NURS FPX4050 Assessment 2

Ethical and Policy Factors in Care Coordination

Name

Capella University

FPX4050

Instructor’s Name

October 2023

Hello, today I am going to discuss the ethical and policy factors in care coordination. In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, the effective coordination and continuum of care are paramount to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients and communities. This presentation delves into the critical intersection of these factors, exploring their implications on the ethical dimensions of care coordination. It aims to provide insights into the ethical challenges and opportunities faced by healthcare professionals in their pursuit of comprehensive, patient-centered care by illuminating how local, state, and federal policies, as well as the social determinants of health, affect care coordination.

Governmental Policies Related to the Health and Safety of a Community

Government policies, often enshrined in legislation and regulations, can both facilitate and hinder effective care coordination. For instance, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the United States, which introduced numerous healthcare reforms, has had a profound impact on care coordination (Peterson et al., 2019). Under the ACA, accountable care organizations (ACOs) were established to promote collaborative care among different healthcare providers, improving communication, reducing duplicative tests, and ultimately enhancing patient outcomes. These ACOs are incentivized to work together to provide high-quality care at a lower cost. Such policies encourage healthcare professionals to work together and share information, leading to more seamless coordination of care (Peterson et al., 2019).

On the other hand, policies can also present challenges to care coordination. HIPAA in the U.S. mandates strict rules regarding patient privacy and the protection of personal health information. While essential for patient confidentiality, it can create hurdles in sharing crucial patient data among healthcare providers involved in care coordination (Bodie, 2021). These policies often require the careful navigation of legal and ethical considerations to ensure both patient privacy and efficient coordination. Governmental policies are a double-edged sword in the context of care coordination, providing the framework for collaboration while imposing specific requirements and constraints that care coordinators must consider when navigating the healthcare landscape (Bodie, 2021).

National, State, and Local Policy Provisions that Raise Ethical Questions

A number of healthcare policy provisions at the federal, state, and local levels present moral issues and conundrums for care coordination. HIPAA is a key national policy. HIPAA protects patient privacy, but it can create moral conundrums for care coordination (Green et al., 2020). Healthcare providers may grapple with how to balance the imperative of protecting patient confidentiality with the need to share critical patient information among the care team. This tension raises ethical questions about when and how it’s appropriate to share sensitive patient data, as withholding information could compromise patient care, but over-sharing could breach confidentiality (Green et al., 2020). Striking the right balance between patient privacy and effective care coordination is a moral and ethical challenge that care coordinators face under this national policy.

At the state level, policies regarding Medicaid and eligibility criteria can introduce ethical concerns. Medicaid is a lifeline for low-income individuals, but eligibility criteria can be restrictive (Francis & Silvers, 2019). This policy provision poses ethical dilemmas for care coordinators when they encounter individuals who may not qualify for Medicaid but are in desperate need of healthcare services. Decisions about advocating for these individuals, seeking exemptions, or exploring alternative resources become complex ethical issues (Francis & Silvers, 2019). Care coordinators must consider the broader ethical principle of providing care to those in need while complying with eligibility criteria set by the state.

Local policies can also present ethical challenges. For instance, zoning laws and land use policies can influence the distribution of healthcare facilities. In some cases, disadvantaged communities may have limited access to healthcare due to these local policies. Care coordinators serving these areas face ethical dilemmas as they witness the unequal distribution of healthcare resources (Kleemola et al., 2020). Advocating for policy changes that promote equity in healthcare access may conflict with existing local policies, raising ethical questions about social justice and the duty of care coordinators to address these disparities (Kleemola et al., 2020).

Impact of the Code of Ethics on Care Coordination

The Code of Ethics for Nurses, has a significant impact on care coordination. It offers a framework for nursing professionals and places emphasis on key ethical principles including patient advocacy, individuality, and the obligation to provide safe and effective care (Stievano & Tschudin, 2019). This code fosters a culture of patient-centered care, where nurses prioritize patient well-being and ensure continuity of care. Moreover, the code encourages collaboration and communication among healthcare providers, a vital aspect of care coordination, as it underscores the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork in delivering holistic and patient-centric care (Stievano & Tschudin, 2019). By adhering to the code, nurses actively engage in ethical decision-making and promote patient rights, contributing to effective care coordination.

The Code is particularly profound when viewed through the lens of social determinants of health. Nurses, as advocates for their patients, are well-positioned to address health disparities and promote access to services. The code encourages nurses to consider the broader factors influencing health outcomes, including socioeconomic status, education, and access to care (Stievano & Tschudin, 2019). By adhering to this code, nurses are more likely to advocate for equitable care, actively addressing disparities that affect vulnerable populations. This not only enhances the coordination of care but also helps in bridging gaps in healthcare access and service provision.

Conclusion

This presentation has unveiled the intricate relationship between healthcare policies, ethical considerations, and social determinants of health, emphasizing their profound impact on care coordination. It has underscored the importance of healthcare providers, particularly nurses, adhering to the Code of Ethics as a guiding light for navigating these complex waters. By recognizing and addressing the ethical dilemmas posed by policies like HIPAA, Medicaid eligibility criteria, and zoning laws, care coordinators can work towards delivering more equitable and patient-centric care. Moreover, a deeper understanding of the social determinants of health allows healthcare professionals to actively engage in the pursuit of health equity, mitigating disparities in access to healthcare services. This presentation ultimately empowers healthcare providers to not only uphold ethical standards but also advocate for policies and practices that contribute to the well-being and health of their communities.

References

Bodie, M. T. (2021). HIPPA. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3958563

Francis, L., & Silvers, A. (2019). Achieving meaningful access to medicaid. Hastings Center Report, 49(2), 3–3. https://doi.org/10.1002/hast.985

Green, T., DeMay, J., Sierra, T., Zucker, K. W., & Unsworth, C. (MAJ) J. D. (2020). The ethical issues of healthcare insurance coverage. Journal of Legal Medicine, 40(sup2), 41–41. https://doi.org/10.1080/01947648.2020.1833669

Kleemola, E., Leino-Kilpi, H., & Numminen, O. (2020). Care situations demanding moral courage: Content analysis of nurses’ experiences. Nursing Ethics, 27(3), 096973301989778. https://doi.org/10.1177/0969733019897780

Peterson, K., Anderson, J., Bourne, D., Charns, M. P., Gorin, S. S., Hynes, D. M., McDonald, K. M., Singer, S. J., & Yano, E. M. (2019). Health care coordination theoretical frameworks: A systematic scoping review to increase their understanding and use in practice. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 34(S1), 90–98. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-019-04966-z

Stievano, A., & Tschudin, V. (2019). The ICN code of ethics for nurses: A time for revision. International Nursing Review, 66(2), 154–156. https://doi.org/10.1111/inr.12525

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