Services and The DisThe Marketing of Rehabilitative Goods and Services by Gary L. Albrecht was written with the intention of giving its reader a better understanding of who has the most to gain in the business of rehabilitative services. One position states that the institutions benefit most, while others feel it is the consumer who has the most to gain. The main controversy discussed in this article is the usage of marketing strategies for rehabilitative health care institutions to increase sales and raise profit margins on service that was once provided pro bono. Another concern is with the amount of new equipment and ever changing standards of rehabilitation. Are consumers well enough informed or educated into making the proper decisions as to what care they need? Also, how do the poor, elderly, disenfranchised, and those who cannot afford healthcare receive treatment? Are patients receiving the best possible care for their ailments; