The Obama Plan for Future of American Health Care.

WIth the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2010,  this is what President Obama plans to achieve for those citizens who have had a hard time with the affordability of health care. The tumultuous economic condition of the country has not helped the presidents case with many arguing that the PPACA has harmed the economy as opposed to helping it. Increased costs of goods and inflation all play a role in the affordability of health care in this country which continues to advance modern medicine. These videos sheds light on some of the things the PPACA hopes to fix within Americas health care industry.

Reduction in Healthcare Costs and the PPACA.

In 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was passed by the United States government. The act has been also called by the famous moniker, “ObamaCare”. In expanding healthcare coverage, the act also focuses on reducing health care costs overall. The American Medical Association “believes that reducing the burden of preventable disease is a key strategy to contain health care costs and get the most for our health care dollars. The United States can improve quality of care and reduce the rate of growth in health care costs through large-scale national disease prevention and health promotion efforts designed to reduce the prevalence of chronic disease and poor health status, which lead to unnecessary sickness and higher health costs.” The AMA highlights some measures that the PPACA has enacted in order to hopefully reduce healthcare costs. some of the provisions include the following:

- Development of a national prevention and health promotion program with the the concept of health improvement and education as a main goal.

- Creation of an investment fund for the expansion of prevention and public health programs with a $7 billion investment form 2010-2015.

- Requiring fast food vendors to disclose caloric content of items being sold.

- Allows insurers to create health prevention incentives to covered benificiares with but not limited to discounts.

- Encourages employers to provide wellness programs, insurance discounts for individuals who participate in sponsored wellness programs.

- Increases the availability of grants to small employers and businesses that offer comprehensive workplace wellness programs.

- Incentives to Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries who complete behavior modification programs.

Source:

https://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/advocacy/topics/health-care-costs.page

Insurance Coverage in the US

President Obama has lobbied for affordable health care since the time he was a senator for Illinois. The number of uninsured Americans was looked upon by the Center for Disease  Control (CDC) in the National Health Review Survey from 2011. Data collected suggest that a bulk of the population is still uninsured. The survey found that when interviewed, close to 21% of people from ages 18 to 64 were uninsured at the time in 2011. This number was about 2% higher form 1997 when the percent of uninsured 18 to 64 year olds was close to 19%. The lowest percentage of uninsured adults was in 1999 with only 17.9% uninsured and highest in 2010 with about 22.3 % adults at the time of the interview.

Contrary to the number of uninsured population between 18 to 64, the percent of publicly covered adults was highest in 2011. Public health plan coverage was about 15% in 2011 compared to 1997 where 10% was publicly insured for the age bracket. Comparatively Privately insured percentages dropped from about 73% in 1997 to about 64% in 2011. The  percentage of people that were publicly and privately insured shows that only a fraction of the population remains uninsured.

Figure below shows the coverage of adults ages 18 to 64 for the year 2011.

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Source:

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/hinsure.htm

 

Reasons for daunting Healthcare Costs.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has the main goal of making healthcare affordable for the masses in the United States. With the recession that effected the United States Economy in 2007 a large number of working people lost health insurance benefits as a result of increased unemployment and decreasing bank accounts. There have been said to be many reasons for the continuing rise in health care. Here is a list of some reasons health care costs have risen:

- New technologies such as robotic surgery and other non invasive procedures, which improve quality of care and recuperation time but have substantially higher price points. Insurance claims for new technology related procedures are typically higher as well.

- Increased testing and use of medical testing.

- Cost of physician vists has gone up, forcing both insurers and patients to pay more also giving physicians little room for adjustment as well.

- Insurance shifting the burden of cost or Co-payment onto the patient.

- Inability of patients to pay for care in hospital or private practice settings.

- Increased costs of goods and supplies for both hospitals, private practices and laboratories.

- Insurance premiums exceeding inflation.

- Decrease in preventative measures by patients.

- The increasing age of the American population, older people have greater health problems.

- Increase in the number of insured individuals and government subsidizing of insurance.

-Unnecessary spending on testing, procedures.

- Insurance providers encouragement of visiting specialists, getting special testing in specific affiliated network establishments.

These are some of the many reasons why healthcare costs have gone up through out the years in the United States. According to the Kaiser Family foundation, as the economic conditions improve the improvements may help to alleviate the pressures felt by high health care costs.

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/12/news/economy/health-care-costs/index.htm

http://kff.org/health-costs/report/health-care-costs-a-primer/

PPACA and Potential Affects on Future Physicians

ObamaCare or its actual name Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has shown it self to be the forefront of President Obama’s first term.  The purposed effects of the bill has made it so college aged individuals, adults form the ages of 18 to 26, are able to remain under their parents insurance coverage. The bill also has made it so that insurance and health coverage is available to every one especially those who cannot afford to keep up with the rising health care costs and has made it so healthcare is more patient friendly especially with the introduction of electronic medical records. With the rise in health care costs hospitals, many of which are teaching institutions, have tried to make cuts to be more affordable yet not skimp out on overall care quality. this factor is one thing that has directly affected future doctors that rely on these hospitals for the latter years of their medical education.

When asked about his take on the effects of PPACA, most medical students agreed to the fact that, many hospitals are cutting their staff and residents make up a great chunk of that staff that gets cut, this essentially makes resident opportunities harder to come by, its actually scary when you think about it.

