Accessing Hospitals and Health Professionals

Eleanor D. Kinney and Priscilla Keith

in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Health Law

Published in print January 2017 | ISBN: 9780199366521
Published online February 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780199366545 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Accessing Hospitals and Health Professionals

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  • Medical and Healthcare Law
  • Human Rights and Immigration


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This chapter examines the issue of access to healthcare, with particular emphasis on the five dimensions of the model proposed by Roy Penchansky and J. William Thomas: availability, accessibility, accommodation, affordability, and acceptability. It also discusses the constitutional powers of states and the federal government with respect to health, along with relevant health law. It outlines the three categories of law governing access to physicians and hospitals: direct obligations of physicians and hospitals to provide free care to the indigent; federal programs to provide health insurance or health services to vulnerable populations; and laws that affect the delivery of care based on the patient’s physical characteristics and immigration status. The chapter concludes by considering the United States’s failure to realize the human rights aspect of health in international treaties and suggesting that the country’s efforts when it comes to access to physicians and hospitals leave much to be desired.

Keywords: access to healthcare; affordability; health; health law; physicians; hospitals; health insurance; human rights; international treaties; healthcare

Article.  12848 words. 

Subjects: Medical and Healthcare Law ; Human Rights and Immigration

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