The Iranian healthcare system is primarily an insurance based system. This structure has an important influence on the efficiency and equity of the provision of healthcare in Iran. This paper reviews the history of the Iranian healthcare system and the impact of the Iranian health insurance system on healthcare performance based on the results of interviews with key opinion leaders and empirical evidence.
This review uses mixed methods: a systematic literature review of electronic databases supplemented by hand searching of books and journals including Government publications and other grey literature. The issues identified were explored through a series of semi-structured interviews with key informants from within the Iranian healthcare system. The interviews were recorded transcribed, coded, classified, and analysed thematically. Empirical evidence was also sought to support or contradict the views expressed in the interviews.
Sixteen interviews with key informants were conducted and presented anonymously. The interviewees raised many issues which were summarised into five main issues: increasing health expenditures, lack of systematic health technology assessment, very limited financial resources, challenging management and regulation, and uncovered population.
A wide range of issues have affected the efficiency, quality and equity of the services provided by the Iranian healthcare system. The initial and most important step toward improving the efficiency, equity and quality of the health insurance system is to focus on evidence-based policy making to generate feasible, reasonable and comprehensive reforms.
Health; Insurance; Strategy; Iran
The aim of this study was to determine the impact of important social and technological trends on health care delivery, in the context of developing “Iran’s Health System Reform Plan by 2025”.
A detailed review of the national and international literature was done to identify the main trends affecting health system. To collect the experts’ opinions about important trends and their impact on health care delivery, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and semi-structured in-depth interviews techniques were used. The study was based on the STEEP model. Final results were approved in an expert’s panel session.
The important social and technological trends, affecting health system in Iran in the next 15 years are demographic transition, epidemiologic transition, increasing bio-environmental pollution, increasing slums, increasing private sector partnership in health care delivery, moving toward knowledge-based society, development of information and communication technology, increasing use of high technologies in health system, and development of traditional and alternative medicine. The opportunities and threats resulting from the above mentioned trends were also assessed in this study.
Increasing healthcare cost due to some trends like demographic and epidemiologic transition and uncontrolled increase in using new technologies in health care is one of the most important threats that the health system will be facing. The opportunities that advancement in technology and moving toward knowledge-based society create are important and should not be ignored.
Trends; STEEP analysis; Health care reform; Iran
Medical tourism is rapidly becoming a worldwide, multibillion-dollar industry. Iran has a high potential for this industry. The purpose of this study was to examine the medical tourism cluster, using Diamond Analysis tool.
Materials and Methods:
This study is a descriptive, analytical and qualitative one. Thirty professionals and researchers in this field were interviewed and official documents belonging to the Health ministry as well as tourism organization and finally related literature were examined. The data was analyzed using content analysis method.
Positive and negative parts of the medical tourism industry of Iran were determined according to diamond of advantage.
The strategic issues were identified and a number of possible solutions for addressing them were recommended. More and effective public-private participations, aggressive marketing, improving infrastructures, and international accreditation of health care facilities and human resources development could improve medical tourism industry in the country.
Cluster study; diamond analysis; iran; medical tourism
Interest in the area of medical socio-economics has largely come about due to the proliferation of social welfare programs and advances in the distribution of health services in the private sector of the economy. The increasing role of our government has also been a stimulus. With the advent of new techniques for the financing of care, a large volume of institutional literature has appeared delving into issues which range from the role of the medical profession in the evaluation of quality of medical care to the measurement of demand for and prepayment of numerous types of health care services. Since the area of medical socio-economics is not considered “pure” enough to be categorized as a discipline, the range of periodicals, government and non-government publications and books, in which data are found, is vast. This report will briefly describe some of the more important sources of data in the area of medical socio-economics. Major emphasis is given to the literature which provides current statistical data on the operational aspects of public and private programs providing health care services, and ancillary activities which affect the market for health care activities. Leading publications of governmental and other community agencies are cited to illustrate the range of materials available to the public and to the medical profession.
