The notion of healthcare has always been one of the most discussed issues in terms of policy introduction and administration. Moreover, when speaking of the modern context of healthcare perception in circumstances of the ongoing global pandemic outbreak, it is of paramount importance to reconsider the overall approach to the national healthcare policy. Thus, one of the most relevant aspects of today’s community state is the peculiarities of healthcare allocation among residents. In terms of this paper, the public policy of healthcare resource allocation will be analyzed and described.
Problem Definition and Analysis
The healthcare paradigm is believed to be highly dependent on the process of physician decision-making. However, according to the research, the vast majority of decisions are the result of combining various external factors such as financial capability, socio-economic environment, and local public administration (Mannelli, 2020). A prime example of such an issue is the allocation of healthcare resources, which stands for the reasonable distribution of available resources among healthcare sectors and individual patients. Considering the problem through the COVID-19 outbreak, it is estimated that the demand for such facilities as lung ventilation devices and hospital beds has increased, initiating the need for ethical reconsideration of resource distribution (Emanuel et al., 2020). Thus, according to the data, the plan for the emergency health care provided in the circumstances of a pandemic does not account for the scenario of infected residents prevailing at 5% of the overall population (Emanuel et al., 2020). Hence, it is of crucial importance to address the problem publicly in terms of both ethical and financial aspects.
Drafting Policy Options
When speaking of the possible options for healthcare resource allocation in times of crisis, it is necessary to outline what are the basic constituents of the rationing process. Hence, the primary resource allocation attributes are the process of financial support and the ethical paradigm of the process, as it is necessary for the physicians to follow the norms established within a community. For this reason, when addressing the potential policy options, the following variants should be considered:
- The introduction of new financial aid resources in order to maximize the area’s resource capability;
- The introduction of benefit incidence analysis as a means of ensuring equity for every geographical area considered.
The notion of benefit incidence analysis stands for the process of estimating the benefit extent relevant to each individual in the area provided (Love-Koh et al., 2020). Hence, these options for policy renovations are the ones most likely to result in qualitative change for community health care.
Policy Decision Implications
Regarding the policy discussed, a major group of stakeholders includes local authorities, physicians, hospital administration, the public, and, certainly, individual patients. Hence, the scenario of beneficiary relationship in terms of resource allocation is only possible once the financial support is sufficient to ensure scarce resources access to the vast majority of the local population. However, still, when discussing the idea of reconsidering healthcare allocation, the following positive implications may be introduced:
- Lower mortality risks among the population;
- Ensuring the quality of healthcare provided rather than the quantity of medical procedures provided;
- Higher levels of public health awareness and emergency preparedness among the population.
When speaking of the potential changes, it is necessary to mention the possible shift in the pattern of resource allocation among patients. In terms of benefit incidence analysis, a series of public surveys would be conducted in order to identify the social groups likely to benefit the most from the scarce resource access. In such a way, the healthcare allocation policy would be represented in the form of a renewed social hierarchy.
When addressing the potential implications, it becomes evident that no scenario secures positive outcomes when assessed realistically. Hence, the least that could be done in terms of policy introduction would be the complete recalculation of the resources available compared to the area’s population. In such a way, the community would be aware of the real issues facing patients instead of encouraging state financial support with no empirical backup. Another realistic step in such a scenario would be to start the negotiations with community centers willing to either advocate for the scarce resource allocation or provide facilities with financial aid.
The primary focus of the future policy should be placed on the quality of health care provided, meaning that the distribution of scarce resources should cover the cases where such intervention would be efficient. Although such a strategy is beneficial for the overall resource allocation, the matter remains rather inconsistent in terms of ethics. Thus, while abiding by the ethical principle of beneficence, policy advocates inevitably violate nonmaleficence by harming the patients who are believed to receive less benefit from the resources than others.
Analyzing the introduction of healthcare allocation policy reevaluation, it may be outlined that the primary outcome of the intervention should not address the elimination of the issue, emphasizing the reduction of complications instead. Thus, among the desired yet tangible outcomes of the policy, one may consider the increase in the number of resources and the overall improvement in terms of scarce resource efficiency. The benefit incidence analysis would define the individual patient stakeholders obtaining maximum advantage from using the allocated supplies.
Healthcare is a social construct and has always been one of the most challenging in terms of policy administration. Hence, the reconsideration of the healthcare resource allocation policy was chosen due to its relevance in the context of the sphere’s current situation. It was estimated during the research that despite the absence of absolute policy benefit, encouraging financial support and refocusing the policy on the quality index would serve as a good start for the reconsideration of healthcare.
Emanuel, E. J., Persad, G., Upshur, R., Thome, B., Parker, M., Glickman, A., Zhang, C., Boyle, C., Smith, M., & Phillips, J. P. (2020). Fair allocation of scarce medical resources in the time of Covid-19. The New England Journal of Medicine, 382, 2049-2055. Web.
Love-Koh, J., Griffin, S., Kataika, E., Revill, P., Sibandze, S., & Walker, S. (2020). Methods to promote equity in health resource allocation in low-and middle-income countries: An overview. Globalization and Health, 16(1), 1-12. Web.
Mannelli, C. (2020). Whose life to save? Scarce resources allocation in the COVID-19 outbreak. Journal of Medical Ethics, 46(6), 364-366. Web.