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Healthy policy discussion responses

Review other posts submitted by your classmates. Respond to at least two other posts. In your responses, explain whether you agree or disagree with the original poster's position and why. Offer suggestions and perspectives that the original poster may not have considered or weighed differently than you.

Post # 1

Rachel Watson 

Hello class, my name is Rachel and I am nearing (finally) the end of my MHA degree. I have been a nurse for over 15 years and decided to transition from clinical healthcare to administrative because I have worked in many organizations where administrative leaders have little to know clinical knowledge, yet make substantial decisions impacting clinical workflow and patient care. That being said, I have worked over 10 years in the federal healthcare system as a military spouse and recently relocated to Japan after living in Germany for 6.5 years. I actually am writing this in quarantine (thanks Covid-19) as military regulations require us to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the country. My career goals have been modified quite a bit in the last year, as I was gearing up to move back to the US and have a lot more employment opportunities, but like always, the military had different plans for us. My employment options are very limited here in Japan but I hope to make the best out of the situation and hopefully can find some employment opportunities to enhance my professional development. 

 As I mentioned, one of the main reasons I switched from clinical to administrative roles is because I felt decision makers needed clinical guidance and knowledge. When thinking about the role of interest groups in policy-making, I think it’s fair to say a wide variety of stakeholders need to be actively engaged in the policy process to best suit all stakeholders. I say this because a policy can improve things for one group of stakeholders while providing negative effects for another group. For example, access to care has been at the forefront of many healthcare issues; however, shortening appointment times to allow for more appointment slots will improve access to care for patients but could decrease the quality of care provided from providers and increase the workload of those clinicians. I can speak from experience that this change, while intended to have positive impacts on patient care actually leads to increased frustration from both providers and patients because patients are rushed out of their appointments feeling like the provider isn’t listening. That being said, focus groups for policy making should include a variety of stakeholders such as providers, patients, public figures, insurance agents and government officials if available to create an environment to discuss policies that will affect positives and negatives for each stakeholder group to best approach local and national levels. Furthermore, it is important to remember that many healthcare policies and decisions are made at the state level and don’t require federal government interventions (Teitelbaum & Wilensky, 2020). 

As far as financing is concerned for interest groups, I don’t know if there will ever be enough funding to support impacts on healthcare policy makers. The problem is, the influence on lobbyists directly correlates with achieving specific goals of interest groups; however, the effects can be neglected due to opposing funding points (Fincham, 2010). To me, that speaks to the fact that money talks and unless you can buy your way into someones ear, interest groups will never have enough traction to truly make decent headway in policy making processes. That being said, I feel that interest groups at this time do not have enough influence on healthcare policy making and the process should be revisited for interest groups to rally, secure strong elbows and force their way into being heard and make a difference. 

Rachel

References 

Fincham, J. (2010, February 10). Financial realities affect political support for health care reform. PubMed Central. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2829137/

Teitelbaum, J. B., & Wilensky, S. E. (2020). Essentials of health policy and law 4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. ISBN: 978-1-284-15161-9

Post # 2

Christen Karch 

Hello Class! 

            Healthcare policies often come to fruition as a response to an event, need, or concern within the community that are highlighted by specific interest groups.  Interest groups will work with various stakeholders of healthcare facilities to confirm the need for the policy and, ultimately, work to lobby for the policy through federal/state legislation.  As a result, stakeholders have great influence on the development of a policy/procedure within healthcare, as stakeholders are active participants in the services offered by the healthcare facility. 

A stakeholder is generally defined as being those entities that are integrally involved in the healthcare system and would be substantially affected by reforms to the system (“Health Care Reform,” 2011).  There are both internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders include the board of directors, facility leadership, and staff.  External stakeholders include patients, families, community members, and advocacy groups.  Balancing the needs of internal/external stakeholders is critical when looking at market-driven strategic planning and policy development. This balance includes looking at how areas such as regulatory factors, social forces, technological factors, economic factors, competitive factors, and society impact the stakeholder (Berkowitz, 2017, p. 23).   Interest groups are aware of these factors which can be the basis of and greatly influence further policy development.  

Within the field of mental health, Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of Americans though the recommendation of changes in policy by focusing on prevention, early identification, integrated care/treatment, and recovery (“Legislative Priorities,” 2020).  MHA works with communities in order to identify issues/barriers related to mental health treatment.  These issues/barriers are worked into position statements that are lobbied to become lawful policies/legislation.  The development of position statements requires an understanding of the role of both federal/state governments within healthcare.  The federal role regarding mental health includes regulating systems/providers, protecting the rights of consumers, providing funding for services, and supporting research/innovation whereas the state role requires state mental health systems meet certain standards set by the federal government with allotment to expand on what exists at the federal level to improve services, access, and protections for consumers (“The Federal,” 2020). Taking these items into consideration, current legislation supported by MHA includes the Lower Health Care Costs Act, the Mental Health Services for Students Act, the Mental Health Parity Compliance Act of 20419, and the Medicaid Reentry Act (“Current Mental Health,” 2020). 

The primary funding for interest groups is through donation.  Well-funded interest groups can have a larger influence/impact on policy development.  As interest groups receive donations, they can fund the policy development. Within 2020, MHA reported only 3 lobbyists with total lobbying expenditures of $20,000 (“Client Profile,” 2020).   Once the policy is written into law or utilized on a state/federal level, it is not uncommon for the interest/lobbying group to receive monetary/financial benefits from the policy.   

In my opinion, the role of interest groups should mirror the needs of the stakeholders within the healthcare facilities.  Interest groups need to be rooted in advocacy and work with stakeholders to identify needs within healthcare communities, whether this be at a state or national level. When a need is identified, policies can be created to meet the need.  MHA is an example of the positive effect an interest group can have in healthcare.  They have established a role in setting healthcare policy at larger levels, thus meeting the needs of the mental health community.  Working within the field of mental health for over fifteen years, I have seen the impact of interest group involvement.  The stigma surrounding mental health requires strong advocacy and a loud voice in order to ensure appropriate policies are enacted to care for the mental health population.  The voice held by interest groups should make others aware of changes that need to take place.  The need for change should be supported by data.  This data can be provided by interest groups.  Interest groups collect and gather the information that policy/lawmakers need to make educated and informed decisions.  Interest groups have the ability to provide lawmakers with personal insight into a relevant issue, ultimately fostering greater civic engagement by removing the perception of obstacles between lawmakers and ordinary citizens (“How Do Interest,” 2020). 

References 

Berkowitz, E. (2017). Essentials of health care marketing. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett

Client Profile: Mental Health America. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/lobbhttps://www.mhanational.org/issues/federal-and-state-role-mental-healthyists?cycle=2020&id=D000054293

Current Mental Health Legislation. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.mhanational.org/issues/current-mental-health-legislation

Health Care Reform: Duties and Responsibilities of the Stakeholder. 2011. Retrieved 

from https://sites.sju.edu/icb/health-care-reform-duties-and-responsibilities-of-the-stakeholders/

How Do Interest Groups Influence Health Policy? (2020). Retrieved from  https://onlineprograms.smumn.edu/mahhsa/masters-in-health-and-human-services/resources/how-interest-groups-influence-health-policy

Legislative Priorities. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.mhanational.org/legislative-priorities

The Federal and State Role in Mental Health. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.mhanational.org/issues/federal-and-state-role-mental-health

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