The Comprehensive Healthcare Law, the Nigerian National Health Act (NHA) was passed by the law makers and signed into law in October 2014. The law provides among other things the legal framework for regulation, development, and management of Nigeria’s Health system. The law was divided into 8 parts detailing the entire legal framework and regulations of healthcare business in Nigeria.
Good and better health is fundamental to human happiness and everyday well-being. It also serves as a catalyst and also an important contributor to economic growth. There is a common saying that ‘health is wealth’. According to recent Economic researches, report states that the better the health of the populations, the greater impact it may have on the economic growth of a country because if people live longer and have higher life expectancy, they would be more productive citizens.
In Nigeria healthcare and corporate law today, a business deal or joint venture involving combination of non-insurance health service and an insured health service is not just a regular transaction from a legal perspective; lawyers in commercial law practice who provide advice in this area must have background knowledge and expertise in the various legal instruments, statutes, regulations, policy statements and government requirements in Nigeria healthcare law and related business law regulations.
The 21st century Healthcare law practice has grown and expanded to include the following wide range of modern legal services that are provided for a rapidly changing and evolving health industry, these services include….
- Advising on healthcare law, commercial & business law aspect relating to healthcare, complex compliance issues, compliance plans and procedures.
- Nigerian healthcare law transactions such as partnership, mergers and acquisition of hospitals and health care companies; negotiating doctors contracts, medical professionals, physician- hospital alignment arrangement; joint ventures and partnerships among health care providers and with health plans.
- Legal advice issues, litigation, corporate, regulatory, and such as corporate structure new business models, governance, certification and accreditation, and medical staff structures and related issues.
- Acquisition & merger Pharmaceutical companies, contract agreement of production of new drugs, and medical device manufactures
- Private equity investments, financing and restructuring, including capital access, venture capital/ and partnerships, bankruptcy relating to healthcare law.
- Negotiation of settlements, and investigations of potential false claims, and abuse of violations of patient rights; and corporate integrity agreements with either state or federal government agencies in Nigeria.
- Healthcare law technologies like information technology, such as contracting for electronic health records, software licensing, hardware acquisitions, and IT services and out sourcing in Nigeria.
- Legal advice on privacy and security compliance include counseling clients; responding to investigation in monetizing health data; managing and reporting data breaches relating to cyber laws.
- Disputes resolution and Health care business negotiations in Nigeria
- Primary healthcare provider, institutional health care providers such as academic and community hospital and health system.
- Investors on healthcare business, venture capital and private equity groups with health care fund and portfolio companies in Nigeria.
- Nigerian health service management companies, health care facility developers, health insurers, reinsurers, and employer sponsored health plans.
Furthermore, health law is the law relating to the health of individuals and populations, the provision of health care and the operation of the health system.
Generally, reforms of the healthcare laws usually promote improved health policy goals such as universal health coverage, protect public, and provide well established basis for organizing, governing and financing country health system, it also protects the public from communicable diseases and other public health risks. With the passage of the National Healthcare Act of 2014, all these protections will have a long-time effect on the Nigeria Economy in the nearest future.
The introduction and enactment of the above health law and other laws will guarantee healthcare access for Nigerians. Also, universal health coverage will provide for reduced health care cost with quality standards and practice by health care providers, so also patient care, thereby promoting a healthy population of a standby productive labour force for economic development of Nigeria.
Law reforms and robust legal frame work must continually be applied to the Nigeria health sector; for example, in US today, the healthcare sector constitute one-fifth of the US economy and with good law reforms. The sector has enormous potential in Nigeria which has a population of almost 200 million people and with the biggest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in Africa. The world is happy today because life expectancy has improved tremendously in the last 100 years.
Prevalence of disease or outbreak of epidemic affects development in human capital and income around the world and will affect Nigeria if not adequately protected by law. Health is a special specie of human capital as well as input to producing other forms of human capital which invariably a sound healthcare law can only guarantee in the long run in Nigeria.
From the analysis above, it is clear that a country that fails to enact and provide a strong comprehensive legal framework as obtainable currently in advanced countries will have itself to blame in the future. Being unhealthy impedes on the ability to work and also unable to invest in human capital; this concept implies bad health will reflect the lower income and also the lower GDP growth for the country with unhealthy population. Often times, several factors usually influence health status and a country ability to provide quality health service for its people. The major concern of a country should be better health and development for the populace, and particularly poverty reduction, and always targeting developmental policies to achieve good health goals for the country. Therefore, compared to other African countries the promulgation of National Health Act of 2014 was a great progress on the part of Nigeria National Assembly and the Executive arm of Government that signed it into law.
Research and empirical evidence indicate that a good healthcare law combined with adequate investment in healthcare improves the population of a country. Healthcare law is a reasonable macroeconomic policy tool for economic growth in low- and middle-income countries because improved health status has a positive impact on economic performance.
Commercial law firm and lawyers in Nigeria with background in healthcare business law, tax law, not for-profit or charity laws, merger and acquisitions law must familiarize and acquaint themselves with Nigeria Health Act, other Nigerian healthcare law, legal rules and regulations that govern the delivery of services in healthcare industry and healthcare business and corporate law in Nigeria.
In conclusion, there is a link between a good healthcare law, healthy labour force and the economy of a country with enactment of laws, regulations, enforcement of Nigeria Health Act 2014 and for a rapidly changing healthcare sector of Nigeria economy.
BAM & GAD SOLICITORS
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