Cost Control Articles Assessment
Increased costs of services have become a major concern in the healthcare community. As the reimbursement of expenses on health care programs has dwindled coupled with escalated costs, many hospitals are searching for new methods of saving money while maintaining the quality of healthcare services offered to patients. Cost control in healthcare services has been a center of focus for many researchers who seek to review the current state of healthcare costs as well as models implemented in controlling expenditures. This paper will review four articles from peer-reviewed journals, which provide different cost control methods and their effectiveness as their subject matter.
Cost Control Methods and Their Effectiveness
The first article by Orszag and Emanuel (2010) entitled Health care reform and cost control has recognized increased costs as a challenge facing the healthcare community today. However, taking a legislative approach, President Barrack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) viewed as an ambitious and significant regulation in U.S. history. After its enactment, it was expected that the availability of healthcare services would be improved through cost reduction (Orszag & Emanuel, 2010). At the present moment, the fruits of this act are evident because more people, including rural low-income earners, have easy access to quality health care services at affordable prices.
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In the article running under the title New technology and health care costs the case of robot-assisted surgery, Barbash and Glied (2010) consider that the introduction of new technology is a driver of reduced healthcare costs. The latter can be attained if doctors and medical personnel take time to understand the advantages and disadvantages of new technologies comprehensively before adopting them. In their article, Barbash and Glied (2010) suggest that the adoption of robot-assisted surgeries is a viable approach to cut back health care costs. Upon the implementation of this, surgeons will only be responsible for operating remote-controlled robot arms while performing surgeries. The outcomes of such a strategy include reduced health care costs as well as shorter hospital stays. Consequently, hospitals will be able to serve more patients and increase the availability and accessibility of healthcare services to more people.
According to the article Family planning as a cost-saving preventive health service by Cleland, Peipert, Westhoff, Spear, & Trussell (2011), unintended pregnancies are among the leading contributors to increased healthcare costs in the United States. The authors suggest that parents should practice family planning to help cut back maternal care costs spent on service delivery to pregnant mothers with unplanned pregnancies. The saved costs can be directed to more sensitive healthcare issues requiring additional attention and extra funding. Besides, the costs will be used to expand the scope of healthcare services, particularly to rural areas, where some people cannot afford to pay for medical treatment due to low incomes. Eventually, healthcare services will more readily available at lower costs.
According to the article entitled Shared decision-making to improve care and reduce costs by Oshima and Emanuel (2013), shared decision-making is very essential in instances where there is no definite treatment for a disease. It ensures that healthcare services are well aligned to patients' values and preferences. It will result in numerous benefits for patients, physicians, and the entire healthcare system. Also, Oshima and Emanuel (2013) point out that it will lead to reduced unnecessary variations in costs and services, consequently improving health care outcomes and treatment, as well as increasing patients' knowledge. More needy patients will acquire quality healthcare services cheaply.
Cost Control Methods in Health Care Reimbursement Models and Their Effect on the Availability of Services
There are various viable and effective methods that hospitals can consider and implement in taking efforts to control healthcare costs. In addition to the cost control approaches offered by the authors of the articles analyzed above, other methods include promoting accountability in healthcare practices, increasing the workload and responsibilities of healthcare providers, and building additional outpatient centers (Finkler & Ward, 1999).
Accountability in Healthcare Practices
Accountability is one of the most dependable methods of controlling health care costs efficiently based on assessing expenditures and the sum of available funds. It covers a range of activities such as value-based purchasing and medical home models where hospitals are held accountable for patients. Although numerous costs may be incurred in the initial implementation of this practice, eventual financial gains are evident (Finkler & Ward, 1999). Also, the quality of health care will improve through reduced readmission costs and closer attention to patients' needs. As a result, more people will get access to quality services.
Developing Extra Outpatient Centers
This method will encompass the establishment of urgent health care centers, satellite emergency departments, and ambulatory surgery centers among others. As compared to hospital emergency rooms, outpatient centers are more likely to incur lower operational costs and lead to better financial returns. Also, when outpatient health care centers are established, people in rural areas will enjoy better access to health care services (Finkler & Ward, 1999). More importantly, they will allow hospitals to counterbalance uncompensated emergency room visits while promoting a health care system's market share.
Advancing the Roles and Responsibilities of Health Care Providers
For many hospitals, struggling for Medicare reimbursements, registered nurses and physician assistants are considered a symbol of hope and inspiration. As such, hospitals will recruit more professionals to achieve a rich pool of personnel. Through this, doctors can delegate admission checks and other healthcare services while they attend to life-threatening cases (Dessoff, 2009). It will help serve more critically ill patients, saving more lives.
Effectiveness of Cost Control Methods in Health Care Reimbursement Models
Many cost control methods have been implemented in the United States. Examples include the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, extra recruitment of nurses and physician assistants, automation of healthcare diagnostic and service delivery machines, and the establishment of additional outpatient centers. Also, the healthcare community continues to promote accountability in healthcare practices. Precisely, these cost control methods have been significantly effective in improving the quality of healthcare services and reducing the respective costs. Besides, proper measurement of the latter as compared to expenditures leads to more effective funds distribution to the health care system. Many health care centers in the USA implement this strategy effectively as a reimbursement model. Consequently, the healthcare sector has successfully advanced its services to more patients, which means better availability and the possibility to detect diseases at early stages, minimizing treatment costs.
Increased healthcare costs are among the major barriers preventing people from accessing healthcare services. It has raised concerns within the healthcare community and the government on ways to reduce costs while improving quality. Among the most viable and effective cost control methods, there is the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, recruitment of more nurses and physician assistants, the establishment of more outpatient centers, and promoting accountability in healthcare practices. Other viable methods suggested by various researchers include the implementation of new healthcare equipment enabling surgeons to operate using robots, the use of family planning programs, and shared decision-making in the healthcare practice.