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According to Shi & Singh (2018), health policies are developed in order to serve the public’s interests, and in this particular case, Healthy People 2020 was created to help encourage healthy habits of all Americans. Healthy People 2020 can help assist health care delivery systems by providing incentives for reaching certain goals, which in the end would encourage people to want to become healthy and develop healthy habits. It is a known fact that people respond when they can get something in return.
The Healthy People (HP) initiative is a program that has coordinated activity to reach national goals in prevention and healthy living (Hesse et al., 2014). Many of the original objectives of the program focused on improving health and safety of infants, children, adolescents, and adults (Hesse et al., 2014). This has been around since 2010, just over a decade. Healthy People has created numerous initiatives to help American people, some of which have blossomed over the years while some barely hit off the ground.
The initiative I chose to discuss about was one of the Healthy People 2010 original goals, to eliminate health disparities between different segments of the population, including those relating to gender, race and ethnicity, education, income, disability, living in rural locations, and sexual orientation (Davis, 2000).
This initiative was important, and still, as there are always inequities among the American people. As we learned in previous sections of this course, there are many populations and racial groups who face a harder time receiving health than others. This initiative has allowed for new offices of minority health to be developed, which will assist in the coordination of disparities reduction effort (Institute of Medicine, 2012). Furthermore, the legislation mandated a study of value-based purchasing programs, including programs for Medicare populations, by race/ethnicity (Institute of Medicine, 2012).
After some research, I came across quite a few weaknesses in this initiative. First off, while life expectancy has increased steadily over the years, African American males still have the shortest life expectancy of all groups (Institute of Medicine, 2012). HIV infection/AIDS is another large weakness in which large disparities exist, in fact, African American men are at a particularly high risk of dying from HIV infection, despite the introduction and usage of antiretroviral therapy (Institute of Medicine, 2012). Furthermore, there was a deep analysis completed that evaluated the progress toward meeting HP 2010 targets. It was concluded that no significant change in disparities had occurred for at least 70 percent of the leading health indicator objectives, the group seeing the fewest changes were the American Indians/Alaska Natives (Institute of Medicine, 2012). There is clearly still much work to be done toward HP’s goals.
I think there are still many opportunities that HP has to help improve the lives of the American people. In accordance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it reaffirms the themes being promoted by Healthy People. What worked in 2010 will be a great advantage for Healthy People 2020, and what did not work, will help set the stage for the next decade.
Due to having 28 focus areas in eliminating health disparities, there are some posed threats. With mental health being a crisis for so long, it has taken a lot of lives due to suicide. Furthermore, access the healthcare has not always been easy and honestly, still is not for some. This remains to be a risk and a threat to completely eliminating health disparities across race/ethnicities.
Davis, R. M. (2000). Healthy people 2010: Objectives for the united states. BMJ, 320(7238), 818–819. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7238.818
Hesse, B. W., Gaysynsky, A., Ottenbacher, A., Moser, R. P., Blake, K. D., Chou, W. Y. S., Vieux, S., & Beckjord, E. (2014). Meeting the healthy people 2020 goals: Using the health information national trends survey to monitor progress on health communication objectives. Journal of Health Communication, 19(12), 1497–1509. https://doi.org/10.1080/10810730.2014.954084
Institute of Medicine (US). (2012). Healthy people 2010: How far have we come in reducing health disparities? – how far have we come in reducing health disparities? – NCBI bookshelf. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK114239/
Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2018). Essentials of the U.S. health care system (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
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The Future of Health Services Delivery
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The Healthy People Initiatives had been initially launched back in 1979 with the release of Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention as an answer to the need for planning, managing and growing the healthcare system (Green & Fielding, 2011). Now for every ten years since the establishment, there has been updates, reviews and implementations through the public and private sectors where they have reached the federal, states and communities including the population. According to Shi & Singh (2019), there are three main goals of the Healthy People Initiative as encouraging collaborations, empowering the individual to make smart health decisions and measuring the impact of prevention.
Healthy People Initiative 2010 had a varying amount of ideas, goals and purposes though mainly focused on the improving of the life quality. This initiative was launched in year 2000 and ran through year 2010. Fueled with the success of Healthy People 2000 this initiative strived on personal choices within the social and physical environment (Ambrose et al., 2001). The two primary goals were to increase and improve quality of life and eliminate health disparities (Green & Fielding, 2011).
Strengths: “Healthy People 2010” was able to add to the previous initiatives and act more aggressively with the objective to eliminate disparities instead of reducing those (Green & Fielding, 2011). In the initiative, they were able to set goals that provided for a better and proficient healthcare system that at the time the United States of America had been severely lacking. Another goal was the leading health indicators which was supporting “coordinate effort and foster action-oriented partnerships in the public health sector and clinical health professionals” (Ambrose et al., 2001) which expressed the high priority health problems within the country.
Weaknesses: The goals that the Healthy People Initiative had were not realistic and helped to brighten the behaviors that individuals had that may have placed too much attention on them. Studies have shown that physician advice can help a person stop smoking but only a few may receive this information (Ambrose et al., 2001).
Opportunities: The Healthy People Initiative of 2010 had the support with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since this gave “the Healthy People Initiative 2010 a greater spotlight but it also helped sustain the objectives (Green & Fielding, 2011).” Along with the ACA, Healthy People 2010 helped spur employee participation in weight control programs and health eating by offering financial incentives from employers (Green & Fielding 2011).
Threats: There had been some threats to the Healthy People especially during the time of execution and with the progression of the population has managed to direct impact access in healthcare. As the advancement in population occurred, healthcare became more necessary which led to the increase in costs that unfortunately the facilities had been unable to match hence the inequality in the quality of life.
The Healthy People Initiative 2020 has managed to place the direction back on the patient and their choices and as well as with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they have been able to reach previous unattainable goals such the overall improvement in their life quality or the improving of access to healthcare. According to King James Bible Online (2021), 1 Corinthians 3:16 states, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” This Bible verse is open that showcases that health is vital to not only the patient, their families but to God himself.
Ambrose, P., Wykoff, R. F., & Lurie, N. (2001). The case for an ancient cause. Healthy people 2010. Postgraduate medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11265367 .
Green, L. W., Fielding, J. (2011). The U.S. healthy people initiative: Its genesis and its sustainability. Annual review of public health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21417753 .
King James Bible Online. (2021). 1 Corinthians 3:16. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-Corinthians-3-16/. Accessed April 16, 2021.
Shi, L., & Singh, D.A. (2019). Essentials of the US healthcare system (5th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
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