Signs of discontent with the health care system are growing. Calls for health care reform are largely motivated by the continued increase in health care costs and the large number of people without adequate health insurance. For the past 20 years, health care spending has risen at rates higher than the gross national product. As many as 35 million people are without health insurance. As proposals for health care reform are developed, it is useful to understand the roots of the cost problem. Causes of spiraling health care costs include "market failure" in the health care market, expansion in technology, excessive administrative costs, unnecessary care and defensive medicine, increased patient complexity, excess capacity within the health care system, and low productivity. Attempts to control costs, by the federal government for the Medicare program and then by the private sector, have to date been mostly unsuccessful. New proposals for health care reform are proliferating, and important changes in the health care system are likely.
In Finland, dental services are provided by a public (PDS) and a private sector. In the past, children, young adults and special needs groups were entitled to care and treatment from the public dental services (PDS). A major reform in 2001 – 2002 opened the PDS and extended subsidies for private dental services to all adults. It aimed to increase equity by improving adults' access to oral health care and reducing cost barriers. The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of the reform on the utilization of publicly funded and private dental services, numbers and distribution of personnel and costs in 2000 and in 2004, before and after the oral health care reform. An evaluation was made of how the health political goals of the reform: integrating oral health care into general health care, improving adults' access to care and lowering cost barriers had been fulfilled during the study period.
National registers were used as data sources for the study. Use of dental services, personnel resources and costs in 2000 (before the reform) and in 2004 (after the reform) were compared.
In 2000, when access to publicly subsidised dental services was restricted to those born in 1956 or later, every third adult used the PDS or subsidised private services. By 2004, when subsidies had been extended to the whole adult population, this increased to almost every second adult. The PDS reported having seen 118 076 more adult patients in 2004 than in 2000. The private sector had the same number of patients but 542 656 of them had not previously been entitled to partial reimbursement of fees.
The use of both public and subsidised private services increased most in big cities and urban municipalities where access to the PDS had been poor and the number of private practitioners was high. The PDS employed more dentists (6.5%) and the number of private practitioners fell by 6.9%. The total dental care expenditure (PDS plus private) increased by 21% during the study period. Private patients who had previously not been entitled to reimbursements seemed to gain most from the reform.
The results of this study indicate that implementation of a substantial reform, that changes the traditionally defined tasks of the public and private sectors in an established oral health care provision system, proceeds slowly, is expensive and probably requires more stringent steering than was the case in Finland 2001 – 2004. However, the equity and fairness of the oral health care provision system improved and access to services and cost-sharing improved slightly.
In Bangladesh, widespread dissatisfaction with government health services did not improve during the Health and Population Sector Programme (HPSP) reforms from 1998-2003. A 2003 national household survey documented public and health service users' views and experience. Attitudes and behaviour of health workers are central to quality of health services. To investigate whether the views of health workers influenced the reforms, we surveyed local health workers and held evidence-based discussions with local service managers and professional bodies.
Some 1866 government health workers in facilities serving the household survey clusters completed a questionnaire about their views, experience, and problems as workers. Field teams discussed the findings from the household and health workers' surveys with local health service managers in five upazilas (administrative sub-districts) and with the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) and Bangladesh Nurses Association (BNA).
Nearly one half of the health workers (45%) reported difficulties fulfilling their duties, especially doctors, women, and younger workers. They cited inadequate supplies and infrastructure, bad behaviour of patients, and administrative problems. Many, especially doctors (74%), considered they were badly treated as employees. Nearly all said lack of medicines in government facilities was due to inadequate supply, not improved during the HPSP. Two thirds of doctors and nurses complained of bad behaviour of patients. A quarter of respondents thought quality of service had improved as a result of the HPSP.
Local service managers and the BMA and BNA accepted patients had negative views and experiences, blaming inadequate resources, high patient loads, and patients' unrealistic expectations. They said doctors and nurses were demotivated by poor working conditions, unfair treatment, and lack of career progression; private and unqualified practitioners sought to please patients instead of giving medically appropriate care. The BMA considered it would be dangerous to attempt to train and register unqualified practitioners.
The continuing dissatisfaction of health workers may have undermined the effectiveness of the HPSP. Presenting the views of the public and service users to health managers helped to focus discussions about quality of services. It is important to involve health workers in health services reforms.
Following a situation appraisal in 2001, a six year mental health reform programme (Egymen) 2002-7 was initiated by an Egyptian-Finnish bilateral aid project at the request of a former Egyptian minister of health, and the work was incorporated directly into the Ministry of Health and Population from 2007 onwards. This paper describes the aims, methodology and implementation of the mental health reforms and mental health policy in Egypt 2002-2009.
