Evaluation of a Health Care Legislative Bill
There is currently a bill in the legislature entitled “Access to Appropriate Immunizations for Veterans Act of 2011” that proposes that the government should make all vaccinations suggested by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices available to all veterans in a timely manner as suggested on their immunization schedule. It also proposes that the Secretary of Health and Human Services will be responsible for setting and monitoring goals for compliance of the new program. The following is an evaluation of this bill and subsequent recommendation of whether or not it should be enacted.
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The immunizations could be given in medical facilities that already service veterans, which would help control the budget, and could also be given either during yearly routine visits at Veterans Administration (VA) facilities, as stated above. For those veterans that see doctors at civilian facilities, it may be required to have specific days that immunizations would be offered by the VA, such as once per week or month, but by only offering them on certain days, costs would be contained.
If this bill were enacted, the immediate benefit would be to veterans only, however, when you consider that the main purpose of vaccinations is to prevent the spread of disease, everyone in the country would benefit, at least indirectly, by encouraging herd immunity. By preventing 22.7 million veterans from contracting these contagious diseases, you also prevent everyone who comes into contact with them from potential infection.
The impact on administrative resources that could influence health care delivery if this bill were made a law would include the time spent by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to start the program. He would also need to set goals and monitor compliance or delegate this to someone else. This would be time that could possibly be spent on more important or urgent issues. There will also have to be someone to act as a problem-solver if there are issues with the program, or if goals are not met. I do not foresee there being any legal or regulatory issues unless there is resistance in putting the bill into action, possibly due to inadequate staffing to administer the vaccines, decreased availability of vaccines, etc.
The changes that this bill proposes would only minimally impact the role of the nurse, and would mostly be for nurses working at facilities that service veterans. These nurses would be responsible not only for administering the vaccinations, but also for assessing the veterans’ immunization status. There may also be some sort of reporting system to keep track of this information that the nurses would be required to participate in. The bottom line is that if the program works, nurses should be administering more vaccinations, which is only a minor change in their role and a slight increase in their responsibilities.
This bill, as stated above, would require significant funding, in the billions of dollars, if passed and put into effect. Historically, everyone knows the benefit of vaccinations, as diseases like polio have been all but eradicated from the western world. The financial impact of this is that money no longer has to be spent in the treatment of these diseases including those who have lasting, disabling...