In several European countries, including Norway, polices to increase patient choice of hospital provider have remained high on the political agenda. The main reason behind the interest in hospital choice reforms in Norway has been the belief that increasing choice can remedy the persistent problem of long waiting times for elective hospital care. Prior to the 2013 General Election, the Conservative Party campaigned in favour of a new choice reform: "the treatment choice reform". This article describes the background and process leading up to introduction of the reform in the autumn of 2015. It also provides a description of the content and discusses possible implications of the reform for patients, providers and government bodies. In sum, the reform contains elements of both continuity and change. The main novelty of the reform lies in the increased role of private for-profit healthcare providers.
The aim of this study was to examine the effect of family income on accessibility to dental services among adults in Norway. The analysis was performed on a set of national data collected in 1989, which was representative of the non-institutionalized Norwegian population aged 20 years and above. The sample size was 1200 individuals. The data were analyzed according to a two-part model. The first part determined the probability of whether the consumer had demanded the services or not during the last year according to family income. The second part estimated how the amount of services utilized depended on family income, for those with demand. The elasticity of the odds of having demanded the services with respect to family income was 0.48. Family income had no effect on the amount of services utilized. Additional analyses also showed that there was no effect of family income on the probability of having received a filling or a crown when visiting the dentist. In Norway, almost all costs for dental services are paid by the consumer. It is not possible from the data alone to say whether subsidized dental care is an effective way of reducing the inequalities in demand.
We compared health status, access to care, and utilization of medical services in the United States and Canada and compared disparities according to race, income, and immigrant status.
We analyzed population-based data on 3505 Canadian and 5183 US adults from the Joint Canada/US Survey of Health. Controlling for gender, age, income, race, and immigrant status, we used logistic regression to analyze country as a predictor of access to care, quality of care, and satisfaction with care and as a predictor of disparities in these measures.
In multivariate analyses, US respondents (compared with Canadians) were less likely to have a regular doctor, more likely to have unmet health needs, and more likely to forgo needed medicines. Disparities on the basis of race, income, and immigrant status were present in both countries but were more extreme in the United States.
United States residents are less able to access care than are Canadians. Universal coverage appears to reduce most disparities in access to care.
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The objective of this study was to explore access to dental care for low-income communities from the perspectives of low-income people, dentists and related health and social service-providers. The case study included 60 interviews involving, low-income adults (N = 41), dentists (N = 6) and health and social service-providers (N = 13). The analysis explores perceptions of need, evidence of unmet needs, and three dimensions of access--affordability, availability and acceptability. The study describes the sometimes poor fit between private dental practice and the public oral health needs of low-income individuals. Dentists and low-income patients alike explained how the current model of private dental practice and fee-for-service payments do not work well because of patients' concerns about the cost of dentistry, dentists' reluctance to treat this population, and the cultural incompatibility of most private practices to the needs of low-income communities. There is a poor fit between private practice dentistry, public dental benefits and the oral health needs of low-income communities, and other responses are needed to address the multiple dimensions of access to dentistry, including community dental clinics sensitive to the special needs of low-income people.
Access to new therapies in hospitals depends upon both clinical trial evidence and local Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) committee approval. The process of formulary evaluation by P&T committees is not well-understood.
To describe the formulary decision-making process in Canadian hospitals for cardiovascular medications recently made available on the Canadian market.
Postal survey of hospital pharmacy directors in all Canadian hospitals with more than 50 beds. Target drugs included abciximab, enoxaparin, dalteparin, clopidogrel, eptifibatide and tirofiban.
Of 428 surveys mailed, responses were received from 164 P&T committees representing 350 hospitals for an effective response rate of 82%. While physicians make up the largest proportion of committee membership, pharmacists play an influential role. Information most commonly cited as influencing formulary decisions included published clinical trials (97%), regional guidelines (90%), pharmacoeconomic data (84%), decisions at peer hospitals (73%) and local opinion leaders (60%). However, this information was often not required on formulary applications. Approval timelines varied widely for target medications but there were no regional, hospital or P&T committee characteristics that were independent predictors of early formulary application or approval.
There is wide variability in the time taken for Canadian institutions to adopt new cardiovascular therapies, which is not explained by regional, hospital or P&T committee characteristics. Standardization of the formulary application and evaluation processes, including sharing of information amongst institutions, would lead to broader understanding of the applicable issues, more objectivity and improved efficiency.
Recent success in overcoming rejection of transplanted organs has led to a much greater demand for organs from donors and to a reconsideration of mechanisms for increasing the availability of organs from cadavers. In the latter respect the two basic systems are "contracting-in" and "contracting-out". Each system has different benefits and harms, and it is a value judgement that should be adopted. However, both systems raise legal, ethical and practical issues that must be addressed if organs for transplantation are to become available to all who need them.