A multi-faceted and comprehensive programme which combined situation appraisal to inform planning; establishment of a health sector system for coordination, supervision and training of each level (national, governorate, district and primary care); development workshops; production of toolkits, development of guidelines and standards; encouragement of intersectoral liaison at each level; integration of mental health into health management systems; and dedicated efforts to improve forensic services, rehabilitation services, and child psychiatry services.
The project has achieved detailed situation appraisal, epidemiological needs assessment, inclusion of mental health into the health sector reform plans, and into the National Package of Essential Health Interventions, mental health masterplan (policy guidelines) to accompany the general health policy, updated Egyptian mental health legislation, Code of Practice, adaptation of the WHO primary care guidelines, primary care training, construction of a quality system of roles and responsibilities, availability of medicines at primary care level, public education about mental health, and a research programme to inform future developments. Intersectoral liaison with education, social welfare, police and prisons at national level is underway, but has not yet been established for governorate and district levels, nor mental health training for police, prison staff and teachers.
The bilateral collaboration programme initiated a reform programme which has been sustained beyond the end of the funding. The project has demonstrated the importance of using a multi-faceted and comprehensive programme to promote sustainable system change, key elements of which include a focus on the use of rapid appropriate treatment at primary care level, strengthening the referral system, interministerial and intersectoral liaison, rehabilitation, and media work to mobilize community engagement.
The Quebec health care system, founded in 1970 as a public, single payer, state run system had by 2004 reached a turning point. Rising costs, working in silos, difficulty accessing physicians, increased waiting time for diagnostic imaging and surgical intervention led policy makers and politicians to propose a new model for the organisation and delivery of care.
Based on populational responsibility and the clear distinction between a community primary care and specialised services a new model was proposed to develop integrated health networks. The 7.2 million population of Quebec was divided into 95 territories. 95 Health and social service centres were created by merging a community hospital, rehab centre, long-term care centres, home care and primary care services into a single institution with a new CEO and board of directors. These new networks received the mandate to manage the health and well being of their population, to manage the utilisation of services by their population and to manage all primary care services on their territory.
The implementation of a chronic care model, the development of primary care multidisciplinary teams, empowering the population and performance management, are the key elements of Montreal's vision in implementing the Reform.
After three years of operation the results are promising.
chronic care model; integrated health care networks; Canada
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) aims to provide affordable health insurance and expanded health care coverage for some 32 million Americans. The PPACA makes provisions for using technology, evidence-based treatments, and integrated, patient-centered care to modernize the delivery of health care services. These changes are designed to ensure effectiveness, efficiency, and cost-savings within the health care system.
To gauge the addiction treatment field’s readiness for health reform, the authors developed a Health Reform Readiness Index (HRRI) survey for addiction treatment agencies. Addiction treatment administrators and providers from around the United States completed the survey located on the http://www.niatx.net website. Respondents self-assessed their agencies based on 13 conditions pertinent to health reform readiness, and received a confidential score and instant feedback.
On a scale of “Needs to Begin,” “Early Stages,” “On the Way,” and “Advanced,” the mean scores for respondents (n = 276) ranked in the Early Stages of health reform preparation for 11 of 13 conditions. Of greater concern was that organizations with budgets of < $5 million (n = 193) were less likely than those with budgets > $5 million to have information technology (patient records, patient health technology, and administrative information technology), evidence-based treatments, quality management systems, a continuum of care, or a board of directors informed about PPACA.
The findings of the HRRI indicate that the addiction field, and in particular smaller organizations, have much to do to prepare for a future environment that has greater expectations for information technology use, a credentialed workforce, accountability for patient care, and an integrated continuum of care.
Health care reform; Addiction treatment; Substance use disorder treatment; SUD; Behavioral health; Organizational change; Care delivery; Health reform readiness index
The government of Morocco approved two reforms in 2005 to expand health insurance coverage. The first is a payroll-based mandatory health insurance plan for public-and formal private–sector employees to extend coverage from the current 16 percent of the population to 30 percent. The second creates a publicly financed fund to cover services for the poor. Both reforms aim to improve access to high-quality care and reduce disparities in access and financing between income groups and between rural and urban dwellers. In this paper we analyze these reforms: the pre-reform debate, benefits covered, financing, administration, and oversight. We also examine prospects and future challenges for implementing the reforms.
