Health care reforms refer to changes in government policies aimed at improving healthcare systems in the country. Government policies are often expressed through legislation that has a binding legal effect hence persons acting contrary to the law are likely to face criminal sanctions. Health care reforms are often targeted at improving access to medical services whilst reducing the cost. On one hand it is ethical to ensure that one’s moral right to health care is upheld whilst on the other, the financial needs of those providing these medical services ought to be taken into account. Decreasing the cost of medical services could result in a corresponding decrease in the quality of services offered. . The goal is not just to lower costs of health care but to improve its quality as well which would ultimately result in more people seeking professional medical help (Haven, Celaya, Pierson, Weisskopf, & MacKinnon, 2013).
Access to medical facilities is hampered by lack of medical cover or other means of payment for these services. Watching patients die because they do not have money goes against the principles of the Hippocratic Oath and amounts to murder by omission to act. The law demands that medical facilities provide persons in need of emergency medical aid with appropriate treatment so as to stabilize their condition. Patient management forms a key part of the healthcare process. Patient management takes on several ethical perspectives including the need for consent from the patient or next-of-kin before undertaking any medical procedure, caring and emphatic treatment from the medical staff as well as protection from physical or sexual harassment from the physicians. Nurses and doctors owe a legal duty of care to their patients and are required to exercise due professional diligence in their duties. They may also be held liable if they use their position to assault, rape, or intimidate their patients.
Health care matters may be regarded from an employment perspective in two senses. First, some hospitals seek to avoid legal liability for the acts of their medical personnel by engaging them as independent service providers instead of employees. Second, certain health care providers are tied to particular employers or jobs hence when a person changes jobs they lose the insurance cover. The first scenario may leave the claimant patient with a limited avenue for redress in the event that the claim for damages exceeds the doctor’s net worth. The second scenario places the insured at a disadvantage, perhaps even forcing them to continue with particular employment just because of the benefits offered. Healthcare providers ought to provide for the transfer of health care plans across different industries.
Managed care involves contracts between insurance providers and medical facilities for the provision of services to the insured at reduced costs. The contracts are usually specific to particular healthcare providers and in some cases have resulted in the access to specialized medical care for the poor or disadvantaged. On the flip side, such programs would tie down an individual to a particular doctor even when there may be other professionals who are more qualified to deal with the health problem. This undermines the relationship between a doctor and a patient which ought to be built on trust. Managed care could lead to legal issues pertaining to the responsibility for paying the physician and the patient’s right to request for particular procedures among others.
Haven, K., Celaya, M. F., Pierson, J., Weisskopf, A. J., & MacKinnon, N. J. (2013). Comparison of Healthcare Confidence in Rural, Suburban and Urban Areas in the UK and the USA: a Secondary Analysis. BMJ Open, 1-8.
Pozgar, G. D. (2012). Legal Aspects of Health Care Administration. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.