The potential of health sector non-governmental organizations: policy options.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have increasingly been promoted as alternative health care providers to the state, furthering the same goals but less hampered by government inefficiencies and resource constraints. However, the reality of NGO health care provision is more complex. Not only is the distinction between government and NGO providers sometimes difficult to determine because of their operational integration, but NGOs may also suffer from resource constraionts and management inefficiencies similar to those of government providers. Some registered NGOs operate as for-profit providers in practice. Policy development must reflect the strengths and weaknesses of NGOs in particular settings and should be built on NGO advantages over government in terms of resource mobilization, efficiency and/or quality. Policy development will always require a strong government presence in co-ordinating and regulating health care provision, and an NGO sector responsive to the policy goals of government. (+info)
Regulating the private health care sector: the case of the Indian Consumer Protection Act.
Private medical provision is an important constituent of health care delivery services in India. The quality of care provided by this sector is a critical issue. Professional organizations such as the Medical Council of India and local medical associations have remained ineffective in influencing the behaviour of private providers. The recent decision to bring private medical practice under the Consumer Protection Act (COPRA) 1986 is considered an important step towards regulating the private medical sector. This study surveyed the views of private providers on this legislation. They believe the COPRA will be effective in minimizing malpractice and negligent behaviour, but it does have adverse consequences such as an increase in fees charged by doctors, an increase in the prescription of medicines and diagnostics, an adverse impact on emergency care, etc. The medical associations have also argued that the introduction of COPRA is a step towards expensive, daunting and needless litigation. A number of other concerns have been raised by consumer forums which focus on the lack of standards for private practice, the uncertainty and risks of medicines, the effectiveness of the judiciary system, and the responsibility of proving negligence. How relevant are these concerns? Is the enactment of COPRA really appropriate to the medical sector? The paper argues that while this development is a welcome step, we need to comprehensively look into the various quality concerns. The effective implementation of COPRA presumes certain conditions, the most important being the availability of standards. Besides this, greater involvement of professional organizations is needed to ensure appropriate quality in private practice, since health and medical cases are very different from other goods and services. The paper discusses the results of a mailed survey and interview responses of 130 providers from the city of Ahmedabad, India. The questionnaire study was designed to assess the opinion of providers on various implications of the COPRA. We also analyze the data on cases filed with the Consumer Disputes and Redressal Commission in Gujarat since 1991. Four selected cases filed with the National Commission on Consumers Redressal are discussed in detail to illustrate various issues affecting the implementation of this Act. (+info)
The effect of type of hospital and health insurance on hospital length of stay in Irbid, North Jordan.
The study aimed at examining the effects of type of hospital and health insurance status on hospital length of stay for three identified medical and surgical conditions. Medical records of 520 patients for the year 1991 were reviewed in one public and one private hospital. Comparison of hospital length of stay for the private (n = 185) versus public sector patients (n = 335) was carried out. The effect of presence of health insurance (n = 189) and the lack of it (n = 325) was also studied. It was found that the average length of stay in the public hospital was significantly longer than the private one (3.3 versus 2.7 days). In addition, insured patients had significantly longer hospital length of stay (3.3 versus 3.0 days). The results of the multi-variate analysis showed that after socioeconomic factors and clinical conditions of patients were adjusted for, the influence of hospital type and health insurance on hospital length of stay was about one day. The paper also discusses the need to base hospital cost-containment strategies on studies of hospital behaviour and performance. (+info)
Reform follows failure: I. Unregulated private care in Lebanon.
This first of two papers on the health sector in Lebanon describes how unregulated development of private care quickly led to a crisis situation. Following the civil war the health care sector in Lebanon is characterized by (i) ambulatory care provided by private practitioners working as individual entrepreneurs, and, to a small extent, by NGO health centres; and (ii) by a fast increase in hi-tech private hospitals. The latter is fuelled by unregulated purchase of hospital care by the Ministry of Health and public insurance schemes. Health expenditure and financing patterns are described. The position of the public sector in this context is analyzed. In Lebanon unregulated private care has resulted in major inefficiencies, distortion of the health care system, the creation of a culture that is oriented to secondary care and technology, and a non-sustainable cost explosion. Between 1991 and 1995 this led to a financing and organizational crisis that is the background for growing pressure for reform. (+info)
Researching the public/private mix in health care in a Thai urban area: methodological approaches.
The private health sector has been growing rapidly in many low and middle income countries, yet not enough is known about its sources of finance or characteristics of its users. Moreover, health care reform measures are leading to alterations in the mix of public and private finance and provision, increasing further the need for information. This paper presents and evaluates some research methods which can be used to collect information relevant to considering policies on the public/private mix. They comprise a household survey, a health diary and interview survey, a bed census, and a health resource survey. Each method is described as it was used in a study in a large urban setting in Thailand, and strengths and weaknesses of the methods are identified. The use of data to estimate the shares of public and private finance and provision, and particularly private sources of finance of public hospitals and public sources of finance for private hospitals, is demonstrated. Policy issues highlighted by the data are identified. (+info)
Dual use of VA and non-VA primary care.
