Storage of cord blood attracts private-sector interest.
Storage of cord blood from their babies can cost parents several hundred dollars, and some private companies are already offering the service. Janis Hass reports that some Canadian specialists question the value of the banks. (+info)
Health expenditure and finance: who gets what?
The methods used in South Africa's first comprehensive review of health finance and expenditure are outlined. Special measures were adopted to make the process acceptable to all concerned during a period of profound political transition. The estimation of indicators of access to public sector resources for districts sorted by per capita income allowed the health care problems of disadvantaged communities to be highlighted. (+info)
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 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)
The state of health planning in the '90s.
The art of health planning is relatively new in many developing countries and its record is not brilliant. However, for policy makers committed to sustainable health improvements and the principle of equity, it is an essential process, and in need of improvement rather than minimalization. The article argues that the possibility of planning playing a proper role in health care allocative decisions is increasingly being endangered by a number of developments. These include the increasing use of projects, inappropriate decentralization policies, and the increasing attention being given to NGOs. More serious is the rise of New Right thinking which is undermining the role of the State altogether in health care provision. The article discusses these developments and makes suggestions as to possible action needed to counteract them. (+info)
Efficiency and quality in the public and private sectors in Senegal.
It is often argued that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector in the production of health services, and that government reliance on private provision would help improve the efficiency and equity of public spending in health. A review of the literature, however, shows that there is little evidence to support these statements. A study of government and non-governmental facilities was undertaken in Senegal, taking into account case mix, input prices, and quality of care, to examine relative efficiency in the delivery of health services. The study revealed that private providers are highly heterogeneous, although they tend to offer better quality services. A specific and important group of providers--Catholic health posts--were shown to be significantly more efficient than public and other private facilities in the provision of curative and preventive ambulatory services at high levels of output. Policies to expand the role of the private sector need to take into account variations in types of providers, as well as evidence of both high and low quality among them. In terms of public sector efficiency, findings from the study affirm others that indicate drug policy reform to be one of the most important policy interventions that can simultaneously improve efficiency, quality and effectiveness of care. Relationships that this study identified between quality and efficiency suggest that strategies to improve quality can increase efficiency, raise demand for services, and thereby expand access. (+info)
The role of private medical practitioners and their interactions with public health services in Asian countries.
This paper aims to review the role of private practitioners and their interactions with public health services in developing countries, focusing largely on the Asian region. Evidence on the distribution of health facilities, manpower, health expenditures and utilization rates shows that private practitioners are significant health care providers in many Asian countries. Limited information has been published on interactions between public and private providers despite their co-existence. Issues related to enforcement of regulations, human resources, patient referrals and disease notifications, are examined. (+info)
Private payers of health care in Brazil: characteristics, costs and coverage.
The private sector is the predominant provider of health care in Brazil, particularly for inpatient services, and financing is a mix of public (through a prospective reimbursement system) and private. Roughly a quarter of the population has private insurance coverage, reflecting rapid growth in the past decade fuelled by the crisis in the public reimbursement system and the perceived deterioration of publicly provided care. Four major forms of insurance exist: (1) prepaid group practice; (2) medical cooperatives, physician owned and operated preferred provider organizations; (3) company health plans where employers ensure employee access to services under various types of arrangements from direct provision to purchasing of private services; and (4) health indemnity insurance. Each type of plan includes a wide variety of subplans from basic individual/family coverage to comprehensive executive coverage. The paper discusses the characteristics, costs and utilization patterns of all types of privately financed care, as well as the major problems associated with private financing: the limited package of benefits and low payout ceilings, inadequate consumer information and virtually no regulation. (+info)