical Issue
1. Could this decision or situation be damaging to someone or to some group? Does this decision involve a choice between a good and bad alternative, or perhaps between two “goods” or between two “bads”?
2. Is this issue about more than what is legal or what is most efficient? If so, how?
Get the Facts
3. What are the relevant facts of the case? What facts are not known? Can I learn more about the situation? Do I know enough to make a decision?
4. What individuals and groups have an important stake in the outcome? Are some concerns more important? Why?
5. What are the options for acting? Have all the relevant persons and groups been consulted? Have I identified creative options?
Evaluate Alternative Actions
6. Evaluate the options by asking the following questions:
· Which option will produce the most good and do the least harm? (The Utilitarian Approach)
· Which option best respects the rights of all who have a stake? (The Rights Approach)
· Which option treats people equally or proportionately? (The Justice Approach)
· Which option best serves the community
· Which option leads me to act as the sort of person I want to be? (The Virtue Approach)
Make a Decision and Test It
7. Considering all these approaches, which option best addresses the situation?
8. If I told someone I respect-or told a television audience-which option I have chosen, what would they say?
Act and Reflect on the Outcome
9. How can my decision be implemented with the greatest care and attention to the concerns of all stakeholders?
10. How did my decision turn out and what have I learned from this specific situation?
This framework for thinking ethically is the product of dialogue and debate at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. Primary contributors include Manuel Velasquez, Dennis Moberg, Michael J. Meyer, Thomas Shanks, Margaret R. McLean, David DeCosse, Claire André, and Kirk O. Hanson. It was last revised in May 2009.
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