International journal of health services [journal]
- Climate Change and Health in the Urban Context: The Experience of Barcelona. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2016 Jul; 46(3):389-405.
Climate change poses huge challenges for public health, and cities are at the forefront of this process. The purpose of this paper is to present the issues climate change poses for public health in the city of Barcelona, how they are being addressed, and what are the current major challenges, trying to contribute to the development of a baseline understanding of the status of adaptation in cities from a public health perspective. The major issues related to climate change faced by the city are common to other urban centers in a Mediterranean climate: heat waves, water availability and quality, air quality, and diseases transmitted by vectors, and all are reviewed in detail with empirical data. They are not a potential threat for the future, but have actually challenged the city services and infrastructure over the last years, requiring sustainable responses and rigorous planning.
- Do Gatekeeping Schemes Influence Health Care Utilization Behavior Among Patients With Different Educational Background? An Analysis of 13 European Countries. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2016 Jul; 46(3):448-64.
Gatekeeping has been introduced to regulate health care demand and to decrease existing educational inequalities in specialist utilization. This article aims to test whether these policy intentions are met effectively. By pooling two waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), this study performs a cross-country comparison of the impact of two different types of gatekeeping-obligatory referral and skip-and-pay schemes-on absolute and relative general practitioner and specialist utilization levels as well as their moderating effect on inequalities in health care utilization according to education. Results imply that skip-and-pay gatekeeping schemes are not successful in decreasing specialist use and, moreover, aggravate inequalities in health care use, according to education. These findings question the role of choice in health care and call for instruments other than gatekeeping to make health care more efficient and to buffer existing educational inequalities in health care use.
- Unsafe Drugs Were Prescribed More Than One Hundred Million Times in the United States Before Being Recalled. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2016 Jul; 46(3):523-30.
For some drugs, safety concerns are only discovered after they have been on the market, sometimes for several years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has adopted several policies that could increase the likelihood of approving a potentially unsafe medication. We attempted to quantify the number of exposures in the United States to drugs that were newly approved but later withdrawn from the market. We obtained a list of all drugs approved and subsequently withdrawn from the U.S. market due to safety concerns between 1993 and 2010. Using a representative sample of outpatient physician office visits in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, we estimated the number of visits in the United States at which these unsafe drugs were prescribed. Seventeen drugs were approved and later withdrawn during this 18-year period and were prescribed at 112 million physician office visits in the United States. Nine of these drugs were prescribed more than 1 million times before their market withdrawal. New drugs that are later withdrawn due to being unsafe are frequently prescribed in the United States. To minimize the negative health consequences of prescribing potentially unsafe medications, we should reconsider some of the FDA policies that encourage the rapid approval and dissemination of new drugs.
- The Effect of Free Adult Preventive Care Services on Subsequent Utilization of Inpatient Services in Taiwan. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2016 Jul; 46(3):547-65.
The objective of this article is to investigate the relationship between the utilization of free adult preventive care services and subsequent utilization of inpatient services among elderly people under the National Health Insurance program in Taiwan. The study used secondary data from the 2005 Taiwan National Health Interview Survey and claim data from the 2006 Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database for the elderly aged 65 or over. A bivariate probit model was used to avoid the possible endogeneity in individuals' utilization of free adult preventive care and inpatient services. This study finds that, when individuals had utilized the preventive care services in 2005, the probability that they utilized inpatient services in 2006 was significantly reduced by 13.89%. The findings of this study may provide a good reference for policy makers to guide the efficient allocation of medical resources through the continuous promotion of free adult preventive care services under the National Health Insurance program.
- Economic Inequalities in Latin America at the Base of Adverse Health Indicators. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2016 Jul; 46(3):501-22.
There is increasing evidence supporting the existence of a link between income inequalities and health outcomes. The main purpose of this article is to test whether economic inequalities are associated with poor population health in Latin American countries. Multi-country data from 1970 to 2012 were used to assess this question. The results show that the Gini coefficient has a strong correlation with health outcomes. Moreover, multiple linear regression analysis using fixed effects shows that after controlling for gross national income per capita, literacy rate, and health expenditure, the Gini coefficient is independently negatively associated with health outcomes. In Latin American countries, for every percentage point increase in the Gini coefficient, the infant mortality rate grows by 0.467 deaths per 1,000 live births, holding all other variables constant. Additionally, an ordinary least squares estimation model suggests that countries that do not use International Monetary Fund loans perform better on health outcomes. These findings should alert policymakers, elected officials, and the public of the need to fight income inequalities and rethink the role of international financial institutions that dictate state policies.
- Do Physicians Change Prescription Practice in Response to Financial Incentives? [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2016 Jul; 46(3):531-46.