Medical students although having to worry about residency placements, also have to worry about working fewer hours in the future that will essentially impact future incomes. But the positive aspects of PPACA is that many medical students may pursue primary care positions in the medical community. Another positive is that aspiring doctors or pre-med students might see more slots available in medical schools that too in many other aspects of medicine either in allopathic (MD) or osteopathic (DO) institutions.

link(s):

http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/medical-school-admissions-doctor/2012/12/03/weigh-obamacares-pros-cons-for-medical-students

A look back in time: Rider University’s run in with the Norovirus

By. Ankit Choubey

Lawrenceville, N.J. – With the year coming to a close and many students, professors, and other faculty stressing out over many of the formalities that must take place in order to close out the academic year properly, and with that the changing weather patterns of new jersey cause many people to fall sick during this time of year. It was not to recent when Rider University was faced with a daunting task presented in the form of the Norovirus.

Norovirus is a virus that causes gastroenteritis, which causes a persons stomach, intestines and other digestive tract organs to become inflamed. A person that has the virus exhibits many symptoms, which range from normal upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. The virus is highly contagious and can infect anyone person at any given time. The virus is spread through contaminated food, water, contaminated surfaces, and people that have the virus.

The Norovirus outbreak at Rider University affected close to 200 students within a short time frame of ten days. The outbreak had started on February 8th and spread quickly like wildfire amongst the Lawrenceville campus.

“There wasn’t really a lot preplanning, especially since it was a rapid outbreak, said Vickie Weaver, director of Public Safety, who also added that “…drawing from past experiences it really helped us prepare.”

The rapid succession of events lead to the hospitalization of many affected students. The office of public safety and student health services set up an auxiliary overflow clinic with 12 beds in Conover residence hall on the other side of the campus. “The shift manager noticed same symptoms kept showing up amongst students,” explained Weaver, “…he communicated quickly with first responders and other colleagues.”

When asked about how the outbreak changed the landscape of the student health office, director Lynn Eiding said that, “It hit us hard and hit us fast, we had to be here 24/7 and our staff wanted to really help students that were here during the day that showed symptoms.” She also added that, “there was a lot of activity that was taking place, the university uses a national response frame work when responding to events like this.

The virus’s outbreak also showed up during the time where many cases of the influenza would have shown up through out the campus. As a response the university enacted an onslaught of sanitation through out the campus. Dining halls had signs displaying that every table was cleaned and sanitized. The main dining hall on campus, Dalys Dinning hall, prohibited self-serving of food and had many of the staff members serving students food as a precautionary measure.

In addition to restricting the way students were served their food, dining halls resorted to barricading the food in addition to the sneeze guard that were already in place to protect the food with lunch trays. Students were given bottles of hand sanitizer and instructed to keep clean and wash their hands in order to prevent the escalation of the situation. Cleaning crews were kept on standby for rapid clean up if a student got sick in the midst of students. The cleaning service staff, UNICCO, were also instructed to be especially meticulous in the way they were supposed to clean to not only protect themselves but the individuals that use the facilities. Students that lived on campus were also instructed to let Resident hall staff know if they or a roommate were sick or showing signs of the virus so cleaning staff could come in and thoroughly clean their rooms to further reduce the chance of spreading the virus and so the affected individual(s) could be treated.

“We were very fortunate about having students washing their hands, some students went home, which helped in slowing down the spread of the virus. Professors for the most part were lenient in the sense that they didn’t force students to show notes of their absences,” explained Eiding.

When asked to comment on the protocol followed during the time the health services director had the following to say, “We drew from the H1N1 protocol, and we made some adjustments. She also added that, “we work with a collaborating physician; we wrote a protocol that had to be approved by the physician. There was a specific assessment that was given to each student and each student was assessed an hour or so later after they came to us.”

The university’s communication department kept students, staff informed of any developments through out the situation on a regular basis. Along with the university’s communication department, many news channels reported on the outbreak through out the first few days of the event, some of the channels include WABC New York and Fox News from Philadelphia, even the news media giant CNN reported the case. Both Student Health Services and Public Safety directors stressed that communication played key role through out the duration of the outbreak.

With many things going on during the first few days the two offices that handled the situation at hand in full stride. Eiding had explained how, “There was such a quick response, public safety saw the same symptoms that kept showing up in more than a few students which drew some attention to the situation. The students and cleaning crew were really instrumental in preventing the spread of the virus.”

Eiding also added that, “we saw a large number of kids initially, it was weird because we saw a lot of kids at one night with the same symptoms.”

Looking back at what the university as a community had to deal with; Director Weaver commented by saying, “I think it was a professional, well organized response. I commend all the responders as well as the students.” Director Eiding also added by saying, “We had all the food service people on board. Public safety was on point, they really should get the gold star for their response to the situation.” and that, “administration was on top of the whole situation also.” Both office directors agree that all of the staff within their individual offices handled this outbreak in a well-organized and professional manner, and draw from their past experiences to make subtle improvements to an already flawless university emergency/medical emergency response team.

Links:

http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html

http://www.rider.edu/student-life/health-wellness/student-health-services

http://www.rider.edu/publicsafety

http://www.theridernews.com/2012/02/16/containing-the-contagion-rider-attempts-to-prevent-spread-of-norovirus/