In the last decade the US federal government proposed a transformation vision of mental health service delivery; patient-centered, evidence-based and recovery oriented treatment models. Health care reform brings additional expectations for innovation in mental/substance use service delivery, particularly the idea of creating systems where physical health, mental health and substance use treatment is fully integrated. Psychiatric nurses, as one of the four core US mental health professions, have the potential to play a significant role in the both the transformation initiative and health care reform vision. However, psychiatric nurses, particularly advanced practice psychiatric nurses, are an untapped resource due in part to significant state regulatory barriers that limit their scope of practice in many states. The purpose of this paper is to document what is currently known about advanced practice psychiatric nurses and discuss policy implications for tapping into the strengths of this workforce. Strategies for facilitating utilization of advanced practice psychiatric nurses discussed.
advanced nursing practice; nursing/health care workforce issues; health care quality
The medical component of workers' compensation programs-now costing over $24 billion annually-and the rest of the nation's medical care system are linked. They share the same patients and providers. They provide similar benefits and services. And they struggle over who should pay for what. Clearly, health care reform and restructuring will have a major impact on the operation and expenditures of the workers' compensation system. For a brief period, during the 1994 national health care reform debate, these two systems were part of the same federal policy development and legislative process. With comprehensive health care reform no longer on the horizon, states now are tackling both workers' compensation and medical system reforms on their own. This paper reviews the major issues federal and state policy makers face as they consider reforms affecting the relationship between workers' compensation and traditional health insurance. What is the relationship of the workers' compensation cost crisis to that in general health care? What strategies are being considered by states involved in reforming the medical component of workers compensation? What are the major policy implications of these strategies?
Rather than improving efficiency, the reforms imposed on the NHS have increased bureaucracy, reduced patient choice, limited the range of core services, and led to inequity of treatment. In this paper I examine how the medical profession might help to solve these problems. Priorities must be set for health care since no government can afford all the possibilities offered by medical science. It is essential to forge a consensus of patients, carers, professionals, the public, and government if a system of priorities is to be equitable and just. We also need to be able to measure quality of outcome in health care. This requires consensus on what is the desired outcome and the development of appropriate guidelines, audit, and performance review. This is primarily a task for the health professions supported by management and by adequate investment. Basically, the government must reinstate the three traditional values of the NHS--equity, consensus, and regard for representative professional advice.
Human resources are the most important assets of any health system, and health workforce problems have for decades limited the efficiency and quality of Latin America health systems. World Bank-led reforms aimed at increasing equity, efficiency, quality of care and user satisfaction did not attempt to resolve the human resources problems that had been identified in multiple health sector assessments. However, the two most important reform policies – decentralization and privatization – have had a negative impact on the conditions of employment and prompted opposition from organized professionals and unions. In several countries of the region, the workforce became the most important obstacle to successful reform.
This article is based on fieldwork and a review of the literature. It discusses the reasons that led health workers to oppose reform; the institutional and legal constraints to implementing reform as originally designed; the mismatch between the types of personnel needed for reform and the availability of professionals; the deficiencies of the reform implementation process; and the regulatory weaknesses of the region.
The discussion presents workforce strategies that the reforms could have included to achieve the intended goals, and the need to take into account the values and political realities of the countries. The authors suggest that autochthonous solutions are more likely to succeed than solutions imported from the outside.
Equity is an important criterion in evaluating health system performance. Developing a framework for equitable and effective resource allocation for health depends upon knowledge of service providers and their location in relation to the population they should serve. The last available map of health service providers in Kenya was developed in 1959. We have built a health service provider database from a variety of traditional government and opportunistic non-government sources and positioned spatially these facilities using global positioning systems, hand-drawn maps, topographical maps and other sources. Of 6674 identified service providers 3355 (50%) were private sector, employer-provided or specialist facilities and only 39% were registered in the Kenyan Ministry of Health database during 2001. Of 3319 public service facilities supported by the Ministry of Health, missions, not-for-profit organizations and local authorities, 84% were registered on a Ministry of Health database and we were able to acquire co-ordinates for 92% of these. The ratio of public health services to population changed from 1:26,000 in 1959 to 1:9,300 in 1999-2002.
