One of the biggest factors impacting the population of this national is health; and due to the rapid changes in technology and science, various medical health breakthroughs have been discovered in the past few decades. Increased facilities and services have become more convenient and more available than ever before. But how are people adapting to the new forms of medicine and health care, and are we all the better for it?
Many public and private health services have been developing and adapting to the trends in the health sector, especially hospitals and medical clinics. In particular, rehabilitative services are investing more into the community, by offering free services to those who need them. Currently, there are over 14 000 rehabilitation centres in the United States. Historically speaking, such a luxury of immediate health care or proximity to services was rarely available. But due to the increase of such services, the need has also grown.
However, this begs the question: is it enough? According to classic organisational theory, it is; since this theory focuses on an efficient bureaucracy. The health sector has been established for many years, and the same efficient system is used at both a federal and state-wide level. The only real differences in approach have been implemented by community organisations. This is mainly due to the perception of the workers and the availability of patients. As operating on a neoclassic perspective, morale and leadership have a high emphasis over protocol and methodologies in a community organisational setting, since diverse teams work under dedicated leaders.
Due to many internal and external constraints, the federal and state-run institutions often have issues implementing such a system on an ongoing basis. Contemporary theory suggests that such a leadership-oriented approach needs to rely on internal and external constraints to work effectively (Daft and Armstrong, 2009). Two of the main internal constraints on medical institutions are infrastructure and technological capabilities. Also both constraints have had increased budgets by the Medical Payment Advisory Commission and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, primary care institutions still have reported crumbling facilities and outdated systems, which are critical to providing equitable health care.
The distribution of aid is also limited, in terms of its implementation into the various facilities and institutions. Although the government has agreed to help, the main problem is due to external constraints, as many practices are isolated, or do not have enough people power to combat the endless stream of problematic patients. What is really required is an updated system and increased coverage, so that both doctors and patients receive the assistance they require when they need it (Shortell and Casalino, 2008; Grumbach and Mold, 2009).
Many medical professionals have agreed that the system itself cripples services to patients. Despite many waves of debate and piecemeal reforms, the U.S. health care system remains largely the same as it was decades ago; there seems to be no convincing approach to changing the unstableness of the system, much less to offset the rising costs of an aging population and new medical advances (Porter, 2009). With the introduction of the Health Care Reform, there has been a widening acceptance of both the internal and external constraints facing the health sector, and plans to remedy these issues.
This reform promotes the shift from attention to prevention. Some of the proposed changes include increased coverage for preventive services, grants to promote community health and wellness, targeting obesity and substance use at the root level causes; and promoting health in the workplace. As the saying goes: “prevention is better than cure”. Indeed, the institutions that already have the funds and the personnel to run their operations smoothly have begun to focus on this approach, but for those who still have not received the aid needed, they cannot.
Only limited remedies have been found for those institutions who focus on the rehabilitation of substance abuse patients, and although the treatments have improved, it is still an ongoing issue. Since most of the reforms have dealt with general preventative approaches, the patients who need care continue with the established system of rehabilitation, instead of a total reform. What needs to occur is the improvement of the system from the roots up, not just a quick-fix scheme.
Due to a lack of a clear strategy with which to combat these issues, the increasing cost of health care has put a burden on society, and has therefore led to increased medical problems amongst the population. Substance abuse ranks highly as a major factor for medical complications, especially in the use of alcohol and drugs. Many rehabilitative institutions, especially in the state-level, have found it increasingly difficult to cater for the number of patients, especially as it constantly changes. Counselling services have also been highly sought after, putting pressure on medical personnel to provide more staff and remuneration for increased hours. For the government to address these issues, there needs to be an increase in the value for patients; both monetarily and physically speaking.
Although there has been a noticed shift in prioritising medical issues, the changes are still slow in rolling out. There have been linkages between mental health issues and substance abuse, but the real change needs to occur both before and after patients encounter problematic symptoms. In a recent study of 165 institutions, there has been a noticed health disparity between patients living in different localities (Safran et. al., 2009). Patients still do not receive the health care they require on a ‘needs’ basis, but rather on a ‘first come, first served basis’.
The advancement of medical technology and science needs to be more equitable, and the provision of these advancements needs to be made available to the institutions that need it most, namely, the community centres. Since the government-run institutions mostly have these changes in place, the budgets given to the rest of the medical institutions needs to be used to implement practical measures that are both valued by, and give value, to patients and medical personnel. Any remaining aid should be used to assist in the rebuilding of infrastructure of both existing and upcoming institutions. The more rapid the medical advances, the more care should be taken to ensure that these advances are serving the people, not complicating the procedure.
To further improve medical facilities and services, both at a federal, state and local level, there needs to be an emphasis on ongoing care; in that patients are both counselled, provided for, and followed-up to ensure medical prognosis’ have been understood, and proper medical care has been given. This will create a ripple effect in the system, that will ensure an advancement in medical care, and relieved pressure of further problems on both doctors and patients on a long-term basis.
Grumbach, K. and Mold, J. (2009). A Health Care Cooperative Extension Service Transforming Primary Care and Community Health. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 301(24), 2589-2591.
Porter, M. (2009). A Strategy for Health Care Reform — Toward a Value-Based System. The New England Journal of Medicine, 361(2), 1-2.
Safran, M., Mays, R., Huang, L., McCuan, R., Pham, P., Fisher, S., McDufﬁe, K., and Trachtenberg, A. (2009). American Journal of Public Health, 99(11), 3-4).
Shortell, S. and Casalino, L. (2008). Health Care Reform Requires Accountable Care Systems, 300(1), 95-97.