Patient dumping is a statutorily imposed liability that primarily occurs when a health facility with the capacity of providing the required medical care transfers a patient to another center or even turns the patient away because of lack of financial abilities to pay for the services offered. It has been provided by law, that when healthcare facility is found to have willfully failed to comply with the provided legislation prohibiting patient dumping, it should be be faced with various monetary penalties as well as suspension of their Medicare license (Zuabi, et al., 2016). Regardless of this provision, it is evident that there are many health facilities that do not primarily consider this legislation and most of the time consider patients who have been insured or have money to pay for the medical services over those who are incapable of paying the medical bills; demonstrating how the industry has been largely commercialized. These, alongside other patient-dumping factors, have negatively implicated the healthcare industry.
Many private hospitals tend to give emphasis on cash more than anything else; including the lives of its clients. It is important to note that provision of emergency care to all patients who are presented to the emergency department is a prerequisite longstanding commitment by the physician in the sector regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. This is considered as the safety net of the nation’s health care system as health care services provided to patients who are uninsured or underinsured is basically considered charity care, uncompensated care or better still bad debt. Charity care as defined by Bitterman, (2002), is care delivered for free or at a subsidized fee owing to the financial status and capabilities on the part of the patient. Many organizations have however been categorical in their policy formulations and provision that primarily bar any charitable services by stating that no payment or reduced payment is allowed for clients visiting the facility but nothing is done to these institutions.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
As construed by Abel (2011), there are many practitioners and activists in the health sector who are out-rightly against the dumping of patients and with cooperation from other healthcare stakeholders, endeavored to set policies straight and get the bill passed into law that prevented dumping of patients in emergency situations. The legislatures had enough reasons as to why the bill had to be endorsed as there were many cases of patients dying on the hospital bench after being neglected without minding the matchless value attached to life; women have been seen losing their babies while being transferred during active labor just because of neglect and misplaced priorities among health care facilities. Transferring patients in critical conditions to other hospitals for the mare same financial reasons has been a norm in many facilities without considering the patient’s’ chances of survival in the course of transfer and readmission. ICU cases are again put on the road to seek other alternatives putting the patient in a stressful condition. The director of Parkland Memorial Health in Dallas admits of the fact that they have on previous occasions received patients from other facilities without being informed in due course concerning a transfer case. In some cases the transferring hospital did not have clear records of the patient being transferred yet they were in the Intensive Care Unit. This marks the epitome of moral degradation and misplaced priorities in our health sector and society at large. The private, capitalistic hospitals have taken a leading role in such heinous, dehumanizing acts with the main goal of maximizing profits (Santry, et al., 2015). Pained by the recent dramatic rise in medical expenses, it has become a norm for most private facilities to want to capitalize on their services to cater for the many expenses.
Consequently, in response to the financial crisis in the economy, health facilities have focused on aspects of cost containment strategies for health supply to execute a diverse payment system including capitation payment system. This is done in an effort to maintain certain profit margins as well as stabilize growth in medical expenses. Given the high financial pressure emanating from BNHI, many health facilities have been forced to incline more towards financial gains and business orientation that in most instances compromises the quality and accuracy of the medical services rendered (Kane, 2003). It is paramount to note that, health sector is a very sensitive department that needs sober minds as well as high level of professionalism and expertise in order to achieve the mandated responsibilities. If sanity, prudence and discretion are not fully restored in the sector coupled with stringent rules and guidelines, then incidences of patient dumping are bound to increase exponentially in the near future as priorities change. The trend in the medical field has since changed and is being driven by cost saving strategies in the course of delivering medical services- in a sole effort to remain competitive and relevant in the industry. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Another factor that has equally contributed to the recent trends in the health sector is the constant reductions in reimbursements as well as inadequate medical support and funding from the government. This has resulted into increased numbers of patient transfers from private hospitals for the reason that the government has not been proactive in supporting the sector. Information from the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group showed that approximately 250,000 cases of patient transfer are as a result of economic and financial reasons as opposed to lack of expertise or specialized treatments (Cetta, et al., 2015). This is a clear reflection of the healthcare condition in the country and the need for the federal government to consider funding for medical care and setting the standards for operating private healthcare facilities. Additionally, health care centers should be governed by their own stringent rules that are distinct from other businesses in the general domain given that they are dealing with human life. Business aspects such as competition and profit maximization should not be the driving factors in a health institution and hence the government and concerned stakeholders need to curb the malpractices and compromised services experienced in some rogue health facilities that are largely focused on profit maximization rather than quality healthcare services (Cetta, et al., 2015).
