Framework for an Ethical Organization
In today’s technologically advanced world, Americans expect high-quality of health care – safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, equitable, and efficient (Institute of Medicine, 2001). Keeping this in view, Medimax Care strives had to provide the best possible service to its patients while creating an ethical environment for all members of the organization.
Medimax Care is a public health care organization that is dedicated to provide a wide range of health and preventive services.
The purpose of this report is to discuss the most important ethical issues that can arise in the planning and delivery and promotion of health care, as well as to create a framework for an ideal ‘ethical healthcare organization.’
2.0 Description of the Organization
Medimax Care is a public health care organization, providing a wide range of health and preventive services, including general checkups for adults and children, immunizations, family planning, basic illness care, dental care, STD testing and treatment, prenatal care, nutrition education, Medicare certified home health, communicable disease investigation and tracking, public health home nursing visits, birth and death certificates, and a full range of in-home services for senior citizens and Medicaid recipients who need assistance in the home.
Based in Denver, Colorado, Medimax Care has been operational for the last 10 years. Understanding the plight of the uninsured, this compassionate organization spends provides more than $2.1 billion in healthcare for the uninsured.
The organization serves more than 160,000 individuals or twenty-five percent of all Denver residents. One of every three children in Denver is cared for by Medimax Care doctors and physicians.
Medimax Care is a widespread organization with various components including:
500-bed main hospital;
911 emergency medical response system for the City and County of Denver;
Public Health Department;
A network of eight clinics for family health throughout the city;
A Poison and Drug Center;
A correctional facility;
Medical Response Center to Terrorism, Mass Casualties and Epidemics;
3.0 Medimax Care Mission Statement
Medimax Care is a high-quality, efficient, and vast healthcare organization that serves as a model for other healthcare organizations across the nation. Medimax Care’s mission is to:
Provide the best quality health care to prevent or cure acute and chronic diseases regardless of the patient’s ability to pay;
Provide emergency life-saving medical and trauma services to Denver and adjoining regions;
Perform public health functions according to the needs of Denver residents;
Provide health education for patients;
Support programs aimed to educate the next generation of health care professionals; and
Conduct extensive research, which would be aimed at enhancing the organization’s ability to meet the health care needs of Medimax Care patients.
3.1 Message to the Community
The mission statement of Medimax Care has been developed keeping in view the ethical system adopted by the organization. The statement send out the message to the community that Medimax Care is committed to providing the highest quality patient care to everyone, regardless of their financial ability to pay for the services. In order to provide the best quality of healthcare service, the organization employs hard-working and dedicated physicians and healthcare professionals who specialists in their fields.
Furthermore, in order to further improve Medimax Care, the organization is spending considerable amounts to conduct research to find cures for various diseases. This shows that Medimax Care is the best place for employees to work, physicians to practice medicine, and patients to receive care.
It can be argued that all healthcare organizations essentially provide the same services; however, Medimax Care has created an edge over others by taking the best possible care of the customers. Medimax Care is committed to excellence and is dedicated to building a culture around service.
Apart from that, Medimax Care also believes in educating the next generation of healthcare professionals. For this purpose, the organization supports and takes part is various programs that provide extensive education and training to medical students specializing in various fields.
Medimax Care also arranges community outreach and engagement programs in order to provide preventative healthcare education to the members of the community. These programs are developed to address various epidemics and the rise in mortality due to cardiovascular disease and to emphasize the need for prevention.
4.0 Medimax Care Vision and Values Statements
4.1 Vision Statement
Medimax Care will strive hard to become the healthcare service provider of choice for Denver residents by achieving and continuously maintaining the highest quality in healthcare service. In order to do so, Medimax Care will collaborate with leading healthcare service providers, and also adequately invest in research in medical technologies, human resources and clinical services. Most of all, Medimax Care’s vision is to help identify and fulfill the needs of the community in the best possible way.
4.2 Values Statement
As a large healthcare organization, Medimax Care commits to the following values:
To be compassionate, respectful and ethical in all professional relationships.
To recognize and respect the inherent uniqueness, dignity, and worth of every individual, regardless of their social or economic status, personal characteristics, or the nature of their health problems.
