Heath policy /government public policy

  1. How is a health policy different from a government public policy?
  2. How does the ‘new public health’ approach differ from the old public health approach?
  • What is meant by the term ‘power’ in policy development and change?
  • What policy considerations should be included in a national obesity health campaign?

POLICY, POWER AND POLITICS IN HEALTH CARE PROVISION

A health policy refers to the actions, decisions and plans undertaken for the achievement of specific goals in a given society. The set health policies will be helpful in the achievement of several things such as defining the vision for the future, the establishment of the points and targets for the short or long term basis (Blank & Burau, 2013). The health policies will outline the expected roles and priorities of different groups while also informs people and builds a consensus. On the other hand, public policies refer to the factors that influencing health that are not solely family or individual characteristics but are linked to the political system, economic system and the culture as a whole. The health policies will be classified based on factors such as systematic issues, organizational issues, instrumental issues and also the programmatic issues (Blank & Burau, 2013). The classification of the public policies will defer as they will depend on economic, cultural and political policies. The health policies will effectively dictate whom, when and what should be performed. The health policies will include licensure and the regulations of the care providers, arrangement for the payment of health services and insurances (Blank & Burau, 2013). The health policies will also include the mix of private services, public services, quality of services provided in a community and also the access and cost of the health services.

 The government public policy is different as it will entail the policies written in other sectors rather than the health sector. These sectors include transportation and education statutes. However, the public policies usually modify the social health determinants. The government public policies’ intent is to ensure the positive health impact. The health policies change in accordance with the current health problems and also the advances in knowledge and technology (Reader, 2012). On the other hand, government public policies change in accordance to the evolvement of broad social goals over time. Public policies will be promulgated by the government entities or its representatives while the health policies will be mainly developed implemented by the health institutions and bodies.

The public health approaches will entail all the strategies that focus on the prevention of health problems and promote the delivery of care in a way that extends the safety and better care to the entire population rather than the selected individuals (Tulchinsky & Varavikova, 2014). The principles used in the public health approach provide a framework for continuing with the investigations to identify the causes and consequences of the challenges encountered in the health sector as well as coming up with the best policy interventions and advocacy. The major difference between the old and new public approach is that the recent approaches will entail the manner in which the health promotion discourse has adapted to the crucial doctrines of previous eras in the old approach to addressing the present public health threats. The old health approach was characterized by the capital intensive investments in health care services, facilities and the high cost of the healthcare. In the old public health approach, concerns were classified into five key areas such as creating the supportive environment in the health sector, development of personal skills, building public health policies and also orienting the health services (Tulchinsky & Varavikova, 2014). In the old public health approach, there was no clear philosophical definition of the contemporary public health. In this case, the need to facilitate effective monitoring of the public health functions for a more secure basis for advocacy of the funding in the public sector as not given priority.

 In the old public approach, health was characterized to be global in nature. There were difficulties to develop the global public health framework due to the failure of implementation of the primary health care as global public health instrument  (Tulchinsky & Varavikova,2014)t. Ensuring health conditions for all was not easy due to the promotion of the paradigm’s functionalist orientation. Some of the characteristics of the new public health approach include recognition of the social determinants with the aim of improving the health of populations. Empowerment of individuals is also key in the new approach where they people are given the opportunity to increase control over their health. In the old approach, development of personal skills to recognize their needs that impact their health was not given much consideration as in the new public health approach. In the new public health approach, community participation is an essential and a vital characteristic. The health promotions strategies are more centered on the communities. Contrary to the old approach, in the new approach, the programs and strategies for health promotions are adapted to the needs of the people who work together for a healthier environment (Rutten et al, 2011).

Power is the ability to achieve the desired results or outcome after the performance of the various tasks. The development or change of policies entails the process of coming up with more appropriate strategies aimed at improving the currently implemented protocols or procedures (Altman, 2013). The development of policies enhances the adoption of better strategies and protocols of running operation in the various organizations. In policy development and change, the concept of power is understood in a relational sense as the ability to effectively make decisions regarding the protocols and procedures proposed or under development before they are fully implemented. There are three phases of power when it comes to policy development and change (Altman, 2013). These dimensions include power as non-decision making tool, power as decision making and also power as a thought control. Power in decision making focuses on the ability of groups or individuals to influence the policy decisions during development and change. In this case, the groups and individuals will exert their influence on the various policy processes. They have the direct influence over the key decisions and mostly initiate the policy proposals for change or development (Altman, 2013).