Limited evidence about mental health finances in low and middle-income countries is a key challenge to mental health care policy initiatives. This study aimed to map mental health finances in Ghana, Uganda, India (Kerala state), Sri Lanka and Lao PDR focusing on how much money is available for mental health, how it is spent, and how this impacts mental health services.
A researcher in each region reviewed public mental health-related budgets and interviewed key informants on government mental health financing. A total of 43 key informant interviews were conducted. Quantitative data was analyzed in an excel matrix using descriptive statistics. Key informant interviews were coded a priori against research questions.
National ring-fenced budgets for mental health as a percentage of national health spending for 2007-08 is 1.7% in Sri Lanka, 3.7% in Ghana, 2.0% in Kerala (India) and 6.6% in Uganda. Budgets were not available in Lao PDR. The majority of ring-fenced budgets (76% to 100%) is spent on psychiatric hospitals. Mental health spending could not be tracked beyond the psychiatric hospital level due to limited information at the health centre and community levels.
Mental health budget information should be tracked and made publically accessible. Governments can adapt WHO AIMS indicators for reviewing national mental health finances. Funding allocations work more effectively through decentralization. Mental health financing should reflect new ideas emerging from community based practice in LMICs.
Empirical evidence demonstrates that the Thai Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS) has improved equity of health financing and provided a relatively high level of financial risk protection. Several UCS design features contribute to these outcomes: a tax-financed scheme, a comprehensive benefit package and gradual extension of coverage to illnesses that can lead to catastrophic household costs, and capacity of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) to mobilise adequate resources. This study assesses the policy processes related to making decisions on these features.
The study employs qualitative methods including reviews of relevant documents, in-depth interviews of 25 key informants, and triangulation amongst information sources.
Continued political and financial commitments to the UCS, despite political rivalry, played a key role. The Thai Rak Thai (TRT)-led coalition government introduced UCS; staying in power 8 of the 11 years between 2001 and 2011 was long enough to nurture and strengthen the UCS and overcome resistance from various opponents. Prime Minister Surayud’s government, replacing the ousted TRT government, introduced universal renal replacement therapy, which deepened financial risk protection.
Commitment to their manifesto and fiscal capacity pushed the TRT to adopt a general tax-financed universal scheme; collecting premiums from people engaged in the informal sector was neither politically palatable nor technically feasible. The relatively stable tenure of NHSO Secretary Generals and the chairs of the Financing and the Benefit Package subcommittees provided a platform for continued deepening of financial risk protection. NHSO exerted monopsonistic purchasing power to control prices, resulting in greater patient access and better systems efficiency than might have been the case with a different design.
The approach of proposing an annual per capita budget changed the conventional line-item programme budgeting system by basing negotiations between the Bureau of Budget, the NHSO and other stakeholders on evidence of service utilization and unit costs.
Future success of Thai UCS requires coverage of effective interventions that address primary and secondary prevention of non-communicable diseases and long-term care policies in view of epidemiologic and demographic transitions. Lessons for other countries include the importance of continued political support, evidence informed decisions, and a capable purchaser organization.
Continued political support; Financial risk protection; Tax-financed universal scheme; Thailand; Universal health coverage
Changes in third party financing, whether public or private, are linked to a household's ability to access dental care. By removing costs at point of purchase, changes in financing influence the need to reach into one's pocket, thus facilitating or limiting access. This study asks: How have historical changes in dental care financing influenced household out-of-pocket expenditures for dental care in Canada?
This is a mixed methods study, comprised of an historical review of Canada's dental care market and an econometric analysis of household out-of-pocket expenditures for dental care.
We demonstrate that changes in financing have important implications for out-of-pocket expenditures: with more financing come drops in the amount a household has to spend, and with less financing come increases. Low- and middle-income households appear to be most sensitive to changes in financing.
Alleviating the price barrier to care is a fundamental part of improving equity in dental care in Canada. How people have historically spent money on dental care highlights important gaps in Canadian dental care policy.
Fireworks are commonly used in local and national celebrations. The aim of this study is to explore the extent, nature and hospital costs of injuries related to the Persian Wednesday Eve festival in Iran.
