The Norwegian Versus the American Healthcare System

America’s history is rooted so deeply in freedom of choice to either win or lose in one’s economic decisions. This can be epitomized by so many early Europeans coming to the New World in search of a new life, many of which had very little wealth in terms of personal property or education, but eventually pioneered much of the American wilderness creating farms, small communities, and big cities. From the earliest Americans that came to Jamestown Virginia to the more recent immigrants coming through Ellis Island, many of these Americans have argued for less government intervention in their lives and created a culture that keeps the government from controlling everyday choices like gun control to even universal healthcare. Even today, America does not even have a universal healthcare system, even though many other industrial nations do.

Many Americans argue that a universal healthcare system will not work in America because a large portion of Americans will simply take advantage of the system, in terms of not altering their unhealthy behavior, thus, running up the costs for everyone. Moreover, many feel that healthcare is simply not a privilege to be handed to everyone, and should be employer based to ensure everyone pays for their own healthcare, as much as possible. This seems to be a cultural issue rooted deeply in the American value of individuals being independent as much as possible from government influences. On the other hand, a country like Norway has some pure socialist practices, especially in the area of healthcare. In fact, everyone in Norway has healthcare. It is the law of the land.

Norwegians are more practical than Americans in how they spend their money, they enjoy saving money for quality health care. According to Bruce Bartlett, a Forbes Magazine columnist, on a per capita basis, Norwegians spend $4,763 per year, and covers everyone, while Americans spend $7,290. By various standards of health quality, like life expectancy or rate of preventable deaths, Norway does better than the U.S. One key measure is physicians per capita: America has 2.43 physicians compared with Norway’s 4 doctors per every 1,000 people, even though Norway spends a third less of its Gross Domestic Product on health care than the U.S. does.

Why is the cost of healthcare in Norway less than that in America? The eye catching statistic that reveals Norwegian superiority in providing lower cost healthcare is that the number of doctors in America, per capita, is actually less than in Norway. Perhaps increasing the supply of healthcare providers in America could lower overall healthcare expenditures for healthcare. Perhaps there is a deep rooted cultural reason in Norway that is helping to keep healthcare costs down. Maybe their society has a healthier population than countries like America.

Finally, it appears capitalistic and socialistic policies both can benefit a nation like America. America has the greatest GDP of any nation, but yet, does not provide a universal healthcare system for its citizens. One would think that through sheer size and because of its economic output, America could keep its healthcare costs lower for its citizens than a country like Norway. Perhaps the free market system in America will one day solve all of the demands that its citizens want, like universal healthcare. If not, perhaps a more controlled socialistic policy will be created providing universal healthcare that is similar to the one implemented in Norway. There is a school of thought for each economic approach, but the bottom line is, there is a cost to be paid, and ultimately the consumer/taxpayer will bear that cost.

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Healthcare Background Checks: 5 Services To Include

Since every patient’s wellbeing depends on the professionalism of each health care professional, background checks are crucial for healthcare outcomes. Healthcare background checks help make certain that dishonest, disqualified people are not employed by healthcare facilities. In this way, healthcare background checks can prevent tragedies, such as the case of Charles Cullen, a nurse who murdered forty patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Furthermore, failing to run healthcare background screenings puts hospitals and other healthcare facilities at risk of being sued for negligent hiring.

Following, you’ll find a list of investigations that ought to be incorporated in healthcare background checks. Even though the prospect of running health care professional background checks in-house is possible, most hospitals and other facilities choose to contract with third party background screening firms instead. Typically, outsourcing healthcare background checks is the more cost-effective approach.

1. OIG-GSA Examination

Both the OIG and the GSA are offices in the federal government. The OIG exclusion list quantifies those who have been banned from working in Medicare, while the GSA list shows those who are barred from winning government contracts. Patient abuse, fraud, unsavory licensing board actions and default on student loans can land a healthcare professional on these lists. The Excluded Parties List System lists GSA and OIG exclusions, as well as those of the DEA and the FDA, so it is an excellent tool for those running health care professional background screenings.

2. Criminal Background History

Court history should be established as part of a healthcare background check. Those with significant criminal history are not safe hires. Thoroughly checking a person’s criminal history is more time consuming that you might imagine, as complete healthcare background screenings should include:

a. DHA and SSA I-9 information, to verify work eligibility,

b. An investigation of financial judgments such as liens, to establish personal character,

c. A review of sexual offender databases, as created under Megan’s Law,

d. A record of driving history, particularly if the employee will be driving as part of his or her regular duties,

e. Criminal and civil court history on federal, state, and county levels, according to the applicants’ residential history,

f. Verification of the potential hire’s social security number, to ensure that the applicant is using his or her own identity,

g. Credit history, as another method of sketching personal character.

3. NPDB Check

The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) can provide invaluable information on the on-the-job history of a health care professional. Background checks should include a NBDB check for malpractice suits, restricted clinical privileges, and any licensure limitations.

4. FACIS Review

FACIS, or the Fraud and Abuse Control Information System, catalogues healthcare workers who have seen disciplinary action from federal agencies. FACIS also includes licensing and certification data from every state in the union.

5. HIPDB Analysis

If your potential hire has been mixed up in healthcare fraud, you’ll find out in the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB). All thorough healthcare background checks should include a search of the HIPDB.

Clearly, running thorough healthcare background screenings requires a good deal of specialized knowledge. Considering that the average employee would spend dozens of hours researching the requirements of health care professional background checks, and figuring out how to access relevant background information, it’s no wonder that most healthcare facilities choose to outsource this important aspect of healthcare hiring.

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