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Copyright (c) 1997 La Verne Law Review, Inc. 
Journal of Juvenile Law

NOTE AND COMMENT: Mandating Health Care Standards: Do Minimum Hospital Stay Laws Really Help Our Children?


18 J. Juv. L. 53


Donna J. Dempster



During 1995 and 1996, over twenty-three states, as well as the federal government, enacted laws relating to minimum hospital stays for newborns and mothers. 1 Numerous additional states currently have such laws under consideration. 2 This Note evaluates the composition and effect of these laws, examines their ability to adequately address the identified concerns, and raises the question of the advisability of legislating health care decision making. Section II provides a background of the delivery process and consumer preferences regarding hospitalization for childbirth, as well as a review of managed health care and its impact on health care delivery. Section III discusses the asserted legislative purpose supporting the needs for the laws. The lack of empirical data supporting the asserted goals will also be explored. Section IV reviews the varying types of state laws being enacted or considered, and the shortcomings of each in regard to the population served. Specifically, this Note will review the failure of state laws to address the entire population of newborns due to federal restrictions which exempt certain health plans from state regulation. 3 Section V discusses the appropriateness of state and federal governments legislating medical care by mandating specific amounts and levels of treatment to be received. Section VI reviews the federal law and addresses its impact on the state laws already enacted. Section VII enumerates some examples of alternatives to legislation which have been devised in various locales.


Historically, babies were born outside the hospital due to ...
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