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The concept of contracts, under contract law, is a branch of law whose main aim is to regulate interactions between parties in order to protect rights and enforce obligations that arise from…
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Criminal and civil law in health care Introduction Contracts are legally binding agreements that are made between two or more parties. The concept ofcontracts, under contract law, is a branch of law whose main aim is to regulate interactions between parties in order to protect rights and enforce obligations that arise from agreements. In this paper, I describe the purpose, types, and essential elements of a contract in healthcare and offer examples important healthcare contracts.
Purpose of contracts in healthcare
The major purpose of a contract is to define expected relationships to which the involved parties are willing to be bound. It therefore identifies an agreement and defines the scope within which such an agreement is enforceable. Consequently, healthcare contracts ensure that parties are informed of their rights and obligations, and provide remedies for breach by one or more parties to an agreement. It also clarifies parties’ intentions and can be used for future references to resolve misunderstandings among parties to it (Pozgar, 2012).
Types of contract in healthcare
Express contract
It defines an agreement by parties to establish, and be bound by their specified terms. Express contracts can be oral or written and written contracts override oral contracts (Simmers, Nartker and Kobelak, 2008).
Implied contract
An implied contract is one that is established by law, conduct or professional traditions, as opposed to parties express agreement (Simmers, Nartker and Kobelak, 2008).
Voidable contract
This is a contract in which one of the parties can relinquish his or her obligations because of lack of some of the essentials of a contract. The type of contract however, remains valid until it is revoked (Pozgar, 2012).
Executed contract
This is a contract in which the involved parties have fulfilled their obligations and are therefore released from terms of the contract (Pozgar, 2012).
Enforceable contract
This defines a valid contract whose breach leads to remedies that can be implemented by a judicial system (Pozgar, 2012).
Unenforceable contract
This is a type of contact with legal flaws and its breach attracts no legal remedy.
Other types of a contract are defined in terms of nature of involved subject matter such as contracts for reality defining contracts that involve “real estate and interest in real estate,” contracts for goods involving “movable objects with exception of money and securities,” and contract for services involving human efforts (Pozgar, 2012, p. 87).
Elements of contracts in healthcare
Essential elements of a valid a contract in healthcare are agreement, which defines offer and acceptance, and consideration. An offer refers to a promise by a party or parties to undertake acts, of commission or omission, on provision that the other party or parties will undertake specified acts of either omission or commission. An offer is only valid when the ‘offeror’ intends to be bound by the terms. Acceptance however defines a party’s consent, subject to legal provisions, to be bound by the terms of offer. It must involve “mutual consent,” be “definite and complete,” be made before the offer is revoked or within a reasonable period, and must be “complete and confirming” (Pozgar, 2012, p. 87). Another element of healthcare contract, consideration, defines a party’s sacrifice for derived benefits in a contract (Simmers, Nartker and Kobelak, 2008).
Examples of important contracts in healthcare
Examples of important contracts in healthcare include a contract for provision of care by a facility or care personnel to a patient, and a contract for procurement of healthcare supplies such as medicines.
Pozgar, G (2012).Legal apects of health care administration (11th ed.) Sudbury, MA:Jones & Bartlett. 
Simmers, L., Nartker, K. and Kobelak, S. (2008). Diversified health Occupations. New York, NY: Cengage Learning. Read More
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