Data for injuries caused by fireworks during the 2009 Persian Wednesday Eve festival were collected from the national Ministry of Health database. Injuries were divided into nine groups and the average and total hospital costs were estimated for each group. The cost of care for patients with burns was estimated by reviewing a sample of 100 patients randomly selected from a large burn center in Tehran. Other costs were estimated by conducting semi structured interviews with expert managers at two large government hospitals.
1817 people were injured by fireworks during the 2009 Wednesday Eve festival. The most frequently injured sites were the hand (43.3%), eye (24.5%) and face (13.2%), and the most common types of injury were burns (39.9%), contusions/abrasions (24.6%) and lacerations (12.7%). The mean length of hospital stay was 8.15 days for patients with burns, 10.7 days for those with amputations, and 3 days for those with other types of injury. The total hospital cost of injuries was US$ 284 000 and the average cost per injury was US$ 156. The total hospital cost of patients with amputations was US$ 48 598. Most of the costs were related to burns (56.6%) followed by amputations (12.2%).
Injuries related to the Persian Wednesday Eve festival are common and lead to extensive morbidity and medical costs.
Fireworks; Chaharshanbe Soori Injury; Health care costs; Injury prevention
Chile's long term social policy has produced very impressive outcomes in general health indicators, with a national health service established as early as 1952. During the years of the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-89) public health institutions were greatly affected, with sharp diminution in financing which affected investment and salaries. The democratic government initiated in 1990 faced a difficult situation, with underpaid staff and decrepit hospitals. The ministry took immediate action to improve salaries and start an ambitious health sector reform including investment in infrastructure, technology, and modern management. Decentralisation and autonomy, changes in payment for service mechanisms, and a public-private mix are the main objectives of this reform, keeping the public role as predominant in the proposed structure. This process has been affected by union unrest and public opinion dissatisfaction, which tend to present obstacles to progress in this complicated issue.
To show the extent to which social and health care services are integrated across European home care systems.
Introduction and theory
Home care incorporates several types of services. It is part of both the social system and health care system. Different disciplines/providers from different organisational settings, which may be financed differently, provide care at the clients' home. Furthermore, client's access to care may be organised in various ways. A European wide study (EURHOMAP) is used to look at these aspects in several countries.
A systematic literature review and consultations with experts across Europe resulted in a set of consensus-based indicators. Major topics are: provision, financing and regulation. Data were collected in 31 countries in 2008–2009. To enhance comparability, a panel of key informants in each country answered a set of questions related to four vignettes about people in need of home care.
Results and conclusion
Results will be presented for some countries which form a contrast in the extent of service delivery and integration in home care. The delivery, needs assessment, financing and policy and regulation of each will be discussed. There are several levels at which integration can occur: regulation, financing, access and service delivery. Whether and at which level integration occurs varies from country to country.
home care; integrated care; Europe
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a rapidly developing country composed of a multinational population with varying educational backgrounds, religious beliefs, and cultural practices, which pose a challenge for population-based public health strategies. A number of public health issues significantly contribute to morbidity and mortality in the UAE. This article summarises the findings of a panel of medical and public health specialists from UAE University and various government health agencies commissioned to report on the health status of the UAE population.
A systematic literature search was conducted to retrieve peer-reviewed articles on health in the UAE, and unpublished data were provided by government health authorities and local hospitals.
The panel reviewed and evaluated all available evidence to list and rank (1=highest priority) the top four main public health issues: 1) Cardiovascular disease accounted for more than 25% of deaths in 2010; 2) Injury caused 17% of mortality for all age groups in 2010; 3) Cancer accounted for 10% of all deaths in 2010, and the incidence of all cancers is projected to double by 2020; and 4) Respiratory disorders were the second most common non-fatal condition in 2010.
The major public health challenges posed by certain personal (e.g. ethnicity, family history), lifestyle, occupational, and environmental factors associated with the development of chronic disease are not isolated to the UAE; rather, they form part of a global health problem, which requires international collaboration and action. Future research should focus on population-based public health interventions that target the factors associated with the development of various chronic diseases.
globalisation of public health; non-communicable disease; United Arab Emirates
The burden of disease due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is rising in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and funding for global health is increasingly limited. As a large contributor of development assistance for health, the US government has the potential to influence overall trends in NCDs. Results-based financing (RBF) has been proposed as a strategy to increase aid effectiveness and efficiency through incentives for positive performance and results in health programs, but its potential for addressing NCDs has not been explored.
