With the health and well-being of the public at stake, it’s no wonder almost every aspect of healthcare is regulated. The sheer number of healthcare regulations can seem overwhelming. But what would happen if there was no oversight? Leave that scenario to the producers of the new Sci-Fi series, Helix. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is brought into the spotlight in this intense thriller when one of its rapid response teams travels to a high-tech research facility in the Arctic to investigate a possible disease outbreak.

At one point, Dr. Hiroshi Hatake, the head of the facility, indicates that the Artic was chosen as the research site because of the lack of interruptions from the outside world. But Dr. Julia Walker, one of the co-heads of the CDC team, suspects the real reason is so the facility can avoid “interference from regulatory agencies.” The series will chronicle the CDC’s team “terrifying life-and-death struggle that holds the key to mankind’s salvation…or total annihilation.”
The show takes the consequences of lack of oversight to the extreme, but it’s a good reminder that our regulations were put in place for a reason. Through various regulatory bodies, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) strives to protect the public from a number of health risks and provides programs for public health and welfare. Together, its regulatory agencies protect and regulate public health at every level. For instance, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) oversee most of the regulations related directly to the healthcare system, while the CDC examines public health and warns of possible health threats from infectious diseases. (source: FierceHealthcare)
According to Robert I. Field, J.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., author of Health Care Regulation in America: Complexity, Confrontation and Compromise, “Anyone who works anywhere in the healthcare system can attest to the overriding, and some might feel overbearing, influence of regulators. This is true for hospital administrators managing the delivery of healthcare services, physicians delivering those services, pharmaceutical executives planning the development of new drugs, pharmacists dispensing those drugs…and even computer consultants planning a medical Web site. Outsiders, both in the government and in private accrediting and certifying organizations, have a major role in telling healthcare workers at all levels what to do.”
The next time you’re frustrated by the interminable number of regulations and the paperwork they require, watch Helix. Though sometimes extreme, regulation is a necessity in order to protect the health of the entire nation and even the world.
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