Massachusetts law about health care

Laws, regulations, and web sources on the law of medical care and treatment.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 17, § 21 Access to emergency room (Laura's law)

MGL c. 40J, § 6D Massachusetts e-Health Institute

MGL c. 94C, § 27 Over-the-counter needle sales

MGL c.111 Public health:

  • § 5Q Mammography
  • § 24E Comprehensive family planning services
  • § 25J Competent interpreter services in acute-care hospitals
  • § 25J 1/2 Intervention prior to discharge following opioid-related overdose
  • § 51 1/2 Substance use disorder evaluation following opioid-related overdose
  • § 70E Patients' and residents' rights
  • § 228 Advance disclosure of allowed amount or charge for admission, procedure or service
  • § 236 CARE Act: Allows patient to designate family caregiver

MGL c.111C Emergency medical services:

  • § 18 Restraint of patient by EMT
  • § 20 Remote communication; advice, consultation, or orders; limitation on liability of hospitals and personnel
  • § 21 EMS personnel; good faith performance of duties; limitation on personal liability

MGL c.111N Pharmaceutical and medical device conduct; limits gifts by pharmaceutical companies to physicians

MGL c.112 Registration of certain professions and occupations:

  • § 5O Telehealth
  • § 12A Reporting gun shots and other wounds
  • § 12G 1/2 Physician reporting of diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease to family member or legal personal representative of patient
  • § 12Z Reporting dog bites
  • § 12CC Provision of medical records to patient or representative
  • § 12FF Immunity of a person administering naloxone

MGL c. 233, § 79L Statements or conduct expressing regret, apology, condolence by health care provider; admissibility

Massachusetts regulations

101 CMR 613.05 Medical hardship

105 CMR Department of Public Health

243 CMR 2.07 (26) Concurrent surgeries

Patient's medical record must reflect any absence of attending physician/primary operator

950 CMR 131 Alternative address for those engaged in protected health care services
Part of the Address Confidentiality Program. Provides protections for those engaged in the provision, facilitation, or promotion protected health care services.

Federal laws

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, PL 111-148. 
The federal Health Care law is over 900 pages long. Changes include increased protection for those with pre-existing conditions, heightened penalties for certain employers who don't provide insurance, additional availability of insurance for children up to age 26, closure of the Medicare "donut hole" for prescription drug coverage, and more.

No Surprises Act, PL 116-260, Division BB, Title I.
This law is designed "… to protect health care consumers from surprise billing practices…"
See also updated policies, FAQs, payment dispute tips, and other resources provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Federal regulations

45 CFR Part 88 Protecting statutory conscience rights in health care
Allows health workers to refuse to perform or assist medical procedures, like abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide, if it violates their “conscience” or religion. It applies to health care institutions receiving federal funding.

Selected cases

Kligler v. Attorney General, 491 Mass. 38 (2022)
Physician-assisted suicide is not protected under the Massachusetts Constitution.

Zaleskas v. Brigham and Women's Hospital, 97 Mass. App. Ct. 55 (2020)
"If a patient unambiguously withdraws consent after medical treatment has begun, and if it is medically feasible to discontinue treatment, continued treatment following such a withdrawal may give rise to a medical battery claim."

Web sources

AMA Code of Medical Ethics, American Medical Association.
The AMA Code of Medical Ethics sets ethical guidance to how physicians should interact with patients.

Comfort care/do not resuscitate order verification program, Mass. Dept. of Public Health. 
Explains documentation required so that EMTs will honor a DNR, and protocols for EMTs.

Complaint resolution, Mass. Bureau of Health Professions Licensure. 
How to file a complaint about a health care professional.

Emergency room rights, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Explains your rights to treatment for an emergency medical condition, as well as how to file a complaint if you feel your rights have been violated.

End of life care: Know your choices, Executive Office of Health and Human Services.  
Includes links to brochures in many languages, regulations, and more regarding Mass. requirement that health care providers "distribute to appropriate patients...culturally and linguistically suitable information regarding the availability of palliative care and end-of-life options."

Ending surprise medical bills, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Provides updated policies, FAQs, tips, and insurance payment dispute resources for consumers.

Health care resources at the Attorney General’s Office
Provides information about how to file health care complaints, avoiding health insurance and addiction treatment scams, gun safety, information about health care costs, and non-hospital and HMO community benefits.

Health care transportation
Information about accessing transportation to health care.

Know your rights and protections when it comes to medical bills and collections, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Provides information and steps that you can take to protect yourself and ensure that you are being treated fairly.

Massachusetts physician profiles, Mass. Board of Registration in Medicine. 
Information about "the physician’s specialty, medical school, residency training, insurance plans accepted, honors/awards, publications and a host of other information" in Massachusetts.

Medical aid in dying
The state of Vermont has amended their patient choice at end-of-life laws by removing the residency requirement effective May 2nd, 2023.

Nursing home consumer information, Mass. Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality. 
Includes nursing home regulations, information on choosing a nursing home, and how to file complaints.

Patient and family advisory councils, Mass. Dept. of Public Health Circular Letter: DHCQ 09-07-514. 
Under 105 CMR 130.1800 and 1801, "each hospital [must] establish a PFAC by October 1, 2010; and each hospital must prepare a report outlining its plan to establish a PFAC no later than September 30, 2009." See PFAC reports and report templates.

Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturer code of conduct, Mass. Health and Human Services. 
Extensive information about the regulations.

Print sources

Health care law: a practical guide, Matthew Bender, loose-leaf.
Overview -- The Affordable Care Act -- Health care provider transactions -- Physician practice and other health care transactions -- Tax exempt health care providers and related tax issues -- The Medicare-Medicaid fraud and abuse statute, the Start Act and the False Claims Act -- Health care joint ventures -- Reimbursement : Medicare and Medicaid -- Health care facility licensing -- Antitrust and health care entities -- Organizing providers for managed care -- Physician compensation -- Overview of the issues related to medical malpractice -- The law of medical malpractice -- Risk management programs -- Responses to the malpractice dilemma -- The medical staff -- Licensure of health care professionals -- Health care employment and labor issues -- Consent to medical treatment.

Health care law sourcebook: a compendium of federal laws, regulations, and documents relating to health law, Matthew Bender, loose-leaf.

The law of later life health care and decision making, American Bar Association, 2018. 

Long-term care : how to plan and pay for it, by Joseph L. Matthews, Nolo, 2023. (eBook available here with library card).

Massachusetts health and hospital law manual, 4th ed., MCLE, 2023.

Contact   for Massachusetts law about health care

Last updated: May 23, 2024

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