Power as a non-decision making when it comes to policies will involve the practice and process of limiting the scope of decision making to safe issues by manipulating the dominant political institutions, community myths and also values (Francesca et al, 2011). Consequently, power will be and agenda setting that highlighting how the able groups will keep control over the agenda to ensure the threatening issues are below their radar screen during the development and change process. Power is also conceptualized as a thought control when it comes to policies development and change. Power as a thought control will be a function of the ability to exert influence on others by shaping their preferences about policies development and change (Francesca et al, 2011).

The control of the obesity cases has become one of the highest priorities for the practitioners in the public health sector of most countries. The adoption of the high risk and effective approaches will require the formulation of various policies (Tsai et al, 2014). The implementation of these policies will ensure the effective control of the obesity cases. The national health obesity health campaigns and also the community-based approaches have been identified as some of the best interventions to control obesity that has its health hazards (Rosen, 2015). The community-based approaches have also been tied to the health campaigns in making the initiatives a success. The major consideration is to ensure the compliance with the initiatives and the smooth running of operations of the health campaign. The creation of an oversight committee structure to be held accountable for the activities and strategies of the campaign is a vital policy consideration (Tsai et al, 2014). The policies formulated for the campaign strategies should consider having the community-based interventions that are designed to improve the physical activity and quality dietary levels (Rosen, 2015). The policies should consider having initiatives that increase the exposure to healthy foods at a subsidized price and also restrictions on the unhealthy foods to ensure that the campaign efficiently controls the cases of obesity. The policies should consider having pricing adjustments to the foods that help in controlling obesity such as energy dense nutrient foods.

It is important to identify any workflow that might interfere with the protocols and procedures proposed during the obesity health campaign (Tsai et al, 2014). Adopting of the government principles for healthcare during the planning of the campaigns is a crucial policy consideration. The provision of a standardized consent document to all the participant of the health campaign for consistency is another policy consideration during the obesity health campaign.

The development of the smoke-free environment policies is necessary as it ensures that customers, service users and also the employees are protected from exposure to the second-hand smoke (Hyland et al, 2012). The policies developed will also help in the restriction and control of the smoking acts. There are various factors that I would consider and include in the creation of the new policy. Education and creation of awareness about the need for stopping the smoking are a factor to consider during the creation of policies. The training and education will be helpful in creating awareness about the hazards of combining the materials used in work processes and the secondhand smoke (Hyland et al, 2014). Concise and simple information on how to quit smoking will be communicated. The enforcement and the consequences of compliance is another factor to be included in the policy created. The inclusion of the factor in the policy will make it clear that disciplinary measures would follow for any staff not complying with the policy (Schultz et al, 2011). Those not adhering to the agreed policy and not complying with the smoke laws will be subject to penalty. The consideration of the factor in the policy will enhance its enforcement.

 Designing of an implementation plan and laying out the purpose of the policy is the third factor to include the creation of the policy. These actions will be included to communicate the support to be provided to the smokers during the campaign to develop effective smoke-free environment policies. Including the plan during the creation of the policy will prepare the supervisory and management staff. The plan will include the strategies to support those quitting smoking in ways such as providing medical coverage to them. Having consistent sources of funds to support the strategies focusing on safety regarding secondhand smoke will be the factor to consider (Schultz et al, 2011). Consideration of the factor will also ensure the provision of the visible and real opportunities for worker’s participation in the planning and implementation of the policies.

References

Altman, D. (2013). Power & Community. Routledge.

Blank, R. H., & Burau, V. (2013). Comparative health policy. Palgrave Macmillan.

Francesca, C., Ana, L. N., Jérôme, M., & Frits, T. (2011). OECD Health Policy Studies Help Wanted? Providing and Paying for Long-Term Care: Providing and Paying for Long-Term Care (Vol. 2011). OECD Publishing.

Hyland, A., Barnoya, J., & Corral, J. E. (2012). Smoke-free air policies: past, present and future. Tobacco control, 21(2), 154-161.

Reader, A. M. (2012). Health policy and systems research.

Rosen, G. (2015). A history of public health. JHU Press.

Rütten, A., Gelius, P., & Abu-Omar, K. (2011). Policy development and implementation in health promotion—from theory to practice: the ADEPT model. Health promotion international, 26(3), 322-329.

Schultz, A. S., Finegan, B., Nykiforuk, C. I., & Kvern, M. A. (2011). A qualitative investigation of smoke-free policies on hospital property. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 183(18), E1334-E1344.

Tsai, A. G., Boyle, T. F., Hill, J. O., Lindley, C., & Weiss, K. (2014). Changes in Obesity Awareness, Obesity Identification, and Self-Assessment of Health: Results from a Statewide Public Education Campaign. American Journal of Health Education, 45(6), 342-350.

Tulchinsky, T. H., & Varavikova, E. A. (2014). The new public health: an introduction for the 21st century. Academic Press.

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