Qualitative methods including literature review and key informant interviews were used to identify promising RBF mechanisms for addressing NCDs in resource-limited settings. Eight key informants identified by area of expertise participated in semi-structured interviews.
The majority of RBF schemes to date have been applied to maternal and child health. Evidence from existing RBF programs suggests that RBF principles can be applied to health programs for NCDs. Several options were identified for US involvement with RBF for NCDs.
There is potential for the US to have a significant impact on NCDs in LMICs through a comprehensive RBF strategy for global health. RBF mechanisms should be tested for use in NCD programs through pilot programs incorporating robust impact evaluations.
Non-communicable diseases; Results-based financing; Pay-for-performance; Performance incentives; Health aid
In this overview various aspects concerning internal medicine in the Netherlands are discussed. Special attention is given to training, which is likely to be increased from 5 to 6 years in the near future. Current problems in internal medicine are mostly related to under-funding of health care and include unemployment (which necessitates reduction of training facilities), disagreement with the government about finances and an argument with the sickness funds concerning professional responsibility and the termination of free enterprise. Also the issue of task definition of the general internist is reviewed. Funding of research used to be mainly the task of the government. Problems with the national economy, however, have resulted in a reduction of the governmental contribution. Private research foundations related to patients' associations, (pharmaceutical) companies and non-university hospitals have increased in importance.
In the transition from a planned economy to a market-oriented economy, China’s state funding for health care declined and traditional coverage plans collapsed, leaving China’s poor exposed to potentially ruinous health care costs. In reforming health care for the 21st century, equity in health care financing has become a major policy goal. To assess progress towards this goal, this paper examines the equity characteristics of health care financing in a province of northwestern China, comparing the equity performance between urban and rural areas at two different points in time.
Analysis of whether health care financing contributions were progressive according to income were made using the Kakwani index for each of the four health care financing channels of general taxes, public and private health insurance, and out-of-pocket payments. Two rounds of surveys were conducted, the first in 2003 (13,619 individuals in 3946 households) and the second in 2008 (12,973 individuals in 3958 households). Household socio-economic, health care payment, and utilization information were recorded in household interviews.
Low-income households have undertaken a larger share of the health care financing burden in recent years, reflected by negative Kakwani indices, which indicate a regressive system. We found that the indices for general taxation were −0.0024 (urban) and −0.0281 (rural) in 2002, and −0.0177 (urban) and −0.0097 (rural) in 2007. Public health insurance presented different financing distributions in urban and rural areas (urban: 0.0742 in 2002, 0.0661 in 2007; rural: –0.0615 in 2002,–0.1436 in 2007.). Out-of-pocket payments were progressive but not equitable. Public health insurance coverage has expanded but financing equity has decreased.
Health care financing policies in China need ongoing reform. Given the inequity of general consumption taxes, elimination of these would improve financing equity considerably. Optimizing benefit packages in public health insurance is as important as expanding coverage, both for health care financing and for utilization management as well. Although they are progressive, out-of-pocket payments are not equitable in China and have the effect of excluding the poor from health care as they cannot afford to pay for medical care and so withdraw from treatment.
Equity; Chinese health care reform; Financing; Kakwani index
Mental health has been integrated in the primary health care program in small cities and villages of Iran in a national level since the late 1980s. We performed a systematic review of literature to investigate the effect of education on change in attitude and knowledge of mental health care providers and the population covered in the program during the recent two decades in Iran.
Electronic bibliographic databases including Pubmed, PsycINFO and EMBase as well as the main Iranian databases (Scientific Information Database, IranMedex, IranPsych, and IranDoc) were searched. Additionally, hand searching, personal contacts and tracking of reference lists were performed. All of the studies which compared the attitude and knowledge of the related population before and after an educational intervention were recruited.
