Week 14: Strategies for Increasing Consumer Participation in the Policy Process

It is important for consumers; this means every eligible citizen, to be involved in the process of policy making. According to Kraft and Furlong (2015), this ensures that the general public’s interests are taken into account during the policy process. The thing is that the public may not realize that they have a voice that needs to and will be heard. Kraft and Furlong (2015) describe it as citizens not completely understanding how policy decisions can and do affect their everyday lives and the fact that they could made a difference. Sometimes if there is enough support or opposition on an issue this can affect the decision that is made by policy makers but it is up to the public to make their point of view seen and understood. Fortunately there are a number of ways to help increase consumer participation in the policy process.

As this topic pertains to NPs as the consumers, according to Dr Denise Link (personal communication, April 13, 2015), it is imperative that people know about the opportunities to serve and actually participate in the endeavors. This means showing up and being a part of the conversation. Educating ourselves (consumers) about the issues and having educated and informed discussions about them (the issues) makes us better able to communicate the effects that the policy to be made would have on us.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is helping to exemplify a strategy to increase consumer participation in the policy process by creating a forum for all registered nurses (RN) and advance practice nurses (APN) who feel that the 40 hour per week definition of full-time employment would impact them negatively to share their stories (www.rnaction.org, 2014). A link has been sent by email to RNs and APNs all over the country to make their comments. This is definitely a way for this sub population of the public to possibly make an impact on a policy that would affect their everyday lives through employment and livelihood.

Access to general information has become quite easy. The media is constantly reporting on issues even policy issues. Internet access is common place. Even people with no internet or computer at home can go to a library or their place of work, if they are allowed to, to use this method to research resources and information from databases. There are also social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter where numerous topics are being discussed. While these are sources of information, not all information acquired from these sources are valid and further efforts by consumers would be needed to ensure that accurate information is what is being used in their efforts to participate in the policy process.

References

American Nurses Association (ANA). (2014). When Nurses Talk…Washington Listens. Retrieved from http://www.rnaction.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=12121&em_id=15681.0

Kraft, M., & Furlong, S. (2015). Public policy: Politics, analysis, and alternatives (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press.

Week 13: Sustaining Innovative Environments: Consideration of Time and Scope

Sustaining an innovative environment requires continuously innovative contribution being made to that environment. Leonard-Barton (1995) describes a one method of building and sustaining the sources of innovation through knowledge building activities. The author further explains that this method requires sharing in and creatively solving problems, integrating and implementing new methods and tools to accomplish a stated innovative goal, and trying tested and proven strategies while not being afraid to try a new strategy that has never been used before, kind of a formal and informal experimentation of sorts; and utilizing external sources of expertise. This obviously requires a team effort. Members of the team would have a vital role to play in order to sustain the innovative enterprise even though it may be one team member’s idea that starts the entire process.

Any member could be the leader or all members may have leadership skills and roles that would assist in making sure that the expected innovative goal is always in sight and kept alive in everyone’s view. Deschamps (2013) describes innovation governance as an organized way of supporting goals, distributing resources and designating decision making authority for innovation across throughout the organization and its partners and customers. This is a way of making sure that no one loses sight of the goal including outsiders looking in at the innovation at whatever stage of the process it is in. Be it development, design, implementation or evaluation.

Buckley (n.d.) describes some ways to create and sustain a culture of innovation through immersing two companies’ executives and understanding how both organizations shared similar ways of starting the spark of innovation in the organizations. Accepting failure as part of the process is a way to learn from possible mistakes or just realize that the technique was not what was needed. Avoiding delays when trying an innovative idea is also important as wasting time only means finding out what will or will not work later rather than sooner. Allowing other team members input is vital as no one knows it all. This should be encouraged throughout the organization and creates a culture of innovation through innovative ideas. Encouraging leaders to emerge through innovative processes and allowing these leaders to actually lead is crucial as it contributes to sustaining innovation and all should accept that as humans we are always searching for a better way to do things and this in and of itself is innovation.

References

Buckley, L. (n.d.) Six Ways to Create—and Sustain—a Culture of Innovation. Retrieved from http://www.whatifinnovation.com/greenhouse/6-ways-to-create-and-sustain-a-culture-of-innovation

Deschamps, J. (2013). What is Innovation Governance? – Definition and Scope. Retrieved from http://www.innovationmanagement.se/2013/05/03/what-is-innovation-governance-definition-and-scope/

Leonard-Barton, D. (1995). Wellsprings of knowledge: Building and sustaining the sources of innovation. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.

Week 12: Health Care Financing

Pradhan (n.d). describes the definition of healthcare financing as a gathering of funds for use in healthcare and allocating these funds to places and populations that need the funds for specific healthcare issues. Funding comes from sources such as healthcare insurance which is generated through employment based insurance coverage premiums and there is also the government’s contributions to healthcare funding through the national budget that is created every year. These contributions better known as Medicare and Medicaid are healthcare insurance programs administered through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and primarily provide healthcare coverage to a specific part of the population along with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The U.S. Dept of Labor reported that approximately two thirds of the population was covered through employment-based medical plans (www.dol.gov, 2001). This appears to be old data but a more recent report by the Robert J Wood Foundation shows that that number is now about 60% and declining (www.rwjf.org, 2013). The report gave numerous the reasons for this decline as: fewer employers are offering employer sponsored insurance coverage and fewer employees are accepting what is offered; insurance premium costs have been rising steadily; just as the portion of the premium employees had to pay has risen while the dollar amounts of contributions from employees has doubled;  more young adults are receiving coverage from employer sponsored insurance plans; these employer sponsored insurance rates vary across states with some significance and the sector of the population with lower income is the most affected (www.rwjf.org, 2013).

From the above discussion employment, both employers and employees, has a significant role in contributing to healthcare financing. Employees, both full-time and part-time have the option of purchasing healthcare insurance coverage through their employer. Employers on the other hand are mandated to offer insurance benefits to full-time employees at the best rate they can negotiate with the insurance provider depending on how many employees will purchase the insurance plan. The question I ask is how this will be affected if the policy for full-time employment to be defined as 40 hours per week is passed. As mentioned in previous weeks the concern has been that employers may try to take advantage of the policy leaving employees with no healthcare insurance and these employees possibly becoming dependent on the government either through Medicaid or other programs causing a burden on healthcare financing.

It is therefore very important that the effects of this new policy be completely analyzed in order to ascertain that it will cause the most benefit and minimize negative consequences from its passage. Even I have to admit that not everything that is god for the goose is also good for the gander but I also know that not everyone can be satisfied by every decision and ultimately the impact with the most positive effects is what needs to be done.

References

Pradhan, P. (n.d). Health Care Financing. Retrieved from www.pitt.edu/~super7/16011-17001/16161.ppt

Robert J. Wood Foundation. (2013). Number of Americans Obtaining Health Insurance Through an Employer Declines Steadily Since 2000. Retrieved from http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/articles-and-news/2013/04/number-of-americans-obtaining-health-insurance-through-an-employ.html

United States Department of Labor. (2001). Report of the Working Group on Challenges to the Employment-Based Healthcare System. Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/AC_1114b01_report.html

Week 11: Characteristics of Innovation and Change Agents