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Neighborhood Public Policy

In: Social Issues

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“Neighborhood News” Article Paper

Goerge Dumas

January 8, 2012

ED sees critical capacities
By G. Johnson
This article written by G. Johnson, discussed the overcrowding of the NB emergency department due to increase capacities of NB hospital which force local residents, particularly those from low income household, the homeless or the un- insured to invade the already overcrowded ED for sickness or injuries that could have been prevented or treated at home.
Although use of the ED for non-urgent and preventable conditions appears to be common and growing, identification of these conditions remains imprecise. One study attributed all of the increase in total ED visits between 1997–1998 and 1999–2000 to visits classified as semi-urgent (care required within 1–2 hours), non-urgent, or no/unknown triage (Cunningham , 2006). Another study, however, found that 6 percent of patients triaged as non-urgent were later admitted as inpatients (Young, Wagner,Kellerman, et al, 2006).
Doctor Gordon director of the NB hospital ED physician suggested that, “People need to be educated on particular symptoms, because most of time sickness or injuries could be treated at home. Increasing hospital capacities force people to come to the ED for basic health care and a waiting period that can exceed up to six hours”.

According to the ACEP (American College of Emergency Physicians), emergency department visits in 2009 rose to 136 million, up from 96.5 million in 1995. At the same time, the number of emergency departments decreased by 9 percent resulting in dramatic increases in patient volumes and waiting times at the remaining facilities. . In this situation, it fair to say that overcrowded emergency departments pose a threat to the access to emergency care for the public in general, insured and uninsured. A successful solution to this problem will require a national commitment and acknowledgment that emergency medicine is a vital community service that has to be funded. Most importantly, this catastrophe could only be solved by a combined effort by community leaders, hospitals, policy makers and health plan payers. The ACEP further stipulated that, “Adequate monitoring and data collection is needed to further define the problem and target effective solutions”.

Smoking breaks a thing of the past?
By: A. Lowell
This article written by A. Lowell targets the smoking bans instituted by some of the largest US companies in the effort to encourage their workers to stop smoking particularly in the workplace.
This issue has very controversial, especially among the National Work Right Association who states that: “this ban is an infringement of worker Right and that such a policy is illegal citing that employers cannot force its employees to quit smoking altogether whereas employers do not have control of their workers outside the workplace”.
However, supporters of the proposal feel that the bas is an attempt to protect the non-smokers, the workplace environment and more importantly the increasing cost of insurance for those who smoke.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), nonsmokers exposed to SHS (Second Hand Smoke) only at work have been found to have significantly higher levels of a nicotine metabolite in their blood than nonsmokers who aren’t exposed to SHS at work.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) stated that SHS ( Second Hand Smoke) poses an increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease to people exposed at work, and has recommended that exposure be reduced to the lowest feasible level and that employers should use all available preventive measures to minimize occupational exposure.
Furthermore, a 2006 study in The Lancet found that exposure to SHS was significantly associated with nighttime chest tightness and breathlessness after physical activity, and that workplace exposure to SHS was significantly associated with all types of respiratory symptoms and current asthma. And employees exposed to SHS on the job are 34% more likely to develop lung cancer (CDC, 2006)
Eliminating SHS from the workplace and decreasing smoking by employees can reduce health care costs and increase years of productive life. These two factors alone will positively affect companies’ bottom line and help employees’ live full and productive lives! (CDC and Prevention, 2006).

REFERENCE

Young GP, Wagner MB, Kellermann AL, Ellis J, Bouley D. “Ambulatory Visits to Hospital Emergency Departments. Patterns and Reasons for Use. 24 Hours in the ED Study Group.” JAMA. 276(6): 460–465, 2006. American College of Emergency Physicians. Retrieved from: emergencycareforyou.org

Cunningham P. “What Accounts for Differences in the Use of Hospital Emergency Departments Across U.S. Communities?” Health Affairs. Web Exclusive, July 18, 2006;
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Office on Smoking and Health, USDHHS, Wellness Council of America, American Cancer Society. Making your workplace smokefree: A decision maker’s guide 2006

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: Cancer and Chronic Lung Disease in the Workplace. A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office on Smoking and Health. DHHS Pub. No. (PHS) 85-50207, 1985.

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