The Impact of Recent State and Federal Legislation Instructions
Select a health care facility or service (e.g., hospital, physician practice, long-term care facility, ambulance service, pharmacy, or skilled nursing facility). Identify and read one recently proposed or enacted state or federal legislation that has an impact on your selected health care facility or service.
Write a 700- to 1,050-word policy brief on the effects the legislation will have on your selected facility or service and on the state’s population. Use the following structure when putting together your policy brief. Include a heading for each of the following:
- Executive Summary (175 to 260 words) (Use this as your heading)
- State recommendation again (use a heading hear representative of recommendation)
- Body (use the headings below for the sections of your body – please do not use “Body” to label the overall section)
- Overview of problem
- Review of relevant research
- Application of research results
- Policy implications
Impact of Health Care Facility Fee Disclosures Legislation – Sample Answer
The cost of healthcare is a primary factor that regulates consumption of healthcare at all levels. Patients consider this cost very highly before choosing to visit any given facility for their healthcare needs. The role of a healthcare facility is to ensure that it meets the needs of all patients. These needs are often health-related in nature. However, economic factors should also be considered while addressing concerns in provision of healthcare.
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This paper elaborates on the State of Minnesota health legislation that requires health facilities to provide full disclosures of fees to patients to enhance efficiency and transparency. According to the legislation, healthcare facilities such as hospitals have the duty to disclose their fees to all clients. This process ensures that patients do not meet hidden costs once they have started using services of a given health center. This legislation also ensures that patients are able to make informed decisions on the health facilities from where they would love to obtain treatment. Application of this legislation has led to increased patient satisfaction, as well as improved service delivery in many healthcare facilities.
- Implement measures to promote health care facility fee disclosures
- Provide patients with an opportunity to inquire about relevant fees charged in the healthcare facility
- Explain all fees satisfactorily
- Extend fees disclosures to suppliers and all stakeholders in order to harmonize all costs
Transparency in billing procedures in hospitals has been lacking for many years. This problem has led to a situation where most patients do put into question the trustworthiness of hospitals and their managers. Worse even, some patients are discouraged and fail to seek health services from hospitals. Some hospitals have also been sued by patients for actual or perceived exaggerated costs while receiving services. These issues are a call to action from all stakeholders concerned with management of healthcare.
The best mechanisms of handling the mentioned problems include the following:
- Ensuring that there are full disclosures of possible fees that a patient is likely to experience while receiving services.
- Harmonizing costs with all stakeholders and suppliers in order to ensure that all elements of costing are captured.
- Proving patients with an opportunity to ask questions on the cost of healthcare services, and providing clear explanations for the raised concerns.
Overview of Problem
Most patients often find that they are required to pay substantially more fees than they had been made aware before service delivery. Hospitals usually focus on disclosing the core fees related to a given service. However, other significant costs are encountered by patients in the process. Most of these hidden fees fall in the “facilitation fees”, fees meant to support the service being provided (Brot-Goldberg et al., 2017). For example, the cost of purchasing hospital cards is not usually disclosed to patients when they make enquiries on cost.
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Review of Relevant Research
The cost of healthcare is one of the main issues that influence how people consume healthcare services (Simon et al., 2017). This reason explains why such legislations as the Obamacare exists in order to help patients to access healthcare services better. Although the available insurance schemes are working well, patients are still forced to foot significant bills from out of their pockets (Dusetzina et al., 2017). This fact frustrates many patients and prevents them from seeking healthcare services as frequently as recommended, or when they are in need of healthcare. The introduction of the Minnesota legislation on fees disclosures has helped to fill the existing gap in transparency.
Application of Research Results
There is a need to improve on communication to patients. Part of this communication involves providing patients with a clear picture of the costs they are likely to encounter while receiving services in a given facility (Frakt & Mehrotra, 2019). Printing and displaying of these costs ensures that patients are well informed, and that they can make right choices. The cited articles also show that there is need to improve further on legislations that deal with healthcare, and especially focus on reducing the cost of healthcare.
Full disclosures of fees to patients are a move in the right direction. The legislation has been lauded for serving the interests of patients by promoting transparency. By making it mandatory for hospitals to publish and display all costs to patients, patients are likely to be more trustworthy of healthcare facilities that they visit. The policy also has the potential of improving competition among hospitals. This potential exists is because hospitals will be forced to eliminate many unnecessary hidden costs in an attempt to be attractive to patients.
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The Minnesota State legislation on disclosures of fees is timely and serves a clear purpose in enhancing access to healthcare. Healthcare facilities should focus on improving their prices, and ensure that all factors that deal with the cost of enjoying healthcare services are well examined and evaluated. As cost is a central factor in accessing healthcare, healthcare facilities should work on lowering them, as well as eliminating unnecessary costs, and making them readily available for patients to scrutinize for better planning.
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