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HCA 255 TOPIC 4 DQ 1
Compliance with health care policies protects patients, staff, and the public. Provide one example of a health policy that protects patients as well as other stakeholders, and identify the agency that enforces the policy. Is enforcement fully funded? Why or why not?
Compliance with health care policies protects patients, staff, and the public from harm. Health care agencies must follow numerous policies to protect the wellbeing of each stakeholder and the general public. The number of policies is constantly growing as medical advances are made.  For example, a privacy policy is needed to keep patient records confidential and secure. Compliance with these policies is not always met and often not enforced, which leaves those involved in providing health care vulnerable to attack by other violent criminals. Enforcement of these policies is not fully funded because the department responsible for their enforcement is unable to keep up with the growing number of policies.
Fully funding and enforcing institutional health care policies helps to ensure patient safety. This keeps patients, staff, visitors, and the public safe by promoting a healthy environment. An example of an important policy that helps keep everyone safe is infection control. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Health Education and Communication Program (HCAP) at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Community-associated Clostridium difficile infection is a serious problem that can sometimes occur in hospitals, but it also has been found in dialysis centers and other settings.” To help prevent this from occurring within your facility, we would recommend complying with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Seven Universal Steps of Infection Control. These steps include hand hygiene, patient classification, contact precautions, respiratory protection, instruments and devices reprocessing, disinfection and sterilization, and employee education. Compliance with these laws will help protect your patients by ensuring a healthier staff environment.
One way to protect the health of the public is through compliance with health care policy. One example to illustrate this point is Medicare. Medicare is a federal insurance program for people 65 and over, or who have disabilities that limit their ability to work. Medicare has a wide array of policies, including many that protect patients from dangerous diseases, unnecessary surgery, and other potential health threats. For example, Medicare requires hospitals to develop systems to monitor how well doctors and nurses adhere to their own policies as well as state laws. The goal of this policy is to keep patients safe from dangerous diseases, such as the Ebola virus.
The Joint Commission, an agency that accredits health care organizations throughout the world, has executed the Hospital Accreditation Program since 1951. This program was developed to reduce infections, improve standards of care and thereby enhance and protect patient safety. Enforcement of this program is funded by a nominal fee paid by eligible hospitals.
Health policies must be enforced if they are to be effective. For instance, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was passed in 1996 as a way to increase privacy as well as to simplify how health records are sent from one provider to another. This law is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights within the Department of Health and Human Services.
Federal laws protect patients, health care professionals and the public by ensuring that health professionals meet standards of education and training.
In my school every patient is required to wear a mask while in the clinic to prevent the spread of infections. The clinic is also required to comply with certain procedures such as having hands free sinks, and a designated area for hand washing. Patients are required to stay at least six feet away from patients who are sick so they won’t catch their illness, and the staff needs a record of how long they have been working so they don’t get overworked.
Health care professionals must comply with policies and procedures that involve a variety of issues, including patient privacy and waste management. If a practitioner or facility fails to meet certain standards, they are at risk of being reprimanded or facing bigger consequences. The charts below specifically explain the consequences of violations and provide examples of health care practices that can be in violation – ranging from sanitation to unauthorized storage of controlled substances. Health care practitioners should consult the statutes cited here to determine exactly what is required and how they are measured.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, provides for the establishment of many new health policies and programs. The PPACA also includes provisions to help ensure compliance with the law’s many health-related requirements.
“The Joint Commission has issued standards for Health Care Organizations and Programs to protect patients. These standards address:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which includes standards that protect health care policyholders from various forms of patient information theft. For example, if one’s personal health information is handled negligently or mishandled by anyone other than the policyholder, these organizations are required to reimburse all financial losses incurred by the policyholder. If a provider fails to cover these payments due to negligence on their behalf, they are also subject to fines of up to forty-five million dollars under HIPAA.