OBJECTIVE: To determine how frequently veterans use non-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sources of care in addition to primary care provided by the VA and to assess the association of this pattern of "dual use" to patient characteristics and satisfaction with VA care. DESIGN: Cross-sectional telephone survey of randomly selected patients from four VA medical centers. PARTICIPANTS: Of 1,240 eligible veterans, 830 (67%) participated in the survey. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Survey data were used to assess whether a veteran reported receiving primary care from both VA and non-VA sources of care, as well as the proportion of all primary care visits made to non-VA providers. Of 577 veterans who reported VA primary care visits, 159 (28%) also reported non-VA primary care visits. Among these dual users the mean proportion of non-VA primary care visits was 0.50. Multivariate analysis revealed that the odds of dual use were reduced for those without insurance (odds ratio [OR] 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.18, 0.66) and with less education (OR 0.60; 95% CI 0.38, 0.92), while increased for those not satisfied with VA care (OR 2.40; 95% CI 1.40, 4.13). Among primary care dual users, the proportion of primary care visits made to non-VA providers was decreased for patients with heart disease ( p <.05) and patients with alcohol or drug dependence ( p <.05). CONCLUSIONS: Primary care dual use was common among these veterans. Those with more education, those with any type of insurance, and those not satisfied with VA care were more likely to be dual users. Non-VA care accounted for approximately half of dual users' total primary care visits. (+info)
Perceptions on the influence of cost issues on quality improvement initiatives: a survey of Saudi health care managers.
OBJECTIVE: To determine (i) the cost issues which Saudi health care managers perceive to influence overall quality improvement initiatives, and (ii) the relationship between health care managers' satisfaction with such initiatives and their perceptions regarding the influence of different cost issues on the overall quality improvement initiatives. DESIGN: Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire in August and September 1996 in the Western Region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The participants were 236 health care managers of private hospitals. Data was analysed using the chi2 test. RESULTS: Less than one-half of the health care managers surveyed were satisfied with their hospitals' overall quality improvement initiatives. The issue that was rated to have the most influence on such initiatives was the 'cost of malpractice lawsuits' followed by the budget for the quality assurance programme'. The issue that was perceived to have the least influence on overall quality improvement initiatives was 'data on cost allocation'. Of the 17 cost issues included in the study, eight had statistically significant influence on the health care managers' satisfaction with their hospitals' overall quality improvement initiatives. The most statistically significant was the 'measurement of the costs of quality-related actions'. (+info)
Four years analysis of cancer genetic clinics activity in France from 1994 to 1997: a survey on 801 patients. French Cooperative Network/Groupe Genetique et Cancer de la Federation Nationale des Centres de Lutte Contre le Cancer.
AIM: In order to evaluate the characteristics and the evolution of cancer genetics activity in France, a survey was conducted at the national level during a period of 4 years from 1994 to 1997 through the French Cooperative Network, a multidisciplinary group formed to investigate inherited tumors. METHOD: A questionnaire was sent to all the 29 French non-specialized cancer genetic clinics to evaluate activity during a period of 4 consecutive weeks each year from 1994 to 1997. Items concerning the cancer genetic clinics, the consultees and the types of consultation were explored. RESULTS: A total number of 801 consultees were seen during the period of analysis. Some prominent characteristics of patients attending cancer genetic clinics were found. The majority of these are women (88%), and the mean age of consultees is 48 years. Fifty five percent of consultees are affected with cancer, and breast (personal and/or family history) is the most frequent site involved (63%). A genetic predisposition is certain or likely in about 53% of cases and unlikely in only 13% of consultations. The majority of consultations are devoted to new families (71%). The mean duration of consultations is 50 minutes, but 40% have a duration of at least 1 hour. Variations of several parameters during the 4 years period were observed and analyzed. Finally, since duration of consultations (more or equal to 1 hour) and personal or family history of breast/ovarian cancer appeared as pivotal elements in our study and consequently may affect the organization of clinics and the structuring as well as the evolution of cancer genetic activity in France, we analyzed more precisely the factors significantly associated with these 2 elements. CONCLUSION: Study compliance was fair (60% of centers) and these results give a good measure of cancer genetic activity in France. The variation of parameters from one year to another may reflect modifications in medical practice (medical orientation rather than research focus and content of cancer genetic clinics) and/or scientific breakthroughs in cancer genetics such as identification of genes predisposing to cancer. (+info)