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Spectrum of Health Care Facilities

#Sample College Research Paper

Facility Spectrum

The main purpose of medical care facilities in every state in the US is to provide quality healthcare to the public. These facilities are designed to provide either long- or short-term care. They may be publicly or privately owned or managed. The extent of usage of these facilities is determined by the types of services they offer. The healthcare facility spectrum describes the range of healthcare facilities available in every given region. This paper examines the spectrum of health care facilities in the US, their purpose and goals, how they work together, oversight, similarities and differences.

Health care facilities include hospitals, clinics and outpatient care centers. Berman (2000) observes that most countries structure the delivery of government provided health services as a hierarchy – from small peripheral units (‘sub-centers’ or health posts) to larger clinics, small hospitals, and larger hospitals. The lowest level facilities are most accessible and lower in cost but also have the most limited scope of services and are least demanding in terms of quality. Quadagno (2004) states that the United States does not have a national single unified system of health care. Health care providers in the US, therefore, engage both public and private practitioners, facilities and medical products. The spectrum of facilities one would find in a typical American state include those that attend to adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, extended care facilities, home care, hospices, integrated delivery networks (IDNs), Medicaid centers, local Medicare agencies, primary care facilities, rehabilitation centers, restorative care centers, skilled nursing facilities, among others.

Each of the above a facilities have specific purposes and goals. Adult day care centers offer daily services to the elderly across some durations. Assisted living facilities provide residence and basic amenities for people. Extended care facilities are institutions developed to provide medical, nursing or custodial care over prolonged periods. Home care facilities provide health care for people from their homes. Hospices are systems of family-centered care designed for terminally ill persons. IDNs are sets of providers and services designed to offer coordinated and continuous care to patients at capitated cost. Medicaid centers facilitate access to state assistance in medical care while Medicare centers aid in access and utilization of federally funded health insurance program.

Collaborations in the provision of quality health care in the US cut across regional, national, local, public, private boundaries. National agencies like the CDCP engage local clinics in epidemiology. Health research organizations similarly engage both individual and group facilities in studies of issues of health. National, regional and local health facilities also engage in collaborations during times of health related crisis (National Policy Consensus Center, 2004).

Grimm (2014) says regulation plays a major role in the health care industry and health care insurance coverage. The many oversight agencies safeguard the public from all forms of health risks and offer numerous facilities in the interest of the public (Grimm, 2014). Together, these oversight bodies safeguard and set control measures across the various levels of health care. Grimm (2014) notes that in the United States, federal, state and local regulatory bodies often put in place measures and guidelines for the health care sector, and their oversight is a requirement. Some oversight players, such as those for accreditation, do not need mandatory participation; yet they are still crucial because they generate quality assessment or award grades for quality, thus acting as additional regulatory bodies that ensure health care organizations encourage and offer quality care (Grimm, 2014). Other regulatory bodies include Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (which provides oversight on the health care systems) and compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) conducts investigations and make proposals on issues of quality, cost reduction and patient safety (Grimm, 2014). In addition, there are other agencies such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) which seek to enhance quality through regular inspection and award of scores for health care institutions and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) which deals in quality in managed health initiatives (Grimm, 2014).  Grimm (2014) also cites examples of oversight agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as important in health care facilities oversight.

Generally, all health care facilities endeavor to provide best quality and greater access and utilization of services as well as minimize cost of health care. Considerable differences are determined by the nature of ownership, services and management structure.

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Berman, P. (2000). Organization of Ambulatory Health Care Services: A Critical Determinant of Health System Performance. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 78(6):791-802.

Grimm, I (2014). Health Care Regulation: Who Does What? Retrieved July 9, 2014 from

National Policy Consensus Center (2004). Improving Health Care Access: Finding Solutions in a Time of Crisis. National Policy Consensus Center. 

Quadagno, J. (2004). Why the United States Has No National Health Insurance: Stakeholder Mobilization Against the Welfare State, 1945–1996. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 45(Extra Issue), 25-44.



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