While most Americans agree that the healthcare system needs to be fixed, they remain woefully unaware of the problems facing the health care industry at large. There are five main factors that must be addressed in order to come to grips with not only the problems facing health care, but how to fix them.
1. Decreases in Funding: Hospital funding is often yanked in favor of increasing profits and making shareholders happy. This has dire consequences for everyone, including staff, patients and the general public. There is less money coming in from all sources, including the government, and private and public sectors. As a result, hospital administrators have had to come up with some creative ways to manage their hospitals; unfortunately, this has come at a price to the unsuspecting general public. Cleaning staff and standards have been reduced; nurses and doctors are overworked and exhausted; there are not enough beds to accommodate patients, and wait times for diagnostics and surgery are much longer than even ten years ago.
2. More Uninsured Families: With the unemployment rate near an all-time high, many people have lost their company-funded health insurance. Many families just cannot afford to carry the insurance on their own. Remember that insurance companies are out to make a profit, and many do not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. This leaves families, and especially children, vulnerable to illness, disease, and possible death. As the unemployment rate rises, this problem will continue to worsen, and will have dire consequences.
3. Obesity is on the Rise: It seems that people are more aware than ever before of the types of foods they need to eat, and yet obesity rates are at an all-time high. Studies show that one in three children is overweight or obese. This puts a tremendous strain on the health care system. Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart attacks and cancer are just a few of the conditions that are caused by being overweight. Our expanding waistlines are the result of a more sedentary lifestyle, an ever increasing food supply, and less wholesome foods being available to the general public.
4. Staff Shortages: This is connected with the first point in the article, regarding funding. Doctors and nurses are in short supply, causing longer shifts and overworked staff. This has a domino effect on patients, as there is a greater chance of error, less time for proper patient care and less quality care overall. Medicines and dosages are no longer double-checked as there simply isn’t time. This has caused thousands of accidental deaths across the country – and happens more than the health care industry wants to admit.
5. Pharmaceutical Companies are in Control: We have them to thank for scientific breakthroughs and research, but we can also thank them for skyrocketing costs when it comes to medicine and prescriptions. To put it simply, they have become greedy. This has put a strain on the Medicare and Medicaid system, and has caused many doctors to stop accepting patients with this type of coverage.
Guest Author Bio:
Sarah Rawson is an avid blogger and independent researcher. She has recently been researching MBA in Healthcare programs and reporting her findings to various higher education blogs.