To support for, and strive to protect the health, safety, and rights of patients
To be persistent in practicing the highest standard of quality through continuous improvement, emphasizing the need for hard work, dedication and teamwork.
To be primarily commitment to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, or community.
To be conscientious users of the community’s resources by working cost effectively and efficiently.
To be responsible and accountable for each individual’s healthcare plan and determine the suitable delegation of work consistent with the organization’s obligation to provide highest-quality patient care.
To maintain integrity and safety, and to allow members of the organization to continue personal and professional growth.
To participate in establishing, maintaining, and continuously improving the organization’s environments and conditions of employment in order to make them conducive to the provision of quality health care.
To articulate healthcare values to maintain the integrity of the profession and its practice, and for shaping social policy.
Members of Medimax Care are positive and fully supportive of the organization’s values, and incorporate ethical considerations in their daily work. The organization strives hard to inspire action and influence behavior among staff, service providers, volunteers and students through its mission and values statements.
The organization has processes in place that ensure the delivery of services and decision making in accordance with a defined code of ethics. The organization develops, reviews and updates organizational policies on ethical issues that are most commonly faced.
Medimax Care has devised processes that ethically and appropriately allocate human, financial and physical resources throughout the organization. The Medimax Care management has a process in place for allocating the available resources that takes into consideration ethics and values by making sure that the decisions regarding the allocation of resources are based on the specified values and the ethics framework of the organization. Issues of fairness/equity are to be explicitly considered in the distribution of resources across population groups, geographic regions ; health sectors.
To educate all members of the organization, Medimax Care arranges continuing education courses for staff, service providers, volunteers and students to help them understand and resolve ethics issues.
To make all research processes transparent and create a sense of accountability, the services of an external review body are solicited that reviews all formal research projects the organization participates in.
In line with the core values of the organization, a patient’s consent is always required before providing any treatment. For this, the patient is first fully informed about the options for service, the likely benefits and risks, the risks of refusing service, and the resources available. The members are encouraged to actively involve patients in making decisions about their lives and make personal, day to day choices.
The core values also inspire all members to work hard and with dedication to serve all members of the community.
5.0 Code of Ethics
The primary purpose of Medimax Care’s Code of Ethics is to support the organization’s mission, vision and values. At Medimax Care, patients and their families are the most important consumers of healthcare services. Medimax Care has formulated the following code of ethics in order to protect the rights and responsibilities if the consumers. Hoever, this code only serves as a guideline for acceptable behavior and is not exhaustive.
I) Every person, whether patient or employee of the organization, should be treated with respect and dignity; all communication and interactions should be conducted in a courteous manner.
II) All patients should receive health and social services without any discrimination based upon their gender, age, race, religion, ethnic origin, language, political views, social status, sexual orientation or health status.
III) Patients have the right to confidentiality and protection of personal information.
IV) Every person is responsible for minimizing the risk of incidents and accidents.
V) The organization shall not tolerate any acts of harassment, abuse or aggression.
VI) Staff should respect the professional expertise of their colleagues and promote harmonious working relationships.
VII) Patients have the right to be informed about the available options related to their healthcare plan.
VIII) Patients have the right to know the name and function of the persons involved in their health care.
IX) Every person is entitled to expect a clean and safe environment within the hospital.
X) All interventions in patients’ lives require an informed consent from them, except in situations specified by law.
XI) Patients must be provided adequate information that can help them make informed decisions about their healthcare. Such information must be communicated clearly and in an environment which encourages open communication.
XII) Patients must be allowed adequate amount of time to think about this information before they make any decision. Patients have the right to change their minds at any time. The risks associated with such a change must be explained fully.
XIII) Patients have the right to solicit a second opinion.
XIV) All clinical research conducted by the organization requires a written consent from the patients who are directly involved.
XV) Patients have the right to refuse to participate in clinical research without the fear of receiving inferior quality of health care services.
6.0 Organizational Culture
Healthcare organizations must create a culture of ethical and compliant behavior. To create an ethical culture, all members of the organization, including staff, employees and physicians must receive consistent and repetitive messages emphasizing the organization’s code of ethics, mission and core values.
To foster an ethical culture, effective and consistent communication of ethical messages is very important. If such messages are communicated infrequently, the organization’s emphasis on an ethical culture may be limited.