There were 82% of the population within 5km of a public health facility and resident in 20% of the country. Our efforts to recreate a comprehensive, spatially defined list of health service providers has identified a number of weaknesses in existing national health management information systems which with an increased commitment and minimal costs can be redressed. This will enable geographic information systems to exploit more fully facility-based morbidity data, population distribution and health access models to target resources and monitor the ability of health sector reforms to achieve equity in service provision.
health management information systems; geographic information systems; health reform; health resource allocation; equity; access; health services; Kenya
The health and economic impact of mental and behavioural disorders (MBD) is wide-ranging, long-lasting and large. Unfortunately, unlike in developed countries where studies on the economic burden of MBD exist, there is a dearth of such studies in the African Region of the World Health Organization. Yet, a great need for such information exists for use in sensitizing policy-makers in governments and civil society about the magnitude and complexity of the economic burden of MBD. The purpose of this study was to answer the following question: From the societal perspective (specifically the families and the Ministry of Health), what is the total cost of MBD patients admitted to various public hospitals in Kenya?
Drawing information from various secondary sources, this study used standard cost-of-illness methods to estimate: (a) the direct costs, i.e. those borne by the health care system and the family in directly addressing the problem of MBD; and (b) the indirect costs, i.e. loss of productivity caused by MBD, which is borne by the individual, the family or the employer. The study was based on Kenyan public hospitals, either dedicated to care of MBD patients or with a MBD ward.
The study revealed that: (i) in the financial year 1998/99, the Kenyan economy lost approximately US$13,350,840 due to institutionalized MBD patients; (ii) the total economic cost of MBD per admission was US$2,351; (iii) the unit cost of operating and organizing psychiatric services per admission was US$1,848; (iv) the out-of-pocket expenses borne by patients and their families per admission was US$51; and (v) the productivity loss per admission was US$453.
There is an urgent need for research in all African countries to determine: national-level epidemiological burden of MBD, measured in terms of the prevalence, incidence, mortality, and, probably, the disability-adjusted life-years lost; and the economic burden of MBD, broken down by different productive and social sectors and occupations of patients and relatives.
Reforms involving the National Health Service (NHS) have greatly reduced the length of waiting lists in the United Kingdom. The key to the reductions was additional funding from the government, the chief executive of the NHS said during a recent visit to Ottawa. Decreasing the size of the waiting lists created intense stress for NHS personnel, who had to work longer hours, and it also lowered demand for private-sector care.
This article considers some of the effects of health sector reform on human resources for health (HRH) in developing countries and countries in transition by examining the effect of fiscal reform and the introduction of decentralisation and market mechanisms to the health sector.
Fiscal reform results in pressure to measure the staff outputs of the health sector. Financial decentralisation often leads to hospitals becoming "corporatised" institutions, operating with business principles but remaining in the public sector. The introduction of market mechanisms often involves the formation of an internal market within the health sector and market testing of different functions with the private sector. This has immediate implications for the employment of health workers in the public sector, because the public sector may reduce its workforce if services are purchased from other sectors or may introduce more short-term and temporary employment contracts.
Decentralisation of budgets and administrative functions can affect the health sector, often in negative ways, by reducing resources available and confusing lines of accountability for health workers. Governance and regulation of health care, when delivered by both public and private providers, require new systems of regulation.
The increase in private sector provision has led health workers to move to the private sector. For those remaining in the public sector, there are often worsening working conditions, a lack of employment security and dismantling of collective bargaining agreements.
Human resource development is gradually being recognised as crucial to future reforms and the formulation of health policy. New information systems at local and regional level will be needed to collect data on human resources. New employment arrangements, strengthening organisational culture, training and continuing education will also be needed.
It is widely recognized that the dramatic increase in health care costs in the United States has not led to a corresponding improvement in the health care experience of patients or the clinical outcomes of medical care. In no area of medicine is this more true than in the area of spine related disorders (SRDs). Costs of medical care for SRDs have skyrocketed in recent years. Despite this, there is no evidence of improvement in the quality of this care. In fact, disability related to SRDs is on the rise. We argue that one of the key solutions to this is for the health care system to have a group of practitioners who are trained to function as primary care practitioners for the spine. We explain the reasons we think a primary spine care practitioner would be beneficial to patients, the health care system and society, some of the obstacles that will need to be overcome in establishing a primary spine care specialty and the ways in which these obstacles can be overcome.
