The health care industry has undergone massive overhaul in recent times and the impact of the laws and regulations that accompany this change have deep and resounding effects on the way professionals approach their industry. The purpose of this essay is to explain the role of governmental regulatory agencies and their effect on the health care industry.
This essay will first provide two examples of laws and regulations that have empirically demonstrated a noticeable and impactful transformation of the system. The next section of this essay is how these laws have personally affected me and my environment in Samaritan Hospital and how these regulations both serve and detract from our overall objectives of patient quality and healing those who seek our help.
Example 1: Affordable Care Act
Laws and regulations are present at many different levels within the health care industry. Private practices surely have their own rules and regulations as well as the largest of hospitals. The sources of these rules vary from place to place and many times local rules and regulations may supersede other federal laws and vice versa. It is very confusing at times and the plethora of written guidance that stems from governmental agencies makes the scenario hard to decipher at times and causes new problems while at times solving other problems.
The governmental influence in the health care industry achieved new heights when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010. This federally enacted law requires that new laws and regulations be abided by within the health care industry that imposed penalties and other punishments if ignored. McClanahan (2010) noted that "The law is 2,409 pages. There are ten "titles" in the law, each dedicated to a different part of our health care system. The law contains so much more than insurance reform. Changes in health care delivery, how we address chronic disease, and how we beef up our primary care workforce are included in the law. These changes are important to the infrastructure of our health care system and are sorely needed."
The ACA has changed the dynamic of the health care industry in many ways. The law itself was heavily contested and many court cases have reached the appellate courts awaiting the validity or constitutionality of these laws. The social implications of the ACA has put the medical industry on center stage and while some very bad problems have been exposed in the process, the learning that is taking place is helpful.
Overall the ACA has been a failure in the short-term and there is little promise for it to provide its main objectives of increasing the collective health of our country. Anderson (2014) agreed when she wrote "health care policy is no longer abstract when it directly affects the personal lives and health of millions of Americans. Under the ACA, Congress has prescribed a detailed federal role over health care financing, but financing directly and immediately affects the delivery of health care and how Americans access that care. Thus far, the ACA has delivered higher health insurance premiums, higher deductibles, and less competitive health insurance markets. This does not bode well for care delivery, particularly if it means increased waits, rationing of care, limited or no access, and poor quality of care. Americans' private lives and their health decisions should be spared the consequences of such incompetent intrusions."
Example 2: Physicians Assisted Suicide
Another controversial law that affects the medical industry deals with physician-assisted suicide. This practice is illegal in the state of ***** where Samaritan hospital is located but allowed in only four states. These include Oregon, Vermont and Washington, while Montana it is allowed with a court ruling. There are two distinct camps both supporting and denouncing this practice within the health care industry and both ideas contain solid logical arguments.
This practice is outlawed in my community due to many reasons. For some, the practice denounces the loyalty to life that health care practitioners assume when identifying with the Hippocratic oath that guides the profession to an ideal ethical standard. This blind faith towards the quantity of life instead of quality of life is admirable in some ways but often times goes against the wishes of the patient.
There are also substantial reasons as to why the health care industry should adopt a more widespread acceptance of physician-assisted suicide. Piererira (2012) wrote "Autonomy and choice are important values in any society, but they are not without limits. Our democratic societies have many laws that limit individual autonomy and choice so as to protect the larger community. These include, among many others, limits on excessive driving speeds and the obligation to contribute by way of personal and corporate income taxes. Why then should different standards on autonomy and choice apply in the case of euthanasia and pas?"
The answer to the question is simple: because the individual has the right to do that to themselves because they are not hurting anyone. Death with dignity is something to be socially evaluated if the stance on physician-assisted suicide is to be addressed in any reasonable manner where the quality of life takes precedence over the mere length of live. This fetish of living long has detrimental effects on our society and may need to be reconsidered as a possible flaw in the way that health care industry conducts itself and its' practices.
The laws against euthanasia should be readdressed in some way in today's society where there are many old and sick people not contributing to society. Countless resources are wasted on these people when they are not able to give back in any way. Economics are an important factor within the health care industry and the impact of keeping people alive longer than is reasonable ignores the respect and dignity of life that we should hold precious. This is a challenging proposition for many within the health care industry, because this law or regulation goes against much that has been taught to those of us within the profession. Sometimes dead is better.
Ward (1997) agreed with many of these ideas in his research that explored the problems that this law has on the health care system. The idea that euthanasia is a taboo subject needs to be readdressed and common sense needs to prevail in frank, honest and open questions about balancing the quality with the quantity of life. He argued " the ethical and economic arguments are then balanced to assess their compatibility. It is the contention of this paper that reducing medical care costs near the end of life should not be a taboo subject, and that rationing decisions could focus on an exploration of this area and the approaches to it, which are ethically justifiable and economically worthwhile. The introduction of a policy of voluntary euthanasia could have a large impact on the rationing of health care resources whilst also promoting patient choice and an arena for a more dignified death."
The ACA has wrecked havoc in my hospital community. The confusion that has begun as a result of this law has made things difficult for everyone. The technology associated with this program has failed and has continued to fail, and instead of healing, we mostly are drawn into administrative tasks. Insurance companies now have much more say in the way that we treat people, and the loss of autonomy has inspired me to realize that this law has some significant issues that have not solved the problems it was intended to solve. This is a clear example of micromanagement that does have its place within this level of treatment.
The subject of euthanasia is a powerful idea that resonates quietly amongst those in the health care industry. Life and death can become commodities in this overtly sanitized world that…