The US Healthcare system is considered one of the best quality-wise, but that quality is not sustained without sacrifices. The US healthcare is not universal, and while there have been attempts to make it more affordable, it remains mostly unchanged. Other issues accompany its unaffordability and make the whole system seem flawed. Human resource managers working in healthcare may alleviate some of them, as the human factor is still important. This paper will highlight the major issues in US healthcare and the role HRM can play in resolving them, using possible scenarios.
The most glaring issue of US healthcare is, perhaps, its cost, or injustice. It affects everyone, regardless of their health insurance or income, although those who lack both are at a considerable disadvantage. The phenomena that significantly contribute to the unaffordability of healthcare are overdiagnosing, overtreatment, and overmedicalizing; all of them manifest while the general cost of healthcare is increasing (Dyck, 2019). Both healthy people and those who require treatment could be at risk of overdiagnosing. Although there are such services as Medicare and Medicaid, they are unable to cover the expenses fully.
Another issue that is deeply connected with injustice but has its own identity is racism in healthcare. People of color may experience differences in treatment, prejudice, and distrust towards the healthcare system, and some may have difficulties understanding the doctor (Abramson et al., 2015). Bailey et al. (2017) link discrimination in healthcare with residential segregation, as black neighborhoods have lower-quality medical facilities. The issue is deeply rooted in US history, but there might be room for future without racial disparities.
As the concerns for the environment increase, so does the healthcare’s role in treating diseases caused by human activities that damage nature, but it appears that the healthcare system also engages in it. According to Eckelman and Sherman (2016), “The practice of health care itself causes significant pollution, and, consequently, indirect adverse effects on public health.” The issue is linked with the fact that more resources are spent on healthcare than on some industries, about 20% of GDP (Eckelman and Sherman, 2016). While the negative impact of industrial waste is widely acknowledged, the same is not true for the waste produced by healthcare, although its effects are palpable. Overall, it might be unbecoming for the healthcare system to participate in harming nature and people, so there should be improvements in the way the healthcare system uses the provided resources.
Although the issues mentioned above are fundamental and can only be dismantled on the federal level, there are several measures that an HR manager can take to minimize them for a given medical organization. First of all, medical bills from the personnel can be tracked, especially if there are complaints, and those who overcharge patients can be discovered. An HR manager should initiate an investigation into the problem to learn the reasons for overcharging. If the reasons are unwarranted, then a staff member could receive appropriate punishment. Racism in healthcare can be resolved on two levels: when hiring staff and approaching problematic staff. When hiring, an HR manager should consider people of color to diversify the staff and avoid any bias. If there is a suspicion that members of the staff give favorable treatment to white citizens over minority groups, then the manager should immediately handle the situation. As for the ecological issue, it could be beyond an HR manager’s competence, but they could promote and reward reduction of waste and use of alternative energy sources, where it is applicable, among the staff.
In conclusion, the US healthcare system is imperfect and requires changes, but rather than waiting for the right politician to appear, one could start from their organization. The points highlighted in this paper may seem impossible to tackle for one organization, but it is still worth the effort. After all, healthcare’s priority should be saving people’s lives, and sometimes those lives are in danger due to other people, the people in charge of their lives.
Abramson, C. M., Hashemi, M., & Sánchez-Jankowski, M. (2015). Perceived discrimination in U.S. healthcare: Charting the effects of key social characteristics within and across racial groups. Preventive Medicine Reports, 2, 615-621. Web.
Bailey, Z. D., Krieger, N., & Agénor, M. (2017). Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: Evidence and interventions. The Lancet, 389(10077), 1453–1463. Web.
Dyck, A. J. (2019). Achieving justice in the U.S. healthcare system: Mercy is sustainable; the insatiable thirst for profit is not. Springer.
Eckelman, E. J., & Sherman, J. (2016). Environmental impacts of the U.S. health care system and effects on public health. PLOS ONE, 11(6), 1-14. Web.