Patient dumping has not only become a widespread menace across the private healthcare sector in the state but it has also impacted on the financial situation of the receiving hospitals most of them being public facilities. This has equally led to overcrowding of the recipient facilities in which case the practitioners become overwhelmed owing to a high doctor to patient ratio; hence affecting quality and timely service delivery. The facilities in the healthcare center also become limited and patients end up being exposed to incidences of clinical counter-infections and poor healthcare outcomes as a result (Santry, et al., 2015). In this light, it is evident that patient damping has had a huge dent to the healthcare fraternity with regards to provision of quality medical services in a timely fashion and a lot needs to be done in a collaborative effort to fix this.
Despite the evident increase in incidences of patient dumping, little is being done to help address the matter in a succinct and logical manner. The industry has been flooded with cartels some of which involve influential personalities in the health ministry and the government of the day hence the incidences proceed on unchecked. A lot is being said by the administrators and legislators yet very little is being done on the ground to fully address the issue and restore sanity in the sector. This speaks a lot about the will spirit to bring transformation and ensure the interests of ailing patients’ are catered for regardless of their financial capabilities. A committee should be constituted within the health department to help in probing into the matter so as to get to the root of all this and ensure patient dumping does not continue to haunt the health sector. The country has largely invested in training and hiring qualified health practitioners to attend to patients but the system is not providing conducive environment for professional practice consequently with the culture of prioritizing on money many good practitioners are slowly turned into business oriented people hence lowering their ability to concentrate on quality and precision (Stern, 2010).
In as much as there is an outcry to the government and all concerned stakeholders to ensure that patient dumping is contained, citizens should not be reluctant in seeking medical cover and insurance with the hope of getting free philanthropic services. It is important that they consider being under cover so as to safeguard their health wellbeing and that of their families. The state of health care industry is very unstable and many policies are formulated but very few implemented hence the need to seek medical cover in the best interest of the individual. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
This research hence affirms to the fact that patient dumping is indeed an issue of national concern as it is widespread across the various states in healthcare industry of America. A closer look provides a perspective of an international problem affecting not only America but other countries across the phase of the world that has significantly jeopardized patient health and impaired financial abilities of the recipient health facilities (Abel, 2011). It is hence true that patient dumping that happens in our immediate environment has severely incapacitated the operations of many public hospitals with limited resources and facilities. The recommendation fostered forth is the applicable statutes be formulated and implemented to avoid cases of unnecessary patient transfers on basis of financial capabilities. Of particular interest is on patient requiring emergency services, their transfer should only be on grounds of unavailability of appropriate medical care, otherwise, the facility will be required to attend to them before following up on payments. If that provision is overlooked by any health facility, its license will be suspended and the practitioner in charge penalized or their certificate to practice be revoked for violating the rule they declared to abide in their course of professional practice (Santry, et al., 2015).
In conclusion, it is imperative to note that the patient dumping has literally change the nature of healthcare industry and the situation seems to get from bad to worse over the years. The increased lapses and compromise in the health sector is so evident and the trend continues to intensify as loopholes in the system widens. Several decades ago, practitioners were very dedicated to this service which was considered as a calling to be of help to humanity and touch lives with the God-given knowledge and expertise. Things have since changed and focus has been primarily laid on ways to maximize profits and stiff competition among private institution. Every practitioner wants to gain more than the other at the expense of the ailing patient. In this light, there is need to change and have a compete overhaul of the system so as to reflect the values and morals it upholds. The findings from this research serve as a wakeup call to policymakers to identify the reasons as to the perceived prevalence of patient dumping and implement policies as well as put structures in place to seal all loopholes in the sector and spur positive health outcomes through reduces patient dumping and increased accountability and professionalism in the industry.
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