For this Assignment, select a local or state (CALIFORNIA) health care policy or legislation that was enacted in the last 5 years. Then:
- Summarize the policy or legislation.
- Analyze at least one strength and one weakness of the policy or legislation.
- Discuss the impact of the policy or legislation for all stakeholders, both providers, and consumers.
Page length: 3-4 pages exclusive of cover page and references.
Support your paper with a minimum of three scholarly references.
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Your writing Assignment should:
- follow the conventions of Standard English (correct grammar, punctuation, etc.)
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A Recent California Healthcare Policy Analysis
Immunization programs have remained essential healthcare interventions around the globe for many years. However, the United States has been experiencing a public health concern regarding the public`s reluctance and refusal to receive vaccination due to various reasons including religious and philosophical beliefs. This in turn, has led to a substantial increase in the rates of non-medical exemptions in the country over the past few decades. Furthermore, the trend for increased non-medical exemptions in the United States is more pronounced in states that have inadequate or ineffective healthcare policies regarding the issue. To illustrate, many states have provided parents with the option of waiving the present immunization requirement for children who are seeking entry into school or daycare. Therefore, the healthcare policy that eliminates non-medical immunization exemptions in the state of California does not only have various strengths and weaknesses but has also significantly impacted all the stakeholders in the healthcare system.
Summary of the Healthcare Policy
A recent healthcare policy that was implemented in the State of California is a legislation that outlawed non-medical exemptions for immunization. In particular, the state of California enacted a senate bill 277 that eliminated non-medical vaccination exemptions in response to the outbreak of diseases that were preventable by immunization such as the measles outbreak in 2015 (Delamater et al., 2019). In addition, the healthcare policy requires the state to issue a standard medical exemption certification form that is supposed to be filled by the doctor and send to the school in order for a child to gain entry (Cole, Moon & Howard, 2019). To illustrate, the form contains a physician`s statement regarding the child`s physical or medical condition that makes immunization unsafe, the specific vaccines which are exempted and an indication whether the exemption is granted on a temporary or permanent basis (Mohanty et al., 2018). Thus, the form indicates the exemption details such as the medical basis for exemption from immunization.
Moreover, the legislation also gives the state department of health the authority to investigate schools and physicians. For instance, institutions that record an immunization rate of less than ninety five percent and doctors that grant five or more medical vaccination exemptions in a year are investigated by the state (Cole, Moon & Howard, 2019). Nevertheless, the law grants authority to the state to revoke any medical vaccination exemptions by public health officers or state physicians which are considered inappropriate (Cole, Moon & Howard, 2019). Therefore, healthcare policy was aimed at safeguarding children and communities in the state against outbreaks of diseases which are preventable by immunization by increasing the overall vaccination rates for school going children.
The Strength and Weaknesses of the Healthcare Policy
The healthcare policy restricting immunization exemptions has various strengths and weaknesses. In particular, the California law which restricts immunization exemptions has been effective in increasing vaccination rates in the state. To illustrate, research has shown a significant increase in the number of children who have received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine since the enactment of the law. According to Kurtzman (2019), the MMR vaccination coverage increased by more than three percent across the state following the implementation of the healthcare policy. Moreover, the number of non-medical exemptions in the state also decreased by more than two percent after the enactment of the legislation (Kurtzman, 2019). Thus, the policy change on the exemptions from immunization has increased the overall vaccination rate in California to about ninety five percent (Kurtzman, 2019). Thus, the immunization policy has been effective in increasing vaccination rates in the state
In contrast, the law may increase the cases of medical exemptions in schools thereby increasing the susceptibility of students to potential outbreaks and transmission of diseases which can be prevented through immunization. To illustrate parents who hold philosophical or religious beliefs may decide to pursue medical exemptions as an alternative thereby eroding the purpose of the policy (Mohanty et al., 2018). In addition, loopholes in the law has increased doctors who may be willing to write medical exemptions for parents that either refuse or are reluctant to embrace immunization programs since the legislation does not specify conditions that are covered under medical exemptions (Mohanty et al., 2018). To illustrate, some physicians not only advertise medical exemptions for a fee but also medical exemptions are being granted by unauthorized healthcare professionals such as nurses, cardiologists and surgeons who do not treat children. Thus, the legislation may increase the rates of medical exemptions thereby increasing the vulnerability of children to disease outbreaks.
The Impact of the Healthcare Policy for all Stakeholders
The California healthcare legislation which eliminates non-medical immunization exemptions has affected various stakeholders. Foremost, the law has increased the burden on the staff of the schools by giving learning institutions the responsibility of ensuring that the all the requirements in the law are met and filed away (Mohanty et al., 2018). In addition, schools face the risk of losing their average daily attendance funding by excluding students who do not meet the requirements of the healthcare policy from joining the institution (Mohanty et al., 2018). Secondly, the law has exposed physicians to potential disciplinary actions for lack of compliance. In particular, the law gives physicians the authority to make decisions regarding individuals that are eligible for exemption thereby exposing them to disciplinary actions when they are misled by parents. To illustrate, the state conducts a review on physicians that grant more than five medical exemptions in a year (Cole, Moon & Howard, 2019). Thirdly, the policy has both a positive and negative impact on the consumers of healthcare. In particular, the law has increased parents` compliance with regulations in high-risk areas and the number of children who are immunized. Nevertheless, the law has caused frustration on some parents who previously sort exemption on personal beliefs thereby making them to seek alternatives such as medical exemptions or home schooling.
All in all, the healthcare policy that eliminates non-medical immunization exemptions in the state of California does not only have various strengths and weaknesses but has also significantly impacted all the stakeholders in the healthcare system. The state of California enacted a senate bill that eliminated non-medical vaccination exemptions by requiring physicians to complete a form and include details about child`s physical or medical condition that makes immunization unsafe, the specific vaccines which are exempted and an indication whether the exemption is temporary or permanent. While the law been effective in increasing vaccination rates in the state, the policy could also increase the cases of medical exemptions in schools thereby increasing the susceptibility of students to potential outbreaks. The California healthcare legislation which eliminates non-medical immunization exemptions has affected various stakeholders such as the schools, physicians and consumers.
Cole, D., Moon, S. & Howard, J. (2019). California governor signs bills limiting vaccine exemptions. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/10/politics/california-vaccine-bill-gavin-newsom/index.html
Delamater, P. L., Pingali, S. C., Buttenheim, A. M., Salmon, D. A., Klein, N. P., & Omer, S. B. (2019). Elimination of Nonmedical Immunization Exemptions in California and School-Entry Vaccine Status. Pediatrics, e20183301. doi:10.1542/peds.2018-3301
Kurtzman, L. (2019). Barring nonmedical exemptions increases vaccination rates, study finds. Retrieved from https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2019/12/416271/barring-nonmedical-exemptions-increases-vaccination-rates-study-finds
Mohanty, S., Buttenheim, A. M., Joyce, C. M., Howa, A. C., Salmon, D., & Omer, S. B. (2018). Experiences with medical exemptions after a change in vaccine exemption policy in California. Pediatrics, 142(5), e20181051. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2018-1051