Six articles met the inclusion criteria and entered the review. All of these studies showed an improvement in the attitude and knowledge of the studied population. Although the studies were different in many respects, a meta-analysis on the two more similar studies showed a significant effect of training on long term improvement of the knowledge and attitude of the population.
A short term training improved knowledge and attitude of the population and health personnel immediately after the intervention. There is also evidence for a long term change in the attitude and knowledge of general population after short term training.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder. Due to its high prevalence and absence of curative therapy, IBS has the potential to create tremendous burden on the health care system. Herein, we systematically reviewed the published literature to investigate the epidemiology of IBS in Iran.
Studies that were reviewed in this article were primarily identified through four online bibliographic databases including PubMed, Google Scholar, Iran Medex, and Scientific Information Database. Manual search of reference lists was carried out to identify any additional studies such as relevant abstracts and also recent review articles which may have been missed. Potentially related studies were retrieved and the selection criteria were applied. Eligible articles were reviewed.
From 4176 studies identified, 18 eligible studies were included. It was reported that in Iran, the prevalence of IBS was in the range of 1.1% to 25% and was more common in women. In addition, the difference in frequency of different age groups was minimal. There was a minimal difference in IBS prevalence within different age groups.
In Iran, the incidence of IBS was in the wide range. Since there are not enough population-based studies, researchers should focus on developing well-designed population-based studies to determine the epidemiology of IBS in Iran. Moreover, cohort studies should be conducted in order to investigate the natural history of IBS. Investigating the etiology of IBS and attempt to organize health promotion programs are highly suggested.
Irritable bowel syndrome; functional gastrointestinal disorders; epidemiology; systematic review; Iran
Concept of e-readiness is used in many areas such as e-business, e-commerce, e-government, and e-banking. In terms of healthcare, e-readiness is a rather new concept, and is propounded under the title of E-healthcare. E-health readiness refers to the readiness of communities and healthcare institutions for the expected changes brought by programs related to Information and Communications Technology (lCT). The present research is conducted aiming at designing E-health Readiness Assessment Framework (EHRAF) in Iran.
The e-health readiness assessment framework was designed based on reviewing literature on e-readiness assessment models and opinions of ICT and health experts. In the next step, Delphi method was used to develop and test the designed framework. Three questionnaires developed to test and modify the model while determining weights of the indices; afterward they were either sent to experts through email or delivered to them in face.
The designed framework approved with 4 dimensions, 11 constituents and 58 indices. Technical readiness had the highest importance coefficient (0.256099), and the other dimensions were of the next levels of coefficient importance: core readiness (0.25520), social communication readiness (0.244658), and engagement readiness (0.244039).
The framework presents the movement route and investment priorities in e-health in Iran. The proposed framework is a good instrument for measuring the e-readiness in health centers in Iran, and for identifying strengths and weaknesses of these centers to access ICT and its implementation for more effectiveness and for analyzing digital divide between them, as well.
E-health; E-Readiness; Information; ICT; Healthcare institutions; Iran
Long-term trends in our economy and social structure are radically affecting the supply and demand for health services. Population increases, both generally and in the over-65-years-of-age bracket, growing ratio of nonwhites to whites, increasing proportion of women, increasing urbanization, industrialization, educational levels and per capita income are only some of the major factors affecting the demand for health services. Major developments in the science, technology and organization of medical care are and will continue breaking traditional patterns in rendering such care, and definitely point in the direction of multidisciplinary and institutional makeup in the delivery of health services. Changes in the financing of medical care are bringing in a foray of public programs sponsored by all levels of the government, contributing to the unique American pluralistic health care economy with its “mix” of public and private activities. Questions, intended to point up some of the more far-reaching issues, are appended to each section of the paper.
