Health facilities have a primary objective of improving the quality of care services they offer to patients to ensure satisfaction. This effort calls for an administrative, medical, and non-medical initiative geared towards the improvement of the service delivery. However, this cannot be done before the quality officer analyzes and recommends some of the ways through which the administrative heads should adopt to improve the decreased quality of patients care. As a quality officer, I have proposed, analyzed, and recommended the adoption of the following initiatives and procedures in order to mitigate the problem of declining quality of patients care in the health facility.
Analysis of quality initiatives
The health facility has been facing a problem of shortage of medical practitioners and inadequate or defective equipment. I would therefore recommend that, there is the need to employ more medical experts and acquire modern tools and equipment, which will facilitate effective delivery of health service to the patients (Rao, 2003). Apart from this, medical practitioners should learn how to adhere with the medical code of practice and ethics as stipulated in their profession to avoid making common mistakes.
Medical practitioners need to learn the culture of some communities especially practices that regard treatment, handling a child, a woman, or sensitive member of the community. This will help to improve on the satisfaction patients from various communities get. Moreover, there is the need to educate the public about early interventions to control and prevent diseases instead of depending on cultural practices or herbs.
Factors that would aid the reduction of healthcare cost
The ability to reduce the cost of healthcare without influencing the quality of patients care depends on a number of factors. Firstly, the government through the legislature or any lawmaking body should enact health laws, which aim at lowering the cost of health service delivery for instance, the affordable care act seeks to lower the cost of healthcare by ensuring the government and private sector partner in an effort to make the cost of healthcare cheaper (Stanton, 2002).
Others stakeholders such as health insurance firms, Non-governmental organizations and the private sector in the health industry should come together and agree on a strategy they will use to reduce the cost of healthcare service to the public. The government should allow many health insurance firms to offer services to ensure that covering a patient becomes cheaper. Elderly persons and children under 5years should be regularly checked medically to avoid the problem of controlling the disease or medical problem at a later stage; this is usually expensive.
The ability of the community to be receptive and support community health programs will determine the rate of disease prevention and reduction in outbreaks in the same community. Communities willing to collaborate with health officers will ultimately lower the cost of healthcare because prevention efforts are usually less costly (Stanton, 2002). Alongside this, patients should learn how to adhere to the laid down processes and procedures as planned by the healthcare facility. For instance, some patients should wait for medical practitioners at their homes, (this helps to save on the bed space), patients with minor complications should be treated on specific days, and the government should encourage cost-sharing strategies especially on acquisition of medical supplies to be used by the patients.
Differences between quality in a free market healthcare system and in single-payer government system
Free market healthcare system is whereby the players in the healthcare sector are left to control the health sector in terms of setting the prices for healthcare, and determining where to set health facilities among other initiatives. In this arrangement, the government does not play any role either as a regulatory or advisory body. For instance, firms providing health insurance covers are free to set any price for some members of the society depending on the class. In the single-payer government system, the state collects all revenues from healthcare and pays all bills for the patients. Such an initiative is evident in the provisions of Patients protection affordable care act where the government takes full control of patients and healthcare facilities under this program (Brook, 2012). The free market healthcare system is preferred by the upper class while the single-payer healthcare system is preferred by the lower class. The rationale behind it is that the quality of healthcare service in the former is higher than that offered by the latter; for this reason, the cost of service delivery is high in the free market healthcare system.
The free market healthcare system is commonly practiced in the United Kingdom where players in the sector manage all operations of the sector. In the free market healthcare system, players in this sector do not abide by the existing legislations aimed at regulating the operations; instead, they influence the forces of demand and supply to allow them make high profit turnovers at the expense of patients (Bowers, 2013). This would mean that that they can even use low quality suppliers or employ untrained medical practitioners to minimize the cost of operations. In terms of abiding by the healthcare legislative provisions, the single-payer government enacts and follows the legal provisions affecting healthcare to ensure equitable distribution of services.
Medicare program is a social initiative launched by the government to provide social insurance cover to person aged 65 and over, young children with disabilities and other people with specific health complications. This program spreads the financial burden to everyone in America to be able to support special sick people in the society. This is the better part of the program because it ensures that quality healthcare service is a right to every American. Categorically, it has allowed service providers to offer defined programs for patients. For instance, there is part A, B, C and D, which involves hospital Insurance for outpatients, medical insurance for inpatients, medical advantage for both inpatients and outpatient, and Medicare prescription drugs coverage respectively. In such an arrangement, a patient covered under any part will always be satisfied with the quality of health provided to him or her.
Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2005
This legal provision was enacted in 2003 and covers the largest populace of Medicare program. Some approved private, health insurance firms offer healthcare service under this legislation. Notably, the health insurance firms cover out-of-pocket costs of prescribed drugs as stated in the Medicare part D. Large companies offering this Medicare provision are given tax breaks and other incentives to encourage them not to withdraw even after their employees have retired (Ketler, 2008). This would ensure efficiency in the delivery of healthcare service in such a way that one’s medical scheme covered by the employer is not terminated after his retirement. Considering that the majority of patients are outpatients, this act ensures that prescribed drugs are affordable to anyone covered under this program.
Deficit Reduction Act of 2005
This legal provision was enacted in 2006 to ensure compliance of firms receiving $5million and more, annually in payment of Medicaid. The act was meant to reduce financial improprieties, abuse of utilization of healthcare resources, and false claims among others. To alleviate the federal government from unscrupulous private Medicare firms, the state instituted stiff penalties to wrongdoers of the provisions of the act (Ketler, 2008). Admittedly, this legal provision would help our institution in upholding high standards of financial efficiency and accountability, which is necessary in the delivery quality, healthcare service.
Importance of healthcare quality for the organization
It is important to note that our institution is the largest in the entire state and for this reason; it should set the pace for the delivery of quality patients’ care. For instance, other subsidiary health facilities will adopt the traditions of the “mother” health facility; thereby, affecting the quality of health offered to patients in the entire region. Operating inefficiently is not only costly to the health facility, but also infringes on the right to quality healthcare of every American citizen. For instance, a situation where medical practitioners are unavailable when needed poses a threat to the patients as well as makes the health facility to fail to collect the required funds from patients. Apart from that, sensitizing the community about the importance of supporting preventive measures to eradicate diseases will lower the cost of healthcare in such a way that the hospital will have less than full bed space for inpatients; a move that indicates delivery of high quality services. Upholding high standards of healthcare in this institution will alleviate the government from incurring high costs of servicing or financing some of the initiatives it is offering to its citizens through such an institution. For instance, the government might spend less than $432 billion like it spent in 2007 on financing healthcare services. Spending less would mean extra funds might be allocated to developmental projects.
A plan to protect patient information that complies with all legal requirements
It is illegal and against the code of ethics governing the medicine profession. Any medical practitioner should ensure that patient’s information is secured and handled confidentially. Firstly, there is the need for any medical experts to verify the identity of the patient before discussing with him or her medical information about the patient. It is also important to avoid discussing medical information with friends or relatives of the patient without the consent of the patient (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). To protect the confidentiality of the patient’s information, any medical officer should disseminate such information using secure lines such as official mails and not personal mails. That notwithstanding, hard copies of medical records of the patients should be kept in locked cabinets of places to avoid accessibility of any unauthorized person. Some patients may be shocked or develop severe anxiety after noting that their medical information has leaked to the public; therefore, to avoid such situations, a patient is even not allowed to go along with his or her medical report because he can misplace or expose it to others, a move that ruins the confidentiality of the medical information.
Bowers, L. (2013, June 10). Perspective: Why the free market isn't a cure-all for healthcare | Medical Economics. Medical Economics. Retrieved November 6, 2013, from http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/why-free-market-isn-t-cure-all-healthcare-0
Brook, R. (2012, June 14). Single Payer: Why Government-Run Health Care Will Harm Both Patients and Doctors. The Heritage Foundation Leadership for america . Retrieved November 6, 2013, from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2009/04/single-payer-why-government-run-health-care-will-harm-both-patients-and-doctors
Rao, G. (2003). How can we Improve Patient's care?. Community Eye Health Journal, 15(41), 1-3.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012, September 1). Measures to Protect Patient Confidentiality. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 6, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/tb/education/ssmodules/module7/ss7reading4.htm
Ketler, S. R. (2008). Medicaid: services, costs and future. New York: Nova Science.
Stanton, M. (2002, September 5). Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Reducing Costs in the Health Care System: Learning From What Has Been. Retrieved November 6, 2013, from http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/costs/costria/index.html
Strategies and priorities for information technology at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2012). Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.