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Healthcare: Does Cost Efficiency Equal Least Costly?

1. Is it fair to require hospital emergency departments to provide unreimbursed care?
2. How do terms we use shape our beliefs (for example, charity care and bad debts both being considered uncompensated care)?
3. What does "quality of care" mean?
4. Does cost efficiency mean least costly? Why?

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1. Is it fair to require hospital emergency departments to provide unreimbursed care?

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act requires participating hospitals to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare regardless of ability to pay. From a Hippocratic Oath standpoint this is a reasonable since health care professionals pledge to, 'apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures {that} are required' and remember that as he or she has 'special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind as well as the infirm' (Tyson, 2001). Based upon this oath, it is within reason to expect healthcare professionals to treat those in need, presenting themselves at hospital emergency departments, regardless of their ability to pay. However, at the same time, should grocery store owners be forced to feed the homeless or those professing hunger without intention or perhaps means of paying? Is this not also a similar life and death situation? Where should the line in the sand be drawn? Should only life threatening situations be considered a reason for unreimbursed care? And if so, what agency or group will establish the rubric to determine the situations that are considered life threatening?

Another way to consider this question is if hospital emergency departments have a social ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses if it is fair to require hospital emergency rooms to provide unreimbursed case, how the terms we use shape our beliefs, what "quality of care" means, and is cost efficiency necessarily means least costly. Examples and reference are given.