Medimax Care must present images or taglines to employees and physicians daily in order to reinforce the emphasis on ethics and integrity. The ethical culture-promoting images and slogans may consist of:
· Posters describing the process of reporting breaches of ethical conduct
· Educational materials
· Board reports
· Compliance team meeting agendas
· Communications from the compliance department
These images and slogans will serve as a constant reminder to staff, employees and physicians of the various ethical issues and ways to deal with them. This will reinforce the organization’s ethical culture among members.
Apart from an ethical culture, Medimax Care should also encourage a culture of innovation throughout the organization. The culture should evolve from the leadership team and communicated throughout the organization. The director is responsible for setting a direction for innovation by first communicating the mission and vision of the organization to all the stakeholders.
As the vision of the organization evolves, the director will then encourage creation of innovative ideas and solutions ideas that will help support the vision. Developing a culture in which the member’s ideas are valued will result in effective, problem-solving and innovations that can make Madeimax Care more competitive and cutting-edge.
In line with this culture, proactive solutions, risk taking and entrepreneurial thinking will be rewarded appropriately. Furthermore, such a culture will promote knowledge transfer and organizational review to analyze future trends and come up with new solutions.
In today’s rapidly advancing healthcare organization, apart from financial acumen, operational expertise and an ability to accomplish more with less, the organizational leader must possess a wide range of skills in leadership, communications and management of rapidly changing technological field.
The top healthcare executives at Medimax Care must be able to quickly manage technological assessment and decision-making in order to keep the organization up-to-date and competitive. With new technologies coming in the marketplace at a very fast rate, tope executive leaders must be able to adapt to changes and communicate those changes to all pertinent members of the organization.
Top executives must also be able to identify the right technologies that would help Medimax grow and serve the community better.
An organization’s leader is also responsible for connecting well with clinical management. The leader must be able to take input from physicians and effectively integrate it into decision-making. To get feedback from physicians, the leader must know how to engage physicians in business decisions and make them understand the business issues facing the organization (Jennings, Baily, Bottrell & Lynn, 2007).
Since Medimax Care is a large organization, it requires development of diverse management teams, and the director will be responsible to effectively leading those diverse teams and utilizing each member’s expertise to help the organization grow.
Developing a strong leadership team is critical to the success of the organization. As a director, it is worthwhile to find answers to questions such as:
· Does the leadership team need people with diverse skills or capabilities?
· Do current leaders have a need to be intensively assessed to identify their knowledge gaps?
· How can we enhance the skills of our executives?
· How should training resources be utilized in order to maximize the potential of mid-level managers and build strength within the organization?
In order to measure Medimax Care’s performance in maintaining an ethical standard the balanced scorecard method can be effectively used. The balanced scorecard has been called one of the most important management innovations of the 20th century (Steele, 2001). In health care, the balanced scorecard is well into its growth phase. Castaneda-Mendez et al., (1998) assert that in order to connect practices, outcomes, quality, value, and costs, health care organizations must use a balanced scorecard. They see the theory as a balanced perspective on the organization for senior management to use in designing, developing, deploying, and directing the strategic plan, consistent with total quality management principles.
In order to assess the effectiveness of the ethical framework, Medimax Care will extend the balanced scorecard concept to incorporate specific goals of the organization.
In conclusion, it can be said that Medimax Care is an ethical organization that is striving hard to make its processes more transparent in accordance with its ethical code. Being consistent with its mission and vision, the organization is providing the community with the best possible healthcare services in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
Castaneda-Mendez K, Mangan K, and Lavery AM. “The Role and Application of the Balanced Scorecard in Health Care Quality Management,” Journal of Healthcare Quality, 20, 1: 10-13 (January-February 1998).
Institute of Medicine. Crossing the Quality Chasm. Washington, DC: National Academy Pr; 2001.
Jennings B, Baily MA, Bottrell M, Lynn J, eds. Health Care Quality Improvement: Ethical and Regulatory Issues. Garrison, NY: The Hastings Center; 2007.
Steele J. Transforming the Balanced Scorecard into Your Strategy Execution System. Manage, 53, 1: 22-24 (September-October 2001).
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