Reducing spending in healthcare without compromising on the effectiveness and quality of healthcare services is a crucial undertaking that the Obama administration should approach cautiously. However, the attempt to enforce policies that discourage high readmission rates without engaging healthcare professionals will have little effects on the improvement of healthcare since the policies work within a considerably narrow scope that fails to recognize key players in healthcare. Doctors are among healthcare professionals at the core of the healthcare system and thus have significant effects on the success of healthcare policies. When policies in healthcare reforms seek to reward healthcare institutions while excluding relevant parties, they will face considerable resistance from the excluded parties, which become a threat to the effective implementation of reform policies.
Despite the provisions on expected code of conduct and ethics, doctors have personal interests to protect. In this regard, they would adopt any strategies that will safeguard their interests. This is because a doctor’s earning is directly proportional to the number of patients he or she serves. The proposed incentives on hospitals with low readmission rates seek to reward an institution without considering the concerns, views and plights of players within the institution. Thus, doctors and hospitals will have conflicting interests with each party attempting to protect itself. The outcome in such a case is the stagnation of critical functions in the healthcare system and increase in healthcare costs due the inaccessibility of basic services. To eliminate the occurrence of such a deadlock, the government should engage all parties in the healthcare sector in negotiation so that they can draft all-inclusive policies. All-inclusive policies should ensure concerned parties benefit from the outcome of cutting down costs relating to patient care. This will serve as a major source of motivation for all players in the healthcare sector, and thus guarantee effective implementation of policies meant to revolutionize healthcare.
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