Resource allocation for public hospitals in Andhra Pradesh, India.
The composition of the hospital sector has important implications for cost effectiveness accessibility and coverage. The classification of acute general hospitals is reviewed here with particular reference to India and Andhra Pradesh. Approaches to arrive at a norm for allocation of hospital expenditure among secondary and tertiary hospitals are discussed. The actual allocation of public sector hospital expenditures is analyzed with data from Andhra Pradesh. The shift in allocative emphasis away from hospitals and in favour of primary health care during the 1980s was found to have been equally shared by secondary and tertiary hospitals. The shares of recurrent (non-plan) expenditure to secondary and tertiary hospitals were 51% and 49% respectively. This can be compared to a derived norm of 66% and 33%. The opportunity that new investment funds (plan schemes) could have provided to rectify the expenditure bias against secondary level hospitals was missed as two-thirds of plan expenditure were also spent on tertiary level hospitals. The share of secondary hospital bed capacity was 45.5% against India's Planning Commission norm of 70%. Public spending strategies should explicitly consider what mix of hospital services is being financed as well as the balance between hospital and primary health care expenditures. (+info)
Mortality league tables: do they inform or mislead?
OBJECTIVE: To examine certain methodological issues related to the publication of mortality league tables, with particular reference to severity adjustment and sample size. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of inpatient hospital records. SETTING: 22 hospitals in North West Thames health region for the fiscal year 1992-3. SUBJECTS: All admissions with a principal diagnosis of aortic aneurysm, carcinoma of the colon, cervical cancer, cholecystectomy, fractured neck of femur, head injury, ischaemic heart disease, and peptic ulcer. MAIN MEASURES: In hospital mortality rates adjusted by disease severity and calculated on the basis of both admissions and episodes. RESULTS: The numbers of deaths from specific conditions were often small and the corresponding confidence intervals wide. Rankings of hospitals by death rate are sensitive to adjustment for severity of disease. There are some differences that cannot be explained using routine data. CONCLUSIONS: Comparison of crude death rates may be misleading. Some adjustment for differences in severity is possible, but current systems are unsatisfactory. Differences in death rates should be studied, but because of the scope for manipulating data, this should be undertaken in a collaborative rather than a confrontational way. Any decision to publish league tables of death rates will be on political rather than scientific grounds. (+info)
User charges in government health facilities in Kenya: effect on attendance and revenue.
In this paper we study demand effects of user charges in a district health care system using cross-sectional data from household and facility surveys. The effects are examined in public as well as in private health facilities. We also look briefly at the impact of fees on revenue and service quality in government facilities. During the period of cost-sharing in public clinics, attendance dropped by about 50%. This drop prompted the government to suspend the fees for approximately 20 months. Over the 7 months after suspension of fees, attendance at government health centres increased by 41%. The suspension further caused a notable movement of patients from the private sector to government health facilities. The revenue generated by user fees covered 2.4% of the recurrent health budget. Some 40% of the facilities did not spend the fee revenue they collected, mainly due to cumbersome procedures of expenditure approvals. The paper concludes with lessons from Kenya's experience with user charges. (+info)
User fees and drug pricing policies: a study at Harare Central Hospital, Zimbabwe.
In 1991, Zimbabwe introduced cost recovery measures as part of its programme of economic reforms, following a course taken by many developing countries. The system of user fees in public health care, aimed to 'protect and support the vulnerable groups' by exemption or incremental fees based on 4 income brackets. Drugs were charged at a percentage of the recommended retail price in the private sector. This study of 488 outpatients at a referral hospital in Harare examined how the new fee system functioned 6 months after its introduction. Patients were interviewed and their prescription records examined. Mean charges were determined for each fee category and revenue from drug charges was analyzed in relation to purchase cost to determine the gross profit. 31% of patients were exempted from all fees upon proof of monthly earnings of less than Z$150 (Z$5 = US$1). The remainder were classified into three fee-paying categories. The mean purchase cost for drug items was Z$3.89 per outpatient prescription. Outpatients paid a mean drug charge of Z$9.75 after exemption or discount. This was 2.5 times the cost price. The number of drug items obtained differed according to fee status: the fee-exempt category received a mean of 2.9 drug items compared with 1.9 drug items in the fee-paying categories. This difference originated at the point of prescribing. A number of practical problems in fee collection were noted. The drug pricing system generated high profit even after re-distribution to low-income users. This was attributed to economical and rationalized public sector drug procurement. Observation indicated that a proportion of the vulnerable were not effectively protected due to stringent requirements for proof of income. Appraisal of the fee policy indicated the need for more effective cross-subsidy and better administrative procedures; fee revenue should be directed towards improvement in quality of service. (+info)
Feasibility of monitoring patient based health outcomes in a routine hospital setting.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the feasibility of monitoring health outcomes in a routine hospital setting and the value of feedback of outcomes data to clinicians by using the SF 36 health survey questionnaire. DESIGN: Administration of the questionnaire at baseline and three months, with analysis and interpretation of health status data after adjustments for sociodemographic variables and in conjunction with clinical data. Exploration of usefulness of outcomes data to clinicians through feedback discussion sessions and by an evaluation questionnaire. SETTING: One gastroenterology outpatient department in Aberdeen Royal Hospitals Trust, Scotland. PATIENTS: All (573) patients attending the department during one month (April 1993). MAIN MEASURES: Ability to obtain patient based outcomes data and requisite clinical information and feed it back to the clinicians in a useful and accessible form. RESULTS: Questionnaires were completed by 542 (95%) patients at baseline and 450 (87%) patients at follow up. Baseline health status data and health outcomes data for the eight different aspects of health were analysed for individual patients, key groups of patients, and the total recruited patient population. Significant differences were shown between patients and the general population and between different groups of patients, and in health status over time. After adjustment for differences in sociodemography and main diagnosis patients with particularly poor scores were identified and discussed. Clinicians judged that this type of assessment could be useful for individual patients if the results were available at the time of consultation or for a well defined group of patients if used as part of a clinical trial. CONCLUSIONS: Monitoring routine outcomes is feasible and instruments to achieve this, such as the SF 36 questionnaire, have potential value in an outpatient setting. IMPLICATIONS: If data on outcomes are to provide a basis for clinical and managerial decision making, information systems will be required to collect, analyse, interpret, and feed it back regularly and in good time. (+info)
User fees and patient behaviour: evidence from Niamey National Hospital.