Provision of end-of-life care in North America takes place across a multitude of settings, including hospitals, ambulatory clinics and home settings. As a result, family caregiving is characteristically a major component of care within the home. Accordingly, economic evaluation of the end-of-life care environment must devote equal consideration to resources provided by the public health system as well as privately financed resources, such as time and money provided by family caregivers. This paper addresses the methods used to measure end-of-life care costs. The existing empirical literature will be reviewed in order to assess care costs with areas neglected in this body of literature to be identified. The Ambulatory and Home Care Record, a
framework and tool for comprehensively measuring costs related to the provision and receipt of end-of-life care across all health care settings, will be described and proposed. Finally, areas for future work will be identified, along with their potential contribution to this body of knowledge.
Culture is becoming increasingly important in relation to end of life (EoL) care in a context of globalization, migration and European integration. We explore and compare socio-cultural issues that shape EoL care in seven European countries and critically appraise the existing research evidence on cultural issues in EoL care generated in the different countries.
We scoped the literature for Germany, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Portugal, carrying out electronic searches in 16 international and country-specific databases and handsearches in 17 journals, bibliographies of relevant papers and webpages. We analysed the literature which was unearthed, in its entirety and by type (reviews, original studies, opinion pieces) and conducted quantitative analyses for each country and across countries. Qualitative techniques generated themes and sub-themes.
A total of 868 papers were reviewed. The following themes facilitated cross-country comparison: setting, caregivers, communication, medical EoL decisions, minority ethnic groups, and knowledge, attitudes and values of death and care. The frequencies of themes varied considerably between countries. Sub-themes reflected issues characteristic for specific countries (e.g. culture-specific disclosure in the southern European countries). The work from the seven European countries concentrates on cultural traditions and identities, and there was almost no evidence on ethnic minorities.
This scoping review is the first comparative exploration of the cultural differences in the understanding of EoL care in these countries. The diverse body of evidence that was identified on socio-cultural issues in EoL care, reflects clearly distinguishable national cultures of EoL care, with differences in meaning, priorities, and expertise in each country. The diverse ways that EoL care is understood and practised forms a necessary part of what constitutes best evidence for the improvement of EoL care in the future.
There are calls for low and middle income countries to develop robust health financing policies to increase service coverage. However, existing evidence around financing options is complex and often difficult for policy makers to access.
To summarize the evidence on the impact of financing health systems and develop an e-tool to help decision makers navigate the findings.
After reviewing the literature, we used thematic analysis to summarize the impact of 7 common health financing mechanisms on 5 common health system goals. Information on the relevance of each study to a user’s context was provided by 11 country indicators. A Web-based e-tool was then developed to assist users in navigating the literature review. This tool was evaluated using feedback from early users, collected using an online survey and in-depth interviews with key informants.
The e-tool provides graphical summaries that allow a user to assess the following parameters with a single snapshot: the number of relevant studies available in the literature, the heterogeneity of evidence, where key evidence is lacking, and how closely the evidence matches their own context. Users particularly liked the visual display and found navigating the tool intuitive. However there was concern that a lack of evidence on positive impact might be construed as evidence against a financing option and that the tool might over-simplify the available financing options.
Complex evidence can be made more easily accessible and potentially more understandable using basic Web-based technology and innovative graphical representations that match findings to the users’ goals and context.
health care systems; financing; policy makers; software tools
To describe key success factors, derived from literature review and international case studies that enable effective integration between clinicians, teams and organizations.
Effective integration is dependent on consideration of diverse factors operating at macro, meso and micro levels of health care.
Literature review and four international case studies.
A maximum variation sample of four ICOs was selected from organizations and services nominated by international experts as ‘high performing’; ensuring a range of national policy contexts, organizational arrangements, and integrative approaches. Case studies in the USA, Holland and Scotland, drew on data from 10 to 15 semi-structured interviews with managers and clinicians and on document review. Interviews explored understanding of and objectives for ‘integration’, external influences and impact of internal characteristics (e.g. leadership, governance, IT) in facilitating/hindering integration. Clinical interviewees also described hypothetical patient journeys. Analysis focused on potential barriers and facilitators to integration.
Findings suggest integration requires four tiers of ‘success factors’: 1) a supportive ‘operating environment’ with appropriate policy, regulation, law, and payment systems; 2) organisational culture, infrastructure and processes (which may cross organizational boundaries) to support integration and enable; 3) effective inter-professional teams operating within or between organizations with linked infrastructure; shared assessments; common standards; care co-ordination and shared care plans and 4) activated patients to participate in care planning.
