Equity in Medical Care

Equity in Medical CareThe healthcare system of any country is normally weighed down by a lot of problems which runs the whole scope from funding to the number of available physicians. Finding a middle ground is an almost impossible task. New Zealand’s healthcare structure while far from being perfect, places high on the list of efficient health systems.

Martin Shore generously contributed this post for us. He is the main author of Ultrasound Technician Training and also writes regularly for other sites like Radiology Technician Schools in California and Ultrasound Technician Course and many other topics. He has done extensive research on the impact of diagnostic procedures to healthcare delivery systems and is quite enthusiastic about sharing his discoveries. His views are expressed in this article although it’s not exactly the same as the views of this site’s owners.

The secret of its seeming success probably lies in the hybrid design. This form has been adopted in an effort to marry both the budget requirement and the health needs of the general population. The majority of the expenses is shouldered by the government but it is helped in a minor way by private payments.

The original design for NZ’s healthcare was universal in nature. Over time, experience dictated that in order to sustain the program and still be able to offer quality care, the leaders had to find means to help it along. And so, the mixed public-private system of delivering care was born. The creation of other governmental agencies like the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) also helped to redirect those requiring specialized care. The ACC’s reach takes on expenses for all accident-related cases, even extending coverage for tourists who are visiting the country provided of course, that they have legal papers with them.

The current system can be considered superior if compared side by side with that of the US. Right now, it’s too early in the game to assess what kind of performance the new health care bill, the ACA, will have on the US health system but judging from the ruckus that the political parties are raising up, it might take awhile to see it fully in action. Now that’s one system that’s better funded, the question is, if their political parties will give it half a chance to work.

The strength of NZ’s health system is that it covers a broad range of medical services that are offered free through public hospitals. Its weakness involves the provision of services that are costly, like diagnostic imaging or cases that require major operations. This usually involves being on a long waiting list that could take awhile to be called on, unless your condition becomes critical in which case, you qualify for emergency care.

Image re-used with permission from Radiologic Technologist Schools

Image re-used with permission from
Radiologic Technologist Schools

It is because of this persistent concern that a back up system of health insurance plans came up. These policies assume the cost of operations and treatments for enrolled individuals. Other complimentary programs include PHARMAC, a government agency that takes over  the cost and regulate the use of medicines. They work on co-payments but offer subsidy for certain groups like those who have community health services card or individuals with higher health plans. Free emergency services are also available through the support of charities and a combination of public and private funds.

It is a fact that there’s still are lot of ground to cover to reach the status of having a truly efficient healthcare system. But what NZ has right now generally works and can be accessed by majority of the population. To have a system that allows you to get medical care and not have to worry if you have the funding or insurance for it is a definite advantage. It’s possibly the closest that you can get to an equitable health care system.