1. alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
    Settlement of civil disputes between parties using neutral mediators or arbitrators without going to court.
  2. confidentiality
    The act of holding information in confidence, not to be released to unauthorized individuals.
  3. damages
    Monetary awards sought by plaintiffs in lawsuits.
  4. deposition
    Sworn testimony given and recorded outside the courtroom during the pretrail phase of a case.
  5. duty of care
    The obligation of health care professionals to patients and, in some cases, nonpatients.
  6. interrogatory
    A written set of questions requiring written answers from a plaintiff or defendant under oath.
  7. liable
    Accountable under the law.
  8. malfeasance
    The performance of a totally wrongful and unlawful act.
  9. misfeasance
    The performance of a lawful act in an illegal or improper manner.
  10. nonfeasance
    The failure to act when one should.
  11. privileged communication
    Information held confidential within a protected relationship.
  12. res ipsa loquitur
    Literally, "the thing speaks for itself"; a situation that is so obviously negligent that no expert witnesses need to be called. Also known as the doctrine of common knowledge.
  13. standard of care
    The level of performance expected of a health care worker in carrying out his or her professional duties.
  14. subpoena
    A legal ducument requiring the recipient to appear as witness in court or to give a depositon.
  15. subpoena duces tecum

    [suh-pee-nuh doo-seez tee-kuh m]
    A legal document requiring the recipient to bring certain written records to court to be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
  16. summons
    A written notification issued by the clerk of the court and delivered with a copy of the complaint to the defendant in a lawsuit, directing him or her to respond to the charges brought in a court of law.
  17. testimony
    Satements sworn to under oath by witnesses testifying in court and giving depositions.
  18. wrongful death statutes
    Sate statutes that allow a person's beneficiaries to collect for loss to the estate for the deceased for future earnings when a death is judged to have been due to negligence.
  19. confidentiality
    The act of holding information in confidence, not to be released to unauthorized individuals.
  20. affirmative defenses
    Defenses used by defendants in medical professional liability suits that allow the accused to present factural evidence that the patient's condition was caused by some factor other than the defendants negligence.
  21. assumption of risk
    A legal defense that holds the defendant is not gulity of negligent act, since the plaintiff knew of and accepted beforehand any risks involved.
  22. claims-made insurance
    A type of liability insurance that covers the insured only for those claims made (not for any injury occurring) wihile the policy is in force.
  23. comparative negligence
    An affirmative defense claimed by the defendant, alleging that plaintiff contributed to the injury by a certain degree.
  24. contributory negligence
    An affirmative defense that alleges that the plaintiff, through a lack of care, caused or contributed to his or her own injury.
  25. denial
    A defense that claims innnocence of the charges or that one or more of the four Ds of negligence are lacking.
  26. emergency
    A type of affirmative defense in which the person who comes to the aid of a victim in an emergency is not held liable under certain circumstances.
  27. liability insurance
    Contract coverage for potential damages incurred as result of a negligent act.
  28. occurrence insurance
    A type of liability insurance that covers the insured for many claims arising from an incident that occured, or is alleged to have occurred, during the time the policy is in force, regardless of when the claim is made.
  29. prior acts insurance coverage
    A supplement to a claims-made policy that can be purchased when health care practitioners change insurance carriers.
  30. quality assurance
    A program of measures taken by health care providers and practitioners to uphold the quality of patient care. Also called quality improvement (I).
  31. quality improvement (I)
    A program of measures taken by health care providers and practitioners to uphold the quality of patient care. Also called quality assurance.
  32. release of tortfeasor
    A technical defense to a lawsuit that prohibits a lawsuit against the person who caused an injury (the tortfeasor) if he or she was expressly released from further liability in the settlement of a suit.
  33. res judicata

    [reez uh-joo-di-key-tuh]
    Literally, "The thing has been decided"; legal principle that a claim cannot be retried between the same parties if it has already been legally resolved.
  34. risk management
    The taking of steps to minimized danger, hazard, and liability.
  35. self-insurance coverage
    An insurance coverage option whereby insured subscribers contribute to a trust fund to be used in paying potential damage awards.
  36. statute of limitations
    That period of time established by state law during which a lawsuit may be filed.
  37. tail coverage
    An insurance coverage option available for health care practitioners; when a claims-made policy is discontinued, it extends coverage for malpractice claims alleged to have occurred during those dates that claims-made coverage was in effect.
  38. technical defenses
    Defenses used in a lawsuit that are based upon legal technicalities.
  39. Confidentiality of Alcohol and DrugAbuse, Patient Records
    A federal statute that protects patients with histories of substance abuse regarding the release of information about treatment.
  40. consent
    Permission from a patient, either expressed or implied, for something to be done by another. For example, consent is required for a physician to examine a patient, to perform tests that aid in diagnosis, and/or to treat for a medical condition.
  41. doctrine of informed consent
    The legal basis for informed consent, usually outlined in a state's medical practice acts.
  42. doctrine of professional discretion
    A principle under which a physician can exercise judgement as to whether to show patients who are being treated for mental or emotional conditions their records. Disclosure depends on whether, in the physician's judgement, such patients would be harmed by viewing the records.
  43. fiduciary duty
    A physician's obligation to his or her patient, based upon trust and confidence.
  44. Good Samaritan Acts
    State laws protecting physicians and sometimes other health care practitioners and laypersons from charges of negligence or abandonment if they stop to help the victim of an accident or other emergency.
  45. health information technology (HIT)
    The application of information precessing, involving both computer hardware and software, that deals with the storage, retrieval, sharing, and use of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making.
  46. medical record
    A collection of data recorded when a patient seeks medical treatment.
  47. code set
    Under HIPAA, terms that provide for uniformity and simplification of health care billing and record keeping.
  48. covered entities
    Health care providers and clearinghouses that transmit HIPAA transactions electronically, and must comply with HIPAA standards and rules.
  49. covered transaction
    Electronic exchanges of information between two covered-entity business partners using HIPAA-mandated transaction\standards.
  50. de-identify
    To remove all information that identifies patients from health care transactions.
  51. designated record set
    Records maintained by cor for a HIPAA-covered entity.
  52. electronic data interchange (EDI)
    The use of uniform electronic protocols to transfer business information between organizations via computer networks.
  53. electronic transmission
    The sending of information from one network-connected computer to another.
  54. encryption
    The scrambling or encoding of information before sending it electronically.
  55. firewalls
    Hardware, software, or both designed to prevent anauthorized persons from accessing electronic information.
  56. privacy
    Freedom from anauthorized intrusion.
  57. Protected Health Information (PHI)
    Information that contains one or more patient identifiers.
  58. rule
    A document that includes the HIPAA standards or requirements.
  59. security
    The use of policies and procedures to protect electronic information from unauthorized access.
  60. standard
    A general requirement under HIPAA.
  61. state preemption
    If a state's privacy laws are stricter than HIPAA privacy standards, state laws take precedence.
  62. transaction
    Transmission of information between two parties for financial or administrative activities.
  63. treatment, payment, and health care operations (TPO)
    A HIPAA term for qualified providers, disclosure of PHI to obtain reimbursement, and activities and transactions among entities. Treatment means that a health care provider can provide care; payment means that a provider can disclose PHI to be reimbursed; health care operations refers to HIPAA-approved activities and transactions.
  64. verification
    The requirement under HIPAA that a patient's identity be verified before protected health information is released.
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