Quality of care is measured by improvement of patient outcomes, reaching expected benchmarks, and cost containment, which are all directed towards the goal of delivering high quality, efficiently rendered care. This week in our discussion forum you will assume the role of patient healthcare advocate, You will compose a Policy Brief (see Box 9-1 in the course textbook) to the US Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to seek health equity and relief for under-served populations. A policy brief is a concise summary of a particular issue, the policy options to deal with it, and some recommendations on the best option. It is aimed at government policymakers and others who are interested in formulating or influencing policy.

Click here to read: How to write a Policy Brief.

The Commonwealth Fund’s 2020 Scorecard on State Health System Performance (2020), was a transition from previous National Scorecards which focused on healthy lives, quality, access, and efficiency. The 

“The 2020 Scorecard (p. 16) evaluates states on 49 performance indicators grouped into four dimensions:

Access and Affordability (7 indicators)Prevention and Treatment (15 indicators)Potentially Avoidable Hospital Use and Cost (14 Indicators)Healthy Lives (13 Indicators)”Here are previous National Scorecards, for comparison:

National Scorecard on US Health System Performance, 2014National Scorecard, 2011: US scored 64/100Refer to The Commonwealth Fund Scorecard, 2020 (above) looking at the state-based indicators showing improvement and those that show deterioration, no improvement, or raise concerns. The data is largely in the appendices towards the end of the document. Choose one of the following dimensions: Access and Affordability; Prevention and Treatment; Avoidable Hospital Use and Cost, Healthy Lives (see Appendix A1. page 22), then select one indicators to focus on, and one state where improvement is needed. 

In your Policy Brief to the Committee use the following framework and address the following questions:

An executive summary should summarize the key points of the report. It should restate the purpose of the report, highlight the major points of the report, and describe any results, conclusions, or recommendations from the report.2. Introduction:

Define the issue and describe background information on the problem. How is quality measured for this issue, and what quality indicators are used to measure outcomes? Indicate if this is an issue that has shown improvement or deterioration, and provide at least one example3. Literature Review and Analysis: 

Provide a systematic literature review (2 articles) re: What has been done to improve the issue?Provide a systematic literature review (2 articles) re: What has not worked?4. Conclusion and Recommendations: 

How can health policy be used to improve this healthcare problem? Should it be local or national policy, or both?What solution are you advocating from the Congressional Committee?Provide data that will refute objections to the solution you are advocating for.

One substantive responses are required this week to peers. A substantive response is a minimum of 350 words, adds new information to the discussion, demonstrates topic knowledge, provides examples of application to leadership practice and is supported by current (no older than 5 years) peer reviewed resources.

Peer replies: Respond to one peer’s Policy brief, posting a reply, “wearing the hat” of the Congressional representative on the committee. Your comment, questions, and/or observations should include the following: Points for clarificationSuggestions for alternative solutions/policiesExamine barriers to successful implementationProvide an opposing point of viewIn addition, answer the following questions in your response post:

Why should a healthcare leader become involved in the legislative process and what skills are needed for the healthcare leader to be an effective lobbyist/advocate?Refer to the Discussion Grading Rubric on the Home Page for criteria for evaluation of this week’s forum.

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