Healthcare Systems Around the World
There are many philosophies shaping healthcare services around the world, and this article glances at some prominent examples. This may help understand why different countries experience healthcare differently.
The USA does not have a universal, free healthcare program, unlike most other developed countries. Instead, in line with the free-market-virtue mindset, most Americans are served by a mix of publicly and privately funded programs and healthcare systems.
Most hospitals and clinics are privately owned, with about 60% being non-profits, and another fifth being for-profit facilities. Coverage by federal and state programs is partial, and most insured Americans have employment-based private insurance.
In a change, patients can now read the clinical notes written by their physicians
Many people trying to gather their health-care data may be all too familiar with calling medical records departments, driving to a clinic to sign a release, and paying a fee for a pile of papers with loads of medical information they don’t understand.
But this spring, new federal rules went into effect that will allow patients to see the clinic notes physicians write, which advocates say will improve patients’ knowledge of their own health.
How bad is prison health care in the Unites States
Prisons have continued to be the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic — the largest single-site cluster outbreaks have been in carceral settings. At the outset of the pandemic, reports of poor testing and lack of appropriate personal protective equipment in prisons abounded, turning much needed attention to the quality of health care in correctional facilities far and wide.
But this is an old problem, says Adnan Khan. He spent 16 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. In 2019, he was resentenced under a California Senate bill that set the path for his eventual release. Now, he runs Re:Store Justice, an advocacy organization he founded while behind bars that works to end extreme sentencing.
We Must Enhance—but also Decolonize—America’s Global Health Diplomacy
COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the world, accounting for more than 2.7 million deaths so far; prolonged economic shutdowns; and the dismantlement of global health systems. In no small part, this is due to failures of governance and intentional health policy choices. Despite the swift and unprecedented development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, more than 66 percent of the countries around the world—predominantly in the Global South—have yet to receive a single vaccine dose. In comparison, 10 countries have received 75 percent of the global vaccine supply.
These appalling statistics represent the outcomes of contemporary neocolonial approaches—policies, programs and global governance structures that continue to sustain the same power dynamics and outcomes as during colonization—towards the non-Western world.
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Do privileged US citizens have better health outcomes?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, privilege—or the lack thereof—and its effects on health have taken on considerable importance.
Privilege can manifest in disparities related to wealth, race, gender, and more. In the pandemic, for instance, the wealth gap between Black and White Americans remained strong, as White families held 84% of total household wealth in the United States. Analysts for the Brookings Institution claim that this gap placed Black families in a less desirable position when COVID-19 struck.
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Some of America’s wealthiest hospital systems ended up even richer, thanks to federal bailouts
As the crisis crushed smaller providers, some of the nation’s richest health systems thrived, reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in surpluses after accepting huge grants for pandemic relief.
Last May, Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest nonprofit hospital system in Texas, laid off 1,200 employees and furloughed others as it braced for the then-novel coronavirus to spread. The cancellation of lucrative elective procedures as the hospital pivoted to treat a new and less profitable infectious disease presaged financial distress, if not ruin. The federal government rushed $454 million in relief funds to help shore up its operations.
How the US Invested in the War on Terrorism at the Cost of Public Health
Here’s one big takeaway from our country’s disastrous 2020 covid response: For 20 years, we’ve lavished attention and money on fighting human terrorism and forgot that the terrorism of nature is equally deadly, deserving equal preparation.
Today, with more than 545,000 U.S. covid deaths, I hope we’ve learned the huge cost of allowing our public health structure to wither as we single-mindedly pursued the decades-long war on terror. Slowly, with no one much paying attention, here’s how it happened.
MENTAL HEALTH OF THE WORLD STUDY — SEE WHO’S MOST AT RISK
An ambitious mental health study is intent on gauging the world’s emotional state. The Mental Health Million Project had its first full scale launch in 2020, offering an exceptional look at a truly exceptional time: mental health status during a pandemic.
The Mental Health Million Project is a 47 question survey, distributed online, that sums up a mental health “quotient” (MHQ).
2021’s Top Challenges Facing Physicians
In late 2020, our sister publication, Medical Economics®, conducted a Physicians Report asking physician audiences what they thought would be the most challenging issues they will face this year. Here is what the respondents said.
Administrative burdens and paperwork
If doctors had to chart their feelings about practicing medicine, many would list “paperwork” as their chief complaint.
Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook
Hesperian’s classic manual, Where There Is No Doctor, is arguably the most widely-used health care manual in the world. All Hesperian books are regularly updated and reprinted to reflect accurate medical information.
Useful for health workers, clinicians, and others involved in primary health care delivery and health promotion programs, with millions of copies in print in more than 75 languages, the manual provides practical, easily understood information on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent common diseases.
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