Sample Essay - Health Care Final Project
Select a research topic that integrates a healthcare reform issue (insurance, doctor- patient relationships, medical records, patient privacy, HMOs, etc.) with healthcare management (Planning, Organizing, Controlling, HR management, etc.).
Trace historical developments of your health care reform issue, (how did it become an issue here in the United States and where does the issue stand today?).
Discuss how the issue affects healthcare management including suggestions for effective management in regards to dealing with the issue in healthcare settings.
Culture Diversity Issue in Healthcare Reform
It is hard to overestimate the importance of health care reform for modern American society, as it is the plan that the president and Congress suggested to reorganize the nation’s broken and unstable health care system and guarantee all citizens have more affordable and higher quality access to major health care services. Healthcare reform is not merely about what is secured by the Affordable Care Act (ACA); widely stated, it is an integration of health policy modifications, market forces and regulatory initiatives forming health insurance markets, organization and coverage, supply, and payment for various healthcare services (US Government Printing Office, 2010). As president Obama stated in his interview to the New York Times, this reform does not concern politics, “this is about people’s lives and livelihoods, about people’s businesses. This is about America’s future, and whether we will be able to look back years from now and say that this was the moment when we made the changes we needed, and gave our children a better life”(Obama, 2009). One of the most important issues of health care reform is a cultural diversity and cultural competency in health care delivery, since historically the USA has always been a culturally diverse country.
It is a matter of common knowledge that culture comprises every part of a person’s external and internal life. There are various definitions of culture, which describe culture as cognition, experience, moral code, attitudes, ideas, tastes and skills that are transmitted from more accomplished members of a society, which include religious and social groups, families and professional organizations, to new members. Thus, “cultural competence is the process of cross-cultural interaction whereby the views and beliefs of culturally and linguistically diverse groups are recognized and valued”(Garran and Werkmeister Rozas, 2013). Culture, ethnic identification, race, migration history and socioeconomic status are the major factors that define the health of each member of the community. Nowadays, diversity in the health care sphere is more the norm than the exclusion. Patients are likely to look, think and act differently from the health care specialists. They possess a wide range of religions, ethnic identifications, socioeconomic status, opinions and behaviors that bring to rich variety and cultural complexity. “Cultural competence is a set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a continuum to enable a health care system, agency, or individual practitioner to function effectively in transcultural interactions” (Leavitt, 2015). In real-life practice, cultural competency confirms and integrates the significance of culture, the estimation of multicultural relations, necessity to be informed about the dynamics following from cultural differences, the development of cultural experience and the application of services to satisfy all unique needs of each culture. It is a well-known fact that in the USA, the need for cultural competent health professionals and culturally safe health services is significant as the population of the country consists of people from various cultures and races. Therefore, cultural competency is of vital importance in fair and impartial distribution of medical services. It is very significant to make this approach effective; according to health care reform “the engagement and collaboration of governments, communities and organizations is required”(US Government Printing Office, 2010).
The main elements and principles of cultural competency, and health services management, reflected in the health reform are: cultural diversity evaluation, cultural self-assessment, managing the dynamics of difference, acquiring and institutionalizing cultural knowledge and adapting to diversity and cultural contexts. For every health care manager is important to realize that all people are submerged in their own unique culture—with its closely connected behaviors, beliefs and attitudes—which leads their individual and professional interactions; and it is of vital importance for a good manager in health sphere not only to realize this fact, but also to accept it. The managers, who are culturally competent, should be able to use successfully the differences to patients’ advantage and to inspire the value and importance of cultural diversity. Cultural self-assessment embraces an organization, system, methodology of recognition, comprehension and skills in cultural competence. Every manager should also remember about the effect that a dominant culture may produce on minority cultures. Such process should guarantee that dignity and value of each patient is respected and there exists a mutual understanding between the medical stuff from different cultures, ethnicities and races. The population of the USA is diverse and a majority of the patients can be of different ethnicity or race. Cultural knowledge may assist a health manager in better understanding of clients’ behavior in relation to illness and health. However, a manager cannot be expected to be well-grounded in all cultures and religions, but he should strive to acquire all necessary information to keep away from cultural ignorance. And finally, every health manager should carefully control his behavior in the multicultural patients’ environment and should not forget that even minimal adjustments of his conduct can lead to both positive and not very good results.
The basic principles of cultural competent and diverse health sector are grounded on the worldwide human right of each person to receive a high-quality health care that meets their main needs. To become better culturally competent is necessary to be aware of the dynamics, which happens when different cultures are in contact and institutionalize person’s cultural knowledge. The first mentioned principle is connected with the advantage of the diversity usage among the staff to optimize efficiency, maintain innovation process and to communicate successfully with multicultural partners and customers for gaining a business success. The second mentioned principle – the diversity management - is an instrument for getting the diversity benefit. It pays particular attention to management of the personnel difference, providing the benefits of cultural diversity and reducing workplace challenges. Health equity means that every person has an equal and fair opportunity to preserve and improve his health by means of just and fair access to health resources. Health promotion is a stable process, which enables people to control their health and its improvement and makes possible to establish the greatest increase of health for people from diverse cultural and ethnical groups.
Health care reform develops a culturally safe health practice for both the medical staff and health consumers. If there is an expectation that health care professionals are able to work efficiently with customers from other cultural backgrounds, vast knowledge about their sociocultural environment can only make the communication better. Medical staff and managers should seek the information about the cultural background of each patient that will assist them to make a history correctly, put appropriate questions and define interventions, grounded on the customer’s cultural identity. They should ask clients questions about their lifestyle and original culture and show a willingness to learn more information about that culture. “In that way, each party in the interaction can presume the desire to both give and receive information” (Leavitt, 2015). It is not possible, of course, to learn and come to know everything about various cultures, but health care specialists should know the ethnographic structure of the local community and major beliefs and behaviors, connected with their culture and relation to health of their customers and the patients’ families.
Health care managers should create culturally sensitive intervention techniques and examination that enable a customer to feel comfortable during visiting health institution. The main ways that health services management can guarantee to provide culturally safe health services are: acquirement of cultural awareness, which minimizes the cultural prejudices; increase of cultural knowledge for better comprehension of conceptual and theoretical frameworks for other peoples’ views; development of cultural skills and creation of cultural encounter to help people from other cultures to achieve collective goals.
The communities we are living in, become increasingly diverse, and there is a growing need for health care managers and professionals, which will be culturally competent and will support equality of health care for all the members of the society. Although some cultures have their traditional values and beliefs, it is significant not to forget that culture is changeable and dynamic. It is necessary for all health professionals to regularly make self-assessment and self-reflection, as “cultural competence is a skill that is not achieved but rather a lifelong pursuit that is continually refined” (Hillier, 2002).
Garran, A. and Werkmeister Rozas, L. (2013). Cultural Competence Revisited. Journal of Ethnic And Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 22(2), pp.97-111.
Hillier, S. (2002). Is “cultural difference” a useful concept? In Researching Cultural Differences in Health (pp. 124-159). Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis.
Leavitt, R. (2015). Developing Cultural Competence in a Multicultural World,. Udel.edu. Retrieved 13 January 2016,
Obama, B. (2009). Why We Need Health Care Reform. Nytimes.com. Retrieved 17 January 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/opinion/16obama.html?_r=0
US Government Printing Office,. (2010). the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.