We assessed the impact on physician prescription behaviors of an outpatient prescription incentive program providing financial rewards to primary care physicians for saving prescription costs in South Korea. A 10% sample of clinics (N = 1,625) was randomly selected from all clinics in the National Health Insurance claims database for the years 2009-2012, and all claims with the primary diagnosis of peptic ulcer or gastro-esophageal reflux diseases were extracted from those clinics' data. A clinic-level random-effects model was used. After the program, clinics in general medicine showed a lower prescription rate (by 0.8 percentage points), lower number of medicines prescribed (by 0.02), lower prescription duration (by 0.15 days), and lower drug expenditure per claim (by 740 won). Small clinics on the <25th percentile of a regional sum of monthly drug expenditure had shorter prescription duration (by 0.76 days), while large clinics on the ≥75th percentile and clinics in group practice had a higher prescription rate (by 1.5 and 2.5 percentage points, respectively) and a higher number of medicines prescribed (by 0.03 for group practice only) after the program. The outpatient prescription incentive program worked as intended only in certain subgroup clinics for the target medicines.
- Roles of Social Movement Organizations for Securing Workers' Safety in Korea: A Case Study of Abolition of the 30-Minute Delivery Guarantee Program in Pizza Delivery Service. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2016 Jul; 46(3):483-500.
Many restaurants in Korea maintain quick-delivery service programs to satisfy customers. This service allows delivery workers limited time to deliver, which frequently put them in danger. Most of the workers are young, work part-time, and are rarely organized into trade unions. In this article, through a case study of the social movement to abolish the 30-minute delivery guarantee program of pizza companies in Korea, we argue that social movements involving social movement organizations (SMOs) and individual citizens could serve as a means to rectify this problem. We show how the SMOs developed and expanded the movement using a framing perspective and how the general public became involved through social media. Data was collected via online searching. Interview scripts from key players of SMOs and unofficial documents they provided were also reviewed. Three SMOs primarily led the movement, successfully forming a frame that emphasized social responsibility. SMOs also utilized social media to link their standing frame with unmobilized citizens and to expand the movement. We identified contributing factors and limitations of the movement and drew lessons that could be applied to other sectors where workers are in vulnerable positions.
- The New Political Economy of Health Care in the European Union: The Impact of Fiscal Governance. [Journal Article]
- Int J Health Serv 2016; 46(2):262-82.
We argue that the political economy of health care in the European Union is being changed by the creation of a substantial new apparatus of European fiscal governance. A series of treaties and legal changes since 2008 have given the European Union new powers and duties to enforce budgetary austerity in the member states, and this apparatus of fiscal governance has already extended to include detailed and sometimes coercive policy recommendations to member states about the governance of their health care systems. We map the structures of this new fiscal governance and the way it purports to affect health care decision making.
- Restricting Access to Health Care to Immigrants in Barcelona: A Mixed-Methods Study With Immigrants Who Have Experienced an Infectious Disease. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Int J Health Serv 2016; 46(2):241-61.
Austerity policies implemented in Spain in response to the ongoing economic crisis may have detrimental consequences for the health of immigrant populations and for public health in general. A mixed-methods study by the Public Health Agency of Barcelona and the University of Michigan indicates that the Real Decreto-ley 16/2012 (RDL) threatens the health of individuals and the population, especially in the case of infectious diseases. The study sought to determine the percentage of foreign-born persons with an infectious disease who had an Individual Health Card (IHC) prior to the RDL and to determine whether foreign-born persons with an infectious disease in Barcelona encountered problems accessing health care after the RDL. Results indicate that immigrants used the IHC to seek medical attention for infectious diseases and chronic conditions. Results also show that 66% of respondents, including 54% of unemployed respondents, 3% of respondents working without contracts, and those in informal employment (9%), may be at risk of losing at least part of their health coverage. Universal health care access in Spain has been crucial for the control of communicable diseases among immigrant populations. Reducing access to a significant percentage of the total population may have deleterious effects on public health.
- Effects of the Global Financial Crisis on Health in High-Income Oecd Countries: A Narrative Review. [Journal Article, Review]
- Int J Health Serv 2016; 46(2):208-40.
A growing body of evidence documents how economic crises impact aspects of health across countries and over time. We performed a systematic narrative review of the health effects of the latest economic crisis based on studies of high-income countries. Papers published between January 2009 and July 2015 were selected based on review of titles and abstracts, followed by a full text review conducted by two independent reviewers. Ultimately, 122 studies were selected and their findings summarized. The review finds that the 2008 financial crisis had negative effects on mental health, including suicide, and to a varying extent on some non-communicable and communicable diseases and access to care. Although unhealthy behaviors such as hazardous drinking and tobacco use appeared to decline during the crisis, there have been increases in some groups, typically those already at greatest risk. The health impact was greatest in countries that suffered the largest economic impact of the crisis or prolonged austerity. The Great Recessions in high-income countries have had mixed impacts on health. They tend to be worse when economic impacts are more severe, prolonged austerity measures are implemented, and there are pre-existing problems of substance use among vulnerable groups.