The drastic changes in the cost of health care have significantly urged beneficiaries to apply for more efficient and affordable health care plans provided by the best healthcare organizations. Recession has been proven to be a critical factor in threatening the health of modern-day society individuals and thus most if not all are unable to acquire the healthcare needs that their families call for (Politzer, 2005).
As healthcare providers are stepping up their efficiency on delivering services through the use of technological advancements and support services aided in a financial spectrum, there also exists issues that affect the working environment in an organization—culture and politics for example, are dimensions of healthcare which are arguably detrimental in some point. It is inevitable to have conflicting sets of ideas per member and diversity among views and traditions are critical when it comes to decision-making process (TMB, 2009).
Overview: The Healthcare Organization According to the Texas Medical Board demographics, the state as of January this year has 46,703 active physicians in practice while there are 146 active physicians who are not in practice. Consequently, the highest number of physicians as categorized by county comes from Harris with 10,296. This then is followed by Dallas with 6,944; Bexar with 4,495; Tarrant with 3,320; Travis with 2,703 and Collin with 1361 among others (TMB, 2009).
The Texas Medical Board is noted to be the aide of the state in establishing welfare and maintaining standards of excellence used in regulating the practice of medicine, hence ensuring that the citizens of Texas shall receive quality healthcare service. In a report published by TMB, the highest numbers of physicians practice internal medicine with 7,478—7,155 MD’s and 323 DO’s—subsequently family practice with 6,807 and pediatrics with 4471 practitioners. One example of a healthcare provider within the state is the Baylor Health Care System.
The latter began operating in 1903 as the Texas Baptist Memorial Sanitarium and is currently a non-profit health care system that provides advanced health care procedures and treatments to all people especially those living in North Texas. The system maintains at least 83 primary care and specialty care centers across Texas as part of its efforts to provide accessible health care to the people (“Baylor Health Care System,”). It has been a fact that healthcare providers are expected to serve the community in the most effective and efficient manner that its services should at least be affordable to its constituents.
The organization’s website notes that in the year 2006, they have reached a record of $405. 6 million in community benefit expenditures. As a matter of fact, Baylor’s operations, which have been existent for more than a hundred years commenced on non-profit systems, medicine support and free health education (“Baylor Health Care System,”). Assessment Baylor Health Care System organization admits that the tough times of economic instability has cost them an increasing number of nurse and physician shortage.
Hence, the administrative department of the institution is looking for means to maintain the quality of their services by constantly monitoring their standards and emphasize the importance of their employees by providing them the benefits, integrity and respect that they deserve. Aside from that, a quantity of aspects of healthcare sponsorship is predisposed by industry setting, while the distinctive ownership composition of healthcare providers controls definite applications of finance concepts (“29 CFR 825. 118 – What is a “health care provider”?
,” 1995). Perceivably, the organization presented innovative perspectives that create the framework in which finance is practiced in health services organizations. To appreciate the strains that aides must cope with at work, day by day, healthcare organizations are obliged to deem the complete range of pressure that are experienced in their totality and the complexity, and circuitous ways these pressures affect hospital patients. There is the structure of the nursing hierarchy, with aides uncomfortably on the bottom.
There is also the need to put one’s foot forward with patients’ relatives, to declare nonentity of pressures from their own families (Rivett ; Roberts, 1995). In the light, there is the convoluted mixture of attachments, obligations, and antagonisms drawn in with meeting the demands of frail and dependent residents—in all their relations at work, race, ethnicity, and gender. All these consequently play a role in providing important sources of cohesion among health-related aides, nonetheless also, at times, aggravating divisions, disparities and tensions that arise with other groups in the healthcare systems.
Such are inevitable consequences but remedied with ample standards being met. National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 o o o x x x x x x x x o x x Legend: O – Partially Met X – Fully Met Meeting the standards for cultural and linguistic competency can greatly help Baylor Heath Care in effectively keeping in touch with the needs of their patients who are coming from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. As linguistic competency is achieved, the health care staff of Baylor in its various facilities across Texas can easily establish rapport with the patients.
Patients with various linguistic backgrounds will have no problem reporting to the hospital staff what they are feeling with regard to their health (Pathman ; Konrad, 1996). They will also have little to worry about doctors getting the wrong information from how their health conditions are. For instance, patients who are native Spanish speakers and who also speak English as their secondary language can easily be understood by the hospital staff, giving the latter the capacity to gather more information about their patients.
Meeting the cultural competency requirements is also a big advantage for the staff of Baylor Health Care System when dealing with patients who are not native Texans. By being able to understand the cultural upbringing of their patients who are not native Texans, the hospital staff will be able to understand the predicaments of their patients much better as opposed to being completely clueless about the behavioral tendencies of their patients due to their cultural background.
The fact that Baylor handles a wide variety of patients in terms of cultural and linguistic background suggests that there is an apparent need to address such varieties. The inability to understand the linguistic and cultural components of the personalities of their patients can hinder them not only from communicating effectively with their patients but also from ultimately rendering efficient services to these people (Sen, 2005).
