The paper reviews the management practice of cost reduction or cost cutting in health care organizations and the ethical issues that may arise due to such a strategy. A comparison of a similar situation within the banking industry has also been done…
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The healthcare industry can take cues from bank strategies to find a solution. There are also common elements that can be applied across all types of organizations including healthcare. Financial constraints often force managements to compromise on health and medical care. The suggestions provided at the end of the paper may help the industry to overcome or reduce this unethical practice. Keywords: management practice, cost reduction, ethics, healthcare and banking industry Management practice and ethical issues in the healthcare industry There is a simple commonly used and popular adage that ‘health is wealth’. If a person is healthy, then he or she can be in a position to lead a comfortable or even wealthy lifestyle. Hence it is the individual responsibility to see that one’s health is maintained. Unfortunately this does not happen in real life situations and many factors like lifestyle, pollution, and genetic disorders can cause serious and chronic diseases. When this happens, it is natural that a person resorts to healthcare providers in order to find a cure. But ironically, the rising costs of healthcare especially in the United States have come to such a stage that many are not able to meet their healthcare expenses if needed. This in turn forces the management of healthcare institutions to force physicians (and others directly involved in patient care) to cut down on expenses. In other words, the money spent on a patient should not exceed the capacity of that person to pay for it. This paper looks at the ethical viewpoint on such a stand taken by the management. It is true that most businesses follow the same strategy of cutting down or optimizing their spending. But it is felt that the area of health care is different because it is considered to be a divine profession, an example being the Hippocrates Oath. But management practices (for practical purposes) often do not see it that way. Denying a patient due and diligent healthcare can be hence considered to be unethical. There may be many areas in the area of healthcare where ethical issues may come up. The area of study here looks specifically at the management practice of cutting costs that could result inadequate healthcare which could result in not curing the disease and even death or disability to the patient. In the process, the paper will look at the same management practice (mentioned above) in a non-medical industry and provide practical suggestions as to how effective cost cutting can be done without compromising on quality of service. The industry selected in this case will be the banking and finance industry. Conflict between costs and patient care – ethical issues As mentioned earlier, financial constraints due to various reasons (that will be discussed in this paper) will result between a conflict between cost cutting and patient care. The following sections will review the various aspects of management practices (with focus on cost cutting or reduction) and its ethical repercussions. The importance of management Management of resources, whether human, finance, raw materials, finished products or any other factors associated with human endeavor is essential for survival and success. This is true whether is the organization is formed for profit or not. In fact the concept of management is so important that many theories and practices have evolved over the years.
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