Evidence is presented on the effects of price changes on the delay before seeking care and on referral status in a sample of hospital patients in Niger. Price changes are measured as differences across patients at one hospital in whether or not they pay for care, rather than as differences in prices across several hospitals. User fees are charged, but the fee system allows exemptions for some payor categories such as government employees, students, and indigent patients. Evidence is also presented on the effect of income on the delay before seeking care and referral status. The analysis demonstrates a technical point on whether household consumption or current income is a more appropriate measure of income. The analysis shows that user fees affect patient behaviour, but the effects are not the same for outpatients and inpatients. Outpatients who pay for care wait longer before seeking care, but inpatients do not. Inpatients who pay for care are more likely to be referred, but outpatients are not. Patients with more income wait less time to seek care and are less likely to be referred than other patients. Further, household consumption explains patient behaviour better than current income. (+info)
The fall and rise of cost sharing in Kenya: the impact of phased implementation.
The combined effects of increasing demand for health services and declining real public resources have recently led many governments in the developing world to explore various health financing alternatives. Faced with a significant decline during the 1980s in its real per capita expenditures, the Kenya Ministry of Health (MOH) introduced a new cost sharing programme in December 1989. The programme was part of a comprehensive health financing strategy which also included social insurance, efficiency measures, and private sector development. Early implementation problems led to the suspension in September 1990 of the outpatient registration fee, the major revenue source at the time. In 1991, the Ministry initiated a programme of management improvement and gradual re-introduction of an outpatient fee, but this time as a treatment fee. The new programme was carried out in phases, beginning at the national and provincial levels and proceeding to the local level. The impact of these changes was assessed with national revenue collection reports, quality of care surveys in 6 purposively selected indicator districts, and time series analysis of monthly utilization in these same districts. In contrast to the significant fall in revenue experienced over the period of the initial programme, the later management improvements and fee adjustments resulted in steady increases in revenue. As a percentage of total non-staff expenditures, fiscal year 1993-1994 revenue is estimated to have been 37% at provincial general hospitals, 20% at smaller hospitals, and 21% at health centres. Roughly one third of total revenue is derived from national insurance claims. Quality of care measures, though in some respects improved with cost sharing, were in general somewhat mixed and inconsistent. The 1989 outpatient registration fee led to an average reduction in utilization of 27% at provincial hospitals, 45% at district hospitals, and 33% at health centres. In contrast, phased introduction of the outpatient treatment fee beginning in 1992, combined with somewhat broader exemptions, was associated with much smaller decreases in outpatient utilization. It is suggested that implementing user fees in phases by level of health facility is important to gain patient acceptance, to develop the requisite management systems, and to orient ministry staff to the new systems. (+info)
Medication errors during hospital drug rounds.
Objective--To determine the nature and rate of drug administration errors in one National Health Service hospital. Design--Covert observational survey be tween January and April 1993 of drug rounds with intervention to stop drug administration errors reaching the patient. Setting--Two medical, two surgical, and two medicine for the elderly wards in a former district general hospital, now a NHS trust hospital. Subjects--37 Nurses performing routine single nurse drug rounds. Main measures--Drug administration errors recorded by trained observers. Results--Seventy four drug rounds were observed in which 115 errors occurred during 3312 drug administrations. The overall error rate was 3.5% (95% confidence interval 2.9% to 4.1%). Errors owing to omissions, because the drug had not been supplied or located or the prescription had not been seen, accounted for most (68%, 78) of the errors. Wrong doses accounted for 15% (17) errors, four of which were greater than the prescribed dose. The dose was given within two hours of the time indicated by the prescriber in 98.2% of cases. Conclusion--The observed rate of drug administration errors is too high. It might be reduced by a multidisciplinary review of practices in prescribing, supply, and administration of drugs. (+info)