Low Back Pain; Neck Pain; Health Care Reform; Primary Care; Health Policy
Since the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, reform activities have targeted various spheres, including the health sector. Several international aid and UN organizations have been involved, as well as local and international non-governmental organizations, with considerable financial and technical investments. Although important achievements have been made, it is not evident that the quality of care has improved or that the most pressing health needs have been addressed, even before the second Palestinian Uprising that began in September 2000. The crisis of the Israeli re-invasion of Palestinian-controlled towns and villages since April 2002 and the attendant collapse of state structures and services have raised the problems to critical levels. This paper attempts to analyze some of the obstacles that have faced reform efforts. In our assessment, those include: ongoing conflict, frail Palestinian quasi-state structures and institutions, multiple and at times inappropriate donor policies and practices in the health sector, and a policy vacuum characterized by the absence of internal Palestinian debate on the type and direction of reform the country needs to take. In the face of all these considerations, it is important that reform efforts be flexible and consider realistically the political and economic contexts of the health system, rather than focus on mere narrow technical, managerial and financial solutions imported from the outside.
health sector reform; conflict; Occupied Palestinian Territories
Among the noncommunicable diseases, mental ill-health represents the major threat to social and economic progress because it impacts so powerfully on the most critical decades of life. Consequently, mental health reform is increasingly recognized as an urgent priority worldwide. This brings into sharp focus the role of evidence, and more specifically the Cochrane paradigm, in influencing decisions about health system reform. Cochrane clearly still has great value, especially in evidence-based medicine, where the focus is the evaluation of individual treatments. However, it cannot be allowed to be a dominant influence in evidence-based health care (EBHC) policy decisions for health system reform, unless it is modernized or complemented. Health services reform should definitely be as evidence-based as possible; however, the jury should consider its verdict on key reform proposals based on the balance of probabilities and informed by the best “available” evidence from all sources, not only randomized clinical trials, which in many domains may be never be feasible. This is particularly the case when reform is urgent, and the status quo has manifestly failed. So on the one hand, the evidence-based paradigm must not be misused to stifle or paralyze urgent reform. Alternatively, there is a real risk that, if we do not improve the sophistication of EBHC, the whole paradigm will be sidelined and reform will remain reactive, impulsive, and desultory. The recent Cochrane review on early intervention in psychosis provides an opportunity to consider these issues and their wider significance.
early intervention; evidence-based medicine; mental health; psychosis
America's health care system is characterized by rising costs, increasing numbers of Americans who lack health insurance coverage, and poor quality of health care delivery. The convergence of these factors is adversely affecting not only the health of Americans but also the ability of businesses to compete successfully in a global marketplace. AARP and other nonprofit organizations are collaborating with the private sector to have more people covered by health insurance and to educate them to make behavioral choices that prevent chronic disease and ultimately lower costs.
Meaningful health reform in the United States must improve the health of the population while lowering costs. In an effort to provide a framework for doing so, the Institute of Health Care Improvement created the triple aim, which encompasses the goals of (1) improving individual health and experience with the health care system, (2) improving population health, and (3) decreasing the rate of per capita health care costs. Current reform efforts have focused on the development of Patient-Centered Medical Homes (an innovative team-based model of care that facilitates a partnership between the patient’s personal physician coordinating care throughout a patient’s lifetime to maximize health outcomes), but these relatively narrow efforts are focused on office practice and payment methods and are not generally oriented toward community needs. We sought to apply design research in assessing a community opportunity to apply the triple aim as a strategy to transform health care delivery. Mixed methodology provides greater insight into the unexpressed health needs of individuals and into the creation of delivery systems more likely to achieve the triple aim. In a small, midwestern town, a mixed methods approach was used to assess community health needs to facilitate design and implementation of care delivery systems. The research findings suggest that health system design concepts should focus on the creation of health, not health care; foster simplicity; create nurturing relationships; eliminate user fear; and contain costs. These observations can be helpful to health care professionals who are developing new methods of care delivery and policymakers and payers contemplating new payment systems to achieve the goals of the triple aim.
Like other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada is attempting to contain the overall costs of health care by concentrating on the reform of health care delivery, not health care financing. Systems like Canada's, with predominantly public financing and mainly private delivery, have become increasingly popular around the world. Like other nations, Canada has implemented reforms to make the most of the health care dollars we do have. In this article, Susan MacPhee examines common approaches to health care reform.
Over the past decade there is a trend of fast development in the private hospital sector in Ethiopia. This important component of the health care system has received policy attention and federal government is a promoter for private health care. Yet lack of basic data on the factors affecting the growth of private health care provision in the country and no studies are available on this issue in Ethiopia. The aim of this study is to get some preliminary insights on the factors affecting the growth and development of private hospital sector in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with perspective of provider.
A hospital based qualitative study was conducted in 25 for-profit hospitals in Addis Ababa using key informant in-depth interviews and secondary data was collected from Federal Ministry of Health and Addis Ababa City Health Administration and private hospital providers.