Those wishing to develop effective ICOs will need to ensure that each of these four tiers is addressed simultaneously across all levels (i.e. macro, meso and micro) of health care.
integrated care; success factors; international case studies; literature review
As high out-of-pocket healthcare expenses pose heavy financial burden on the families, Government of India is considering a variety of financing and delivery options to universalize health care services. Hence, an estimate of the cost of delivering universal health care services is needed.
We developed a model to estimate recurrent and annual costs for providing health services through a mix of public and private providers in Chandigarh located in northern India. Necessary health services required to deliver good quality care were defined by the Indian Public Health Standards. National Sample Survey data was utilized to estimate disease burden. In addition, morbidity and treatment data was collected from two secondary and two tertiary care hospitals. The unit cost of treatment was estimated from the published literature. For diseases where data on treatment cost was not available, we collected data on standard treatment protocols and cost of care from local health providers.
We estimate that the cost of universal health care delivery through the existing mix of public and private health institutions would be INR 1713 (USD 38, 95%CI USD 18–73) per person per annum in India. This cost would be 24% higher, if branded drugs are used. Extrapolation of these costs to entire country indicates that Indian government needs to spend 3.8% (2.1%–6.8%) of the GDP for universalizing health care services.
The cost of universal health care delivered through a combination of public and private providers is estimated to be INR 1713 per capita per year in India. Important issues such as delivery strategy for ensuring quality, reducing inequities in access, and managing the growth of health care demand need be explored.
The Australian government has announced a major program of reform with the move to primary maternity care, a program of change that appears to be at odds with current general public perceptions regarding how maternity care is delivered.
A critical discourse analysis of articles published in 'The Age', a newspaper with national distribution, subsequent to the release of the discussion paper by the Australian Government in 2008 was undertaken. The purpose was to identify how Australian maternity services are portrayed and what purpose is served by this representation to the general public.
Findings from this critical discourse analysis revealed that Australian maternity services are being portrayed to the general public as an inflexible outdated service struggling to meets the needs of pregnant women and in desperate need of reform. The style of reporting employed in this newspaper involved presenting to the reader the range of expert opinion relevant to each topic, frequently involving polarised positions of the experts on the issue.
The general public are presented with a conflict, caught between the need for changes that come with the primary maternity model of care and fear that these change will undermine safe standards. The discourse; 'Australia is one of the safest countries in which to give birth or be born, what is must be best', represents the situation where despite major deficiencies in the system the general public may be too fearful of the consequences to consider a move away from reliance on traditional medical-led maternity care.
To determine how the capacity and viability of local health care safety nets changed over the last six years and to draw lessons from these changes.
The first three rounds (May 1996 to March 2001) of Community Tracking Study site visits to 12 communities.
Researchers visited the study communities every two years to interview leaders of local health care systems about changes in the organization, delivery, and financing of health care and the impact of these changes on people. For this analysis, we collected data on safety net capacity and viability through interviews with public and not-for-profit hospitals, community health centers, health departments, government officials, consumer advocates, academics, and others. We asked about the effects of market and policy changes on the safety net and how the safety net responded, as well as the impact of these changes on care for the low-income uninsured.
The safety net in three-quarters of the communities was stable or improved by the end of the study period, leading to improved access to primary and preventive care for the low-income uninsured. Policy responses to pressures such as the Balanced Budget Act and Medicaid managed care, along with effective safety net strategies and supportive conditions, helped reinforce the safety net. However, the safety net in three sites deteriorated and access to specialty services remained inadequate across the 12 sites.
Despite pessimistic predictions and some notable exceptions, the health care safety net grew stronger over the past six years. Given considerable community variation, however, this analysis indicates that policymakers can apply a number of lessons from strong and improving safety nets to strengthen those that are weaker, particularly as the current economy poses new challenges.
Safety net; low-income uninsured; charity care; uncompensated care; indigent care