Healthcare is one of the important elements of a healthy state. Usually, healthcare is funded by general taxation and all residents receive It is important to note that even under the centrally controlled National Health Service, approximately 30 percent of all elective surgery is performed outside the governmental system. In most other countries, payments originating outside government and insurance that is, out-of-pocket contributions of households often comprise 20 to 25 percent of total health care expenditures. Researchers suppose that national healthcare is one of the best approaches which would help the state to provide medical services for all citizens. Still, some critics reject the idea of national healthcare seeing it as a burden for a state system only. The three problems identified are poor safety management, inadequate supply of staff and financial problems. Having reviewed the information regarding hospitals and public health, it seems that American health care system is currently going through the phase of crisis.
Many hospitals are closing and it results in negative effects produced on patients and health care system in general. A safe hospital can be described as a medical establishment the main objective of which is to provide high-quality medical care to people who are uninsured or underinsured. In other words, a safety-net hospital must provide health care to anyone who needs it. However, the situation in this sphere is critical these days. A lot of safety net hospitals are closing nowadays. The case of Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles County which was closed in 2007 is often mentioned in the press when talking about the crisis in safety hospitals (Morris et al, 2007).
Closing of hospitals negatively results on patients since they are obliged to look for another place to receive medical treatment which inevitably leads to overcrowding of hospitals and overlooking of other patients. Often on the inspections of a safety-net hospital supervisors decide to license fewer beds than usual, meaning to reduce the number of patients this particular hospital can receive. This not only affects patients and causes long queues in the corridors of emergency rooms but also influences the doctors’ ability to perform in such stressful situations. Licensing fewer beds than earlier definitely leads to overcrowding of hospitals and increase in the death of patients who are not able to wait for medical treatment too long. Therefore, closures of hospitals are not a proper solution to problems the safety-net hospitals are currently facing (The Civil Rights Act of 1991, 2010).
The problem of shortage of nurses and doctors leads to overload of those working in the hospitals. Thus, the problem of closure of hospitals affects both patients and medical staff, and what’s interesting, the influence is almost equal. One of the ways to find solutions to this nagging problem was offered in the report, Basic health literacy doesn’t even allow the patient to understand completely the pamphlet with the description of medical tests the patient can have. Experts believe that if American citizens were more conscientious in terms of health care, in other words, were had higher level of health literacy, there would be fewer cases of misunderstandings and illnesses causes by these (Porter and Teisberg, 2005). Medical mistakes cost a lot too, not in terms of life but in terms of finance. But what’s even more important, the question remains the same: do doctors have the right to make a mistake? What about the victims of such mistakes, and their relatives and close people? This issue is still one of the most controversial nowadays (Kotlikoff, 2007).
Researchers observe the reasons for the epidemic of medical errors and present a table of the most frequent mistakes. As to the reasons, the abovementioned shortage of specialists (doctors and nurses) sometimes creates a hectic atmosphere when doctors diagnose the illness incorrectly due to the lack of time and inability to pay the patient enough attention (OSHA, 2010). Another reason for abundance of medical errors is that there’re minimal efforts directed on prevention of medical errors. There’s not enough funding to improve the quality of health care services, which is one of the most nagging problems of today’s American health care system. As to the most frequent errors, these are divided into three main categories: diagnostic (wrong diagnosis etc.), treatment (wrong treatment prescribed, wrong dose of treatment prescribed etc.) and preventive (inadequate monitoring or follow-up of treatment). Therefore, all the above-mentioned issues and problems in the health care system and, in particular, in safety-net hospitals, are to be managed by corresponding authorities. Incorrect managerial decisions made by hospital authorities lead to such situations, therefore, the management of hospitals must be tested before the general conditions of the hospital and the staff performance is tested. Very often the doctors and nurses, and consequently, the patients are put into such conditions where they simply cannot perform adequately. Of course, the public blames the first obvious guilty – the staff. However, it’s necessary to organize a detailed analysis of situations in the safety-net hospitals to find a real reason for current problems (Kotlikoff, 2007).
In sum, among the reasons for improvements are financial challenges which prevent hospitals to treat patients according to rules which results in queues for treatment, often death of patients who waited too long, and shortage of nurses and doctors who are willing to be on a call for emergencies. These and many other reasons lead to a critical situation in the health care system in general and should be improved. The other side of the coin reflects the mounting claims for payment, submitted primarily by physicians and hospitals that have operated under few market or other constraints to control the volume of services that they provide even while continuously striving to improve the quality of care that they offer. Research so far suggests that the internal market for health has not significantly expanded the choices available to patients and doctors. Inevitably, with significant purchasing power in the hands of general practices, there has been a power shift away from consultants and toward fund-holders.
Kotlikoff, L. J. (2007). The Healthcare Fix: National Insurance for All Americans. The MIT Press; 1 edition.
Medical Hazard Regulation and Occupations Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. OSHA. 2010. Web.
Morris, S., Devlin, N., & Parkin, D. (2007). Economic analysis in health care. John Wiley & Sons,
Porter, M. E., Teisberg, E. O. (2005). Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results. Harvard Business School Press; 1 edition.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991. (2010). Web.