The findings of the study suggest that private hospital sector is expanding significantly in recent years in Ethiopia. The active role of government is a catalyst for the growth of private facilities in the country. Factors outside the health are growing disposable income, improvements in literacy, road networks, population growth and long standing diseases, all contribute to the trend. But private providers are facing many problems, like availability of trained manpower, escalation of costs, availability and quality of drugs and financing mechanisms.
Private hospital sector is expanding in Ethiopia. But private providers are vulnerable to imperfections in the existing market structure. Government and professional bodies need to make a concerted effort to address these issues and design appropriate strategies to promote and regulate this sector effectively.
Private hospital sector; Development; Providers
We surveyed residents and fellows at the University of Louisville School of Medicine (N = 600) to (1) explore their perceptions and knowledge of issues related to health care business and health care reforms, and (2) seek their input on what instructional content concerning health care business and health care reform they would like to receive and what instruction venue they would prefer. We will use the findings to make decisions about curriculum content and delivery.
All residents were invited to complete a 4-part, web-based survey that included questions on demographics, attitudes, and perceptions; a baseline-knowledge quiz about health care costs; and 2 open-ended questions about what they wanted to learn and how they preferred to be taught.
The survey response rate was 24%. Residents' agreement was stronger for statements relating to the role of physicians as “gatekeepers,” patient-centered care, and the value of learning to work as a team than it was for statements about the benefits of government intervention in health care. International medical graduates, when compared with US medical graduates, had statistically significant differences in perceptions (P ≤ .004) on 3 questions related to government impact on health care. There was a slight decrease in overall knowledge about health care cost issues by residents in later postgraduate years.
Residents are aware of gaps in their knowledge on business aspects of health care and health care reform. Their narrative responses identified coding and billing, legal issues, and comparative health systems as topics of interest, and the best venues for teaching included grand rounds and noon conferences. Residents indicated a preference for brief, highly focused, interactive sessions with knowledgeable guest speakers.
Despite the political and economic reforms that have swept Eastern Europe in the past 5 years, there has been little change in Poland's health care system. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has targeted preventive care as a priority, yet the enactment of legislation to meet this goal has been slow. The process of reform has been hindered by political stagnation, economic crisis, and a lack of delineation of responsibility for implementing the reforms. Despite the delays in reform, recent developments indicate that a realistic, sustainable restructuring of the health care system is possible, with a focus on preventive services. Recent proposals for change have centered on applying national goals to limited geographic areas, with both local and international support. Regional pilot projects to restructure health care delivery at a community level, local health education and disease prevention initiatives, and a national training program for primary care and family physicians and nurses are being planned. Through regionalization, an increase in responsibility for both the physician and the patient, and redefinition of primary health care and the role of family physicians, isolated local movements and pilot projects have shown promise in achieving these goals, even under the current budgetary constraints.
Increased access to health care, including addiction treatment, has long been a goal of health reform in the U.S. An unanswered question is whether reform will change the way people get to addiction treatment; when treatment is easily accessible, do individuals self-refer, or do they still enter treatment via ultimatums, and if so, from which sources? To begin examining this, we used a single case study of a U.S. health plan that provides access similar to that called for in health reform.
Using a case study method of data from studies conducted in a large, private non-profit, integrated managed care health plan which includes addiction services, we examined the prevalence and source of ultimatums to enter treatment, and the characteristics of those receiving them. The plan is highly representative of changes to U.S. health care and other countries due to health reform.
Many individuals entering addiction treatment had received an ultimatum stemming from employment, legal, medical, and family sources. Having more employment problems, an occupation with public safety concerns, being older, male, and ethnicity predicted an employment ultimatum. Higher legal problem severity predicted a legal ultimatum. More men (and younger people) had family ultimatums, and more women (and older people) had medical ultimatums. Being younger, male, married, having higher employment and family problem severity, and being drug or combined drug/alcohol dependent rather than dependent on alcohol-only predicted an ultimatum from one’s family. On the whole, an ultimatum from one source was not related to having one from another source. Those most likely to receive ultimatums from multiple sources were women, those separated/divorced, and those having higher psychiatric and legal problem severity.
Even in an insured population with good access to addiction treatment, individuals often receive ultimatums to enter treatment rather than being self-referred. Understanding the treatment entry process, and how it is affected by health care systems, could benefit from international and other comparative research.
alcohol and drug treatment systems; treatment entry; coercion