Health care has been influenced by numerous significant events throughout history. These events have helped change and shape health care in efforts to improve it, and to fit in with the current needs of the population. Some of the influences include society, culture, finance, religion, politics, technology, health trends, the environment, and population (Shi & Singh, 2012, p. 9). This paper will discuss a significant event that has changed or affected health care today, explain how the historical evolution of health care was impacted, and assess the significant event based on personal values and beliefs.
Significant Event’s Relation to Health Care Through the many events that have taken place in the health care industry one that comes to mind is how excessive litigation affecting health care today. Litigation has become so broad that it has become a specialized department in the law industry. When one watches television, listens to the radio, browses the Internet, or looks at other media outlets he or she is bound to come across some advertisements for litigations against health care facilities and professionals at frequent intervals.
It is not unexpected to see or hear several of them throughout the day. Law firms have even become specialized in health care related cases and focus on specific conditions caused by some sort of illness, medication, or even procedure. The result of this is that health care facilities close due to the financial burden of payments resulting from litigations, in the long run the amount paid for malpractice insurance rises, insurance premiums rise, and costs of health care increases because of the additional procedures ordered to try to prevent litigation (Satiani, 2004).
The practice of defensive medicine is estimated to cost two and a half times average coverage cost and the estimated savings in tort reform is passed in 50 billion dollars (Santiani, 2004). Rather than spending this money on these litigations the health care dollars can be used to improve health care practices by implementing efforts like preventative care, health care research, prescription drug aid, or provision of insurance for the uninsured.
The increased cost of litigation causes a resulting increase in malpractice insurance to decrease the money lost the process of litigation. Another effect on health care is the reluctance of companies to place new product on the market, or leave them on the market because of fear of litigation. This affects the availability of health care supplies and can increase the cost because the location of the production plant is also affected. Impact on the Historical Evolution of Health Care
These factors negatively impact the delivery of health care because it detracts from its ability to meet the two criteria of a functional health care system; the ability of all citizens to receive adequate health care when needed, and for the care to meet consistent levels of quality and be cost-effective (Shi & Singh, 2012, p. 5). Excessive litigation limits the services that can be provided, increases costs, reduces accessible facilities, and causes a decrease in the amount of people electing to train in a health care profession.
It increases unnecessary procedures, or decreases necessary procedures based on risk for litigation and takes the focus of health care away from where it should be; on the patient (Catino, 2009). The result of excessive litigation may be stagnation meaning the system is unable to grow because of the high costs for provision on care and the inability of everyone to receive consistent care. The positive effect of health care litigation occurs because it places a value or consequence on the effect of malpractice.
Health care facilities and professionals work to develop policies and practices that reduce the harm done to the patient partially because of the cost associated with neglecting to do so. Health care litigation can be a source of help for families who are affected by malpractice, especially if needed to provide further care for those affected. The problem with health care litigation lies, not with those with genuine cases, but with those who attempt to use the system to file false claims for profit.
People do not realize that the cost of legal fees is offset by passing the cost to the patient. Unfortunately, most of the money gained during the litigation process does not always go toward the patient/s filing the litigation; according to Satiani (2004), an estimated 57% goes to the attorney and 43% to the patient. Personal Belief on Event’s Significance I believe that excessive litigation is a significant event in health care. It affects many aspects of care and reduces the ability of patients to access the care needed.
If people continue to abuse the legal system by filing false claims we will continue to see a rise in the cost of health care. The United States health care system and the citizens must create a culture of honesty. The health care system must provide adequate, timely care to citizens, and citizens avoid false prosecution for personal gain. Conclusion Excessive litigation is an emerging trend in health care. Litigation was intended as a route for citizens to receive compensation for injuries related to malpractice, but is becoming a way of life for the legal system.
Lawyers and law offices specialize in health care litigation and most Americans see or hear at least one advertisement for litigation per day. The cost of litigation on the health care system is high and unfortunately the people who pay the cost are the citizens because health care facilities, private practitioners, and insurance companies offset the cost by redirecting it on the patients. The cost of excessive litigation may be too high for citizens to pay.