AMERICAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM 6
Theimportance of healthcare cannot be understated as far as enhancingthe wellbeing of the society and the individuals at large. Indeed, ithas been well recognized that the wealth building capacity of anindividual (and consequently, the productivity of the country aswell) is dependent on his or her health, both physically andmentally. This has prompted the immense investments that governmentsare always making in enhancing the efficacy of the healthcare sector.Nevertheless, there are three factors that are tied to the efficacyof the healthcare provided in a particular country, including cost,quality and access. The term access underlines the capacity ofindividuals to obtain healthcare if and when they need it. Researchhas shown that there are variations in the individual access tohealthcare across varied populations, which is the main reason forthe current variations in the provision of healthcare. Thesedifferences emanate from varied issues including deficiency if healthinsurance, deficiency of financial resources, legal obstacles,structural barriers, deficiency of healthcare providers, lack offinancial resources, or even age (Sultz&Young, 2014).Costs, on the other hand, have a direct impact on the individuals’capacity to access healthcare. Research has shown that even in thepresence of slow national health expenditure in the recent times, theUnited States has persistently spent a higher percentage of itswealth on healthcare compared to other industrialized countries(Budrys,2012).For instance, in 2012, the country’s average expenditure amountedto $8915 per person, which totaled about $2.8 trillion (Sultz&Young, 2014).Quality of healthcare has been defined as the degree or magnitude bywhich health services offered to populations and individuals enhancethe likelihood or probability of the desired health outcomes, and arein line with the current professional proficiencies and knowledge. Inthis regard, quality healthcare would be geared towards obtaining thebest possible results. Quality of healthcare is measured on the basisof efficiency of care, timeliness of care, patient safety,effectiveness of care and patient centeredness among other factors.
Accessto Healthcare: Personal Experience
Ihave had an immensely negative access with regard to accessinghealthcare particularly at some time when I was in some Latinoneighborhoods in Chicago visiting a friend. My friend of Latinodescent got down with what I thought was fever at the middle of thenight. Unfortunately, there were numerous obstacles that stood in ourway of obtaining the healthcare needed. First, my friend did not havea regular source of care that we could call at night. On the samenote, the fact that the individual came from an ethnic minority meantthat his health insurance plan limited the services that could beavailed to him, as well as the providers that he could go to. Thiswas further complicated by the fact that we could not obtaintransport to the healthcare facilities that were under the coverageof the healthcare plan in time. Once we got to the hospital, we hadto grapple with the long queues and long waiting room times. When hegot to the physician’s room, he still had a problem explaining whathe was feeling as he has limited knowledge of the English language.The key players in this case were the patient and the healthcareinstitutions, particularly the physicians who had to attend to him.The inability to access the healthcare centers meant that the healthof the individual worsened. Indeed, by the time we accessed asuitable and insurance-approved hospital, he was already withered andalmost going into convulsions. On the same note, the inability of myfriend to express himself to the healthcare professionals meant thata proper diagnosis could not be made. Indeed, the physician wasalready getting exasperated as he could not make out what was ailingmy friend.
Eventually,I had to be called in to assist in interpreting or rather tellingthem what the problem was. As much as this may have eased out somethings, there was some difficulty in interpreting some of the thingsthat he said as there was no English equivalent. Eventually, he gotsome medication which calmed him down, but we had to go looking foranother healthcare institution in the neighborhood and makeout-of-pocket payments for the services.
Needlessto say, the healthcare system is in need of complete overhaul toenhance access of the services particularly to the minorities. One ofthe key recommendations would be that the United States governmentwould take charge of the health insurance system and redesign it soas to expand its coverage and ensure that it is acceptable in allhealthcare centers irrespective of their racial and ethnic background(Budrys,2012).This would ensure that all people, irrespective of their location,can access healthcare services at the nearest centers without firsttrying to determine whether their insurance plans will be accepted.Secondly, it would be imperative that mobile healthcare clinics areestablished particularly in these neighborhoods. These mobile clinicsshould be equipped with at least one person who comprehends thedominant language of the individuals in the neighborhoods.
Anoverhaul of the insurance system to ensure that here is universalcoverage in all institutions would enhance the access of healthcarenot only among the dominant ethnic groups but also the racialminorities. This would enhance the overall health of the country.However, there are concerns that insurance providers would have toincrease the costs of their premiums alongside the expansion of thecoverage.
Similarly,the use of mobile clinics would result in increased access tohealthcare. This would, in fact, put a downward pressure of thewaiting times that individuals have to grapple with in mainhealthcare institutions. However, this may also result in higherexpenditure on healthcare by the state government.
Access, cost and quality of healthcare determine the efficacy of any healthcare system.
The United States has seen an increase in healthcare costs, but a decline in the quality of healthcare as measured on the basis of efficiency of care, timeliness of care, patient safety, effectiveness of care and patient centeredness among other factors.
Personal Experience: I had to take a friend to hospital in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, his insurance had limited coverage, there were long waiting times in healthcare institutions and we still could not find a healthcare practitioner who could understand the Latino language.
Recommendations: a universal healthcare insurance should be crafted to allow for all healthcare institutions to be covered. Further, mobile clinics should be established especially in neighborhoods where minorities live and incorporate individuals conversant with their language.
Budrys,G. (2012). Ourunsystematic health care system.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Shi,L., & Singh, D. A. (2013). Essentialsof the U.S. health care system.Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Sultz,H. A., & Young, K. M. (2014). Healthcare USA: Understanding its organization and delivery.Burlington, Mass: Jones & Bartlett Learning.