The public/private mix and human resources for health.
This paper examines the general question of the public/private mix in health care, with special emphasis on its implications for human resources. After a brief conceptual exercise to clarify these terms, we place the problem of human resources in the context of the growing complexity of health systems. We next move to an analysis of potential policy alternatives. Unfortunately, a lot of the public/private debate has looked only at the pragmatic aspects of such alternatives. Each of them, however, reflects a specific set of values--an ideology--that must be made explicit. For this reason, we outline the value assumptions of the four major principles to allocate resources for health care: purchasing power, poverty, socially perceived priority, and citizenship. Finally, the last section discusses some of the policy options that health care systems face today, with respect to the combinations of public and private financing and delivery of services. The conclusion is that we need to move away from false dichotomies and dilemmas as we search for creative ways of combining the best of the state and the market in order to replace polarized with pluralistic systems. The paper is based on a fundamental premise: The way we deal with the question of the public/private mix will largely determine the shape of health care in the next century. (+info)
The relationship and tensions between vertical integrated delivery systems and horizontal specialty networks.
This activity is designated for physicians, medical directors, and healthcare policy makers. GOAL: To clarify the issues involved with the integration of single-specialty networks into vertical integrated healthcare delivery systems. OBJECTIVES: 1. Recognize the advantages that single-specialty networks offer under capitated medical care. 2. Understand the self-interests and tensions involved in integrating these networks into vertical networks of primary care physicians, hospitals, and associated specialists. 3. Understand the rationale of "stacking" horizontal networks within a vertical system. (+info)
Health sector reform in central and eastern Europe: the professional dimension.
The success or failure of health sector reform in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe depends, to a large extent, on their health care staff. Commentators have focused on the structures to be put in place, such as mechanisms of financing or changes in ownership of facilities, but less attention has been paid to the role and status of the different groups working in health care services. This paper draws on a study of trends in staffing and working conditions throughout the region. It identifies several key issues including the traditionally lower status and pay of health sector workers compared to the West, the credibility crisis of trade unions, and the under-developed roles of professional associations. In order to implement health sector reforms and to address the deteriorating health status of the population, the health sector workforce has to be restructured and training programmes reoriented towards primary care. Finally, the paper identifies emerging issues such as the erosion of 'workplace welfare' and its adverse effects upon a predominantly female health care workforce. (+info)
Health human resource development in rural China.
China has made significant progress in increasing the quantity of health workers in rural areas. Attention is shifting to improving the quality of health workers. This article documents several features of health workers in rural China. Many have not received formal training to a level implied by their rank and title, and there is no clear relationship between the skills of health workers and the functions they perform. Many better-qualified personnel have left lower level health facilities for more attractive employment in higher level and urban facilities. A system of professional licensing is currently being considered that will link educational requirements to employment and promotion. This article outlines some of the issues that should be taken into consideration in formulating this system. In particular, licensing may have unequal impacts on rich and poorer areas. This article argues that other regulatory measures will be necessary if licensing is to be an effective mechanism for controlling the quality of health workers, and contribute to the provision of affordable health services in both rich and poor areas. (+info)
Physicians' attitudes toward managed care: assessment and potential effects on practice behaviors.
This study was designed to identify the key components of physicians' attitudes toward managed care and develop a tool to assess these components. We developed a questionnaire based on physicians' reactions to managed care, as reflected in the published literature. We mailed this questionnaire to a sample of 753 community physicians in the greater Sacramento area. A factor analysis of these data (n = 315) identified five unifactorial scales, which we labeled managed care quality, need to adapt to managed care, cost-containment effectiveness of managed care, personal knowledge of managed care, and inevitability of managed care. Physicians were most negative about the quality of managed care and most in agreement about the need to adapt to it. Correlations among these five scales, while statistically significant, were modest in size, suggesting that these physicians were quite discriminating in their evaluations. In comparison with medical/surgical specialists, primary care physicians rated the quality of managed care, their knowledge of it, and the inevitability of a national transition to managed care more positively. These measures predicted the physicians' intentions to alter their medical behaviors to comply with managed care practices. (+info)
Home healthcare orders: an assessment of service satisfaction by internists, surgeons, and medical subspecialists.
We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the satisfaction of general internists, medical subspecialists, and surgeons with the quality of home health orders generated by home health agencies. Using a mail survey, we polled 69 physician specialists at Tulane University Medical Center. The percentage of physicians satisfied with the appropriateness of services for the level and type of care, consistency of medication with that prescribed, sufficiency of data on the certification form to assess service continuation, timeliness of orders, and overall health service delivery was 94%, 92%, 69%, 52%, and 88%, respectively. Compared with medical subspecialists and surgeons, general internists were more likely to report that the data on the form were sufficient. Physicians who were satisfied with at least one of the four measures of quality for home health orders were more likely to be satisfied with the overall delivery of services by home health agencies. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that physicians overall are satisfied with home healthcare orders. However, level of satisfaction with orders is related to the physician's specialty. Areas that physicians were less satisfied with included timeliness of orders and sufficiency of data on the form to assess service continuation. Further studies using a larger population and more specific indicators of healthcare orders quality are recommended. (+info)
A social systems model of hospital utilization.
A social systems model for the health services system serving the state of New Mexico is presented. Utilization of short-term general hospitals is viewed as a function of sociodemographic characteristics of the population and of the supply of health manpower and facilities available to that population. The model includes a network specifying the causal relationships hypothesized as existing among a set of social, demographic, and economic variables known to be related to the supply of health manpower and facilities and to their utilization. Inclusion of feedback into the model as well as lagged values of physician supply variables permits examination of the dynamic behavior of the social system over time. A method for deriving the reduced form of the structural model is presented along with the reduced-form equations. These equations provide valuable information for policy decisions regarding the likely consequences of changes in the structure of the population and in the supply of health manpower and facilities. The structural and reduced-form equations have been used to predict the consequences for one New Mexico county of state and federal policies that would affect the organization and delivery of health services. (+info)
The world economic crisis. Part 2. Health manpower out of balance.
As outlined in the first part of this article in the last issue of the journal, many countries are facing severe constraints on health expenditure at the same time as they are trying to work towards Health for All by the Year 2000. Health manpower needs to be planned to secure maximum benefits from the limited resources available. Many medical schools train more doctors than are needed because quotas on medical places are either non-existent or set too high. Medical training may be oriented to high-technology, curative care and produce doctors ill equipped to fulfil the role demanded of them in the primary health care approach. Educational courses for paramedics and nurses are often insufficient and inappropriate. Countries which have previously lost trained doctors to attractive posts abroad now face the prospect of a flood of doctors looking for work in their home countries, now that opportunities for work abroad are being reduced. Such countries will find it difficult to reverse the bias in policy towards medical professionals, despite the waste caused by unemployment and inappropriate training among doctors. With limited budgets, there is a need for countries to plan ahead. To do this they must find ways of estimating future effective demand. The future balance of staff can then be planned on the basis of resources available and the relative costs of deploying various categories of health staff. (+info)