Given the fact that Baylor was able to partially meet Standards 1 for Culturally Competent Care through its adoption of the Code of Ethics when dealing with people of varying cultural health practices, there remains the need to improve on the practice of health care that is compatible with the cultural health beliefs as well as the preferred language of the patients. For partially meeting Standard 2, Baylor System needs to further develop its existing hiring policy based on current records of patient demographics.
The System should reintroduce a recruitment scheme of its potential members of its staff representative of the demographics of its clients. As for Standard 3, the System also needs to provide seminars as well as training facilities for its staff concerning the need to promote linguistic and cultural diversity. Aside from the existing monthly linguistic trainings assigned for new staff members, Baylor should also strive to increase its number of resident doctors with sufficient knowledge of handling patients with linguistic diversity.
Although improving the practices of Baylor in order to meet the first three standards requires ample time and resources on the part of the System, having a staff that is composed of competent individuals representative of the demographics of their patients and capable of communicating with their patients will reduce the risk of having unsatisfied clients. Moreover, given the fact that Baylor was able to meet the Standards 4 to 7 for Language Access Services through its employment of hospital staff representative of the cultural demographics prevalent in Texas, it suggests that the System should be able to sustain its current standing.
In addressing the requirements for Standard 4, Baylor provides competent desk information services which feature, among others, a staff able to understand and communicate in English and Spanish. The System also provides handouts in at least two languages which contain the most basic information on the services that they provide. In meeting Standard 5, Baylor gives its clients documents pertaining to the services that they avail in both English and in the language that the clients prefer.
Also, Baylor gives a prior written notice to its patients upon admission informing them about the existing linguistic policies of the hospital according to the needs of the patient. In meeting Standard 6, Baylor monitors the linguistic competency of its staff through surveys from patients which aim to rate the language assistance provided by the staff. Lastly, Baylor fully meets Standard 7 through its use of local street signage in bilingual format informing the public about its health services.
Baylor also has publicly available catalogues and pamphlets in simple English language which contain general information about what the patients can expect from the services that the System offers. In terms of Standards 8 to 14 under the category Organizational Supports for Cultural Competence, Baylor has been able to regularly publicize the continuous development of its programs in increasing the multicultural staff composition and in implementing policies that direct staff members to let no person regardless of culture be left unattended to.
In fully meeting Standard 8, Baylor maintains a written record of its strategic plan for every year, making appropriate changes depending on the feedback from its clients. The System also seeks and uses surveys from local independent health organizations in assessing the appropriateness of the linguistic services it provides in relation to its health services. In meeting Standard 9, Baylor makes regular monthly integrations of its self-assessment mechanisms taken from the internal auditing team with the performance evaluation from its clients.
Baylor then makes use of the integrated assessments in creating monthly reports on the satisfaction of its clients, vis-a-vis the actual linguistic services rendered. As for Standard 10, Baylor regularly updates its database of patient records including patient data on race, ethnicity and language. The System currently maintains paper records in its records section as well as digital records of patient information through an online and a separate offline database.
In fully meeting Standard 11, Baylor also keeps track of the communities in Texas to where each hospital under the system renders health services. Every hospital under Baylor creates community profiles consisting of demographics, epidemiology and cultural composition. Selected relevant portions of these profiles are then publicly released through local newspapers and radio stations on selected quarters of each year. As for Standard 12, however, Baylor only partially meets the need for participatory and collaborative partnerships with the local communities in the Texas area.
Although Baylor System does not lack in creating participatory programs which involve people from the local communities, the System still needs to reconsider its efforts in creating programs that require the participation of local communities in specific roles in such programs (O’Neill, 2004). Baylor should not solely depend on itself in formulating community health services; it needs to improve on establishing rapport and a vibrant exchange of ideas with the local communities.
Baylor nevertheless fully meets Standard 13 through its Complaint Department which handles patient grievances. The department takes serious consideration for complaints that may involve sensitive cultural and linguistic issues which run opposite to Baylor’s cultural and linguistic policies. Complaints are recorded and addressed the soonest time possible and adjustments focusing on client needs are introduced accordingly in order to prevent further occurrence of such issues.
Lastly, the fact that Baylor makes public announcements about its reports on the system’s performance through print and broadcast media suggests that Baylor fully meets the requirements set forth in Standard 14. Conclusion Baylor Health Care System continues to this day as one of the prominent health care service providers in the Texas region. Although the many branches of Baylor can be found largely within the Texas area, its patients are composed of individuals coming from different parts of the country who would like to avail of Baylor’s services.
More importantly, Baylor’s lists of patients are composed of a wide variety of individuals coming from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The need to address the current stream of a diverse culture of people in Baylor, therefore, is an urgent one. Although Baylor already has its own policies and mechanisms working in order to meet the challenge of accommodating every patient regardless of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, there remains the need to continue to improve the current services being provided as well as the prevailing hospital policies.
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Politzer, R. M. (2005). The United States Health Centers Initiative: A State by State Status Report. Journal of Public Health Policy, 26(4), 418-429. Rivett, P. , ; Roberts, P. (1995). Community Health Care in Rochdale Family Health Services Authority. The Journal of the Operational Research Society, 46(9), 1079-1089. Sen, A. (2005). Is Health Care a Luxury? New Evidence from OECD Data. International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, 5(2), 147-164. TMB, M. B. T. (2009). Version]. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from http://www. tmb. state. tx. us/