Article: Healthcare Leadership &amp Prejudices

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HEALTHCARE LEADERSHIP & PREJUDICES

Healthcare Leadership Prejudices

Healthcare leadership has become a more and more important topic over the recent years and decades, and for a number of major reasons. There are unfortunately a number of prejudices that exist even in the upper echelons of leadership of healthcare organizations and not all of them are as simple or as obvious as one may think. This report will explore a number of these present prejudices along with an explanation of how the answers to the concerns are not nearly as black and white as some may think. The sections that will be covered in this report will include the problem at hand, the method used to review the problem, the solution to the problem, and some considerations relating to the problem. A review and inclusions from relevant literature will be included in each section as well as a separate section near the end of the report.

Problem

The prejudices that exist are both obvious and more subtle. Some have to do with race, some with religion and some with simple ideological beliefs that are very entrenched and are belied by a lot of passion and perhaps a little irrationality and/or prejudice. One example is the commonly known and held one that is a prejudice in the hiring and/or leadership based on gender, race, age or other Title VII-protected classes. Other examples include disparate beliefs about religious freedom concerns relating to contraception, birth control and so forth. These beliefs have led to the debating and/or passage of legislation that a lot of people disagree with, with ObamaCare in the United States perhaps being the best recent example, and there has also been mild to moderate civil disobedience relating to such legislation as well as the funding of places like Planned Parenthood that are either directly or mainly involved in providing abortion procedures and/or guidance.

Age in particular has become an issue because the demographics of the United States are much more top-heavy than they used to be. Stated another way, the proportion of people at or reaching retirement age is much more in proportion to the younger generations as compared to the prior years and decades in which this cycle has commenced and re-commenced. Similarly, older Americans are the ones that use Medicare and they are also the ones that use more healthcare as this is the time of their life where things start to break down as they age.

Method

The method for this research was a mildly deep literature review that covered more recent work relating to events and calculations about prejudices in healthcare, both traditional and more recent, and how best to address these topics. The best outcome for all is to come up with rules of the game that everyone must follow including considerations of what medical providers affiliated with religious sects must or must not do, how they must or may comply with the law and so forth. Even though freedom of religious and speech are important to protect, protecting the health and well-being of the public is more important and shortfalls in leadership and healthcare system management must not be allowed to cause failures that endanger the quality of life or the life in general of patients in an affected area.

Solution

Abortion and contraception access are the hot-button issues with healthcare management and leadership so they should definitely be addressed first. Forcing a doctor or hospital to provide abortions is not right from a moral standpoint and with abortion in particular, it's not a life and death issue given that many to most abortion are elective in nature and do not involve rape or the life of the mother being in jeopardy. Also, there are general Planned Parenthood or similar resources in the area for women who choose to take that path. However, especially for situations where the life of the mother IS in danger, the healthcare systems and leadership structures of a given area must be prepared to direct patients in dire need to the resources they need should the issue come up. With contraception, condoms are readily available at retail stores and most of the same stores have pharmacies that will dispense birth control.

The other proverbial elephant in the room that healthcare leaders must deal with and that can involve prejudice are people with a compromised ability to pay for services. The law requires that people that are in danger of losing their life or their quality of life be treated regardless of whether insurance or money to pay for the care is at hand. However, there is a widely held belief that the access to coverage or cash has a direct bearing on the quality and quantity of care that is dispensed. Healthcare leadership should strive to make sure that this is not a perception that is grounded in realities or real-world events and they should work to set up payment plans and discounts on a needs-based basis so as to do some good for the community while at the same time keeping the books balanced.

Consideration

Part of the problem with the ability to pay dimension above is that many people who can afford health insurance choose not to buy it and entirely too much of the brunt for that is placed on the healthcare providers. Even so, healthcare leaders should work with patients as best they can in the meantime because not providing care is a violation of the law and of commonly held and accepted moral standards. As for the religious angle above, countries like the United States put lawmakers in quite a pickle because freedom of religion is well-ensconced in the Bill of Rights and it can be tricky to balance that and quality of care. Many of the actions and facts up for debate involve voluntary and elective activities such as abortions for reasons other than rape or health of the mother or engaging in sex in general. Additionally, there are cheap and effective alternatives to placing the burden on healthcare providers or employers. However, there are times where birth control is needed for reasons other than preventing pregnancy such as regulating menstrual cycles and so forth and a woman is generally expected to have her own choice as to whether she has a rapist's baby.

Literature Review

As far as ability to pay, there are many that hold that for-profit entities should not be involved at all in healthcare, let alone in a market or leadership-based function, because it inevitably leads to lesser quality of care and people not getting the care they can or should get (Kucinich, 2007). On the other hand, another journal article argues that healthcare leaders and providers are hamstrung by financial, legislative and regulatory issues and they posit that this is the main problem as far as healthcare costs getting out of hand which leads to an inability to pay (Callahan, 2008). Another article notes that people with an inability to pay are often of minority status such as black or Hispanic and they assert that this cannot be ignored as a factor (Cobaugh et al., 2008).

Speaking to prejudice in particular as it relates to healthcare leadership and quality of care, an article found by the author of this report speaks to the inadequate healthcare provided to disabled women who have children. They note that both gender and the disability itself causes inequities due to providers and healthcare leaders that are either ignorant or otherwise biased in terms of how they perceive, interact with and care for women with disabilities having children (Phillips & Phillips, 2006). Even disorders that are fairly if not entirely race-specific like sickle cell anemia, which almost exclusively affects black people, can lead to prejudice and bigotry among the applicable healthcare leaders involved (Nelson &… [END OF PREVIEW]

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