This paper intends to look deeper into the US Health Care by looking back into its history, presenting its current status/development, as well as, the top issues related to it.
Health Care in the United States has come a long way, let’s take a quick look of what occurred in the past and how health care in the United States gradually developed and improved:
In the 1900’s: 1) American Medical Association was established which marked the start of ‘organized medicine; 2) Surgery became a common technique for the elimination of tumors, appendices, and tonsils; 3) Not all physicians oblige to free medical services to all patients (History.., n.d.).
Ten years after: 1) hospitals are modernized through the presence of antiseptics, medications for pain management, maintenance of cleanliness, etc; 2) a conference on social insurance has been held; 3) arguments for health insurance finally gains support (History.., n.d.).
During the 1920’s: 1) the physicians’ salary increased; and 2) penicillin has been discovered (History.., n.d.).
Ten years later: 1) health insurance was eliminated by the Social Security Act; and 2) Blue Cross offered private coverage for hospital care in some states (History.., n.d.).
In the 1940’s: 1) penicillin was utilized; and 2) companies started offering health benefits (History.., n.d.).
After another ten years: 1) welfare services have been offered to the poor; 2) medications for arthritis, glaucoma, and infections were made available; 3) vaccines for polio and other childhood diseases were discovered as well; and 4) a successful organ transplant has been carried out (History.., n.d.).
In the 1960’s: 1) hospitalization expenses doubled; 2) more than five hundred companies sell health insurance; 3) “doctor shortage” occurs; and 4) Medicare and Medicaid has been made into a law (History.., n.d.).
Ten years later: 1) health care costs increases rapidly; 2) more women join the medical world; and 3) Small pox has been declared eliminated by the WHO (History.., n.d.).
During the 1980’s: Medicare changed their manner of payment from payment by treatment to payment by diagnosis (History.., n.d.).
After ten years: 1) health care cost continues to increase; 2) forty four million Americans do not have health insurance; and 3) almost 140,000 individuals in the US have HIV/AIDS (History.., n.d.).
Finally, in the year 2000: 1) Medicare is unsustainable; and 2) pharmaceuticals and medical devices are advertised directly to consumers (History.., n.d.).
Health Care in the United States Today
Latest statistics show that approximately five hundred forty five thousand establishments make up the health care industry (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). In fact, the health care industry has nine major segments including the following establishment types: 1) hospitals (public and private); 2) nursing and residential care facilities; 3) offices of physicians; 4) offices of dentists; 5) home healthcare services; 6) offices of other health practitioners; 7) outpatient care centers; 8) other ambulatory healthcare services; and 9) medical and diagnostic laboratories (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).
Hospitals, as we all know, offer absolute medical care, including diagnostic services, surgery, as well as, incessant & uninterrupted nursing care (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).
They also attend to patients who are suffering from mental illness, as well as, cancer patients (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). Patient care in hospitals may be categorized as an inpatient or an outpatient (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). Some hospitals nowadays have long-term and home health care services as part of their expansion programs with the intention of offering better and wider range of care for the people they serve (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).
Nursing and residential care facilities, on the other hand, offer the following to individuals who are in need of non-stop nursing care but not services of a hospital: 1) inpatient nursing; 2) therapy/rehabilitation; 3) health-related private & special care (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).
Nurses and nursing aides, for instance, have the extreme ability to give patients direct care that they need (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). Residential care facilities offer twenty-four/seven days a week social, as well as, personal care to those individuals who cannot manage themselves alone, like, children & the elderly (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).
Offices of physicians, however, are establishments wherein physicians, as well as, surgeons opted to practice their professions in private or in groups of either similar of different specializations (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). They engage in group medical practices/clinics, as well as, integrated health systems because of the following reasons: 1) they can afford backup coverage; 2) overhead expenses may be lessened; and 3) upholds facilitation of consultation with peers (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).
Offices of dentists, on the other hand, offer general or specialized dental care, like dental surgery (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).
Home health care services, however, are those type of care which involves skilled nursing and medical care supervised by a physician which are implemented in the patient’s home (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). Home health care services are typically provided to the elderly (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). It is rather fortunate that this kind contributed greatly into the: 1) development of in-home medical technologies; and 2) savings of the patients (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).
Offices of other health practitioners, on the other hand, consist of the offices of the following: 1) audiologists; 2) chiropractors; 3) dietitians; 4) occupational therapists; 5) optometrists; 6) podiatrists; 7) physical therapists; 8) psychologists; 9) speech-language pathologists; and 10) etc. including acupuncturists, homeopaths, hypnotherapists, & naturopaths (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).
The demand for services of the aforementioned specializations is highly-related to the patients’ capability to pay (U.S. Bureau.., 2005). Payments may be done through direct method or through a health insurance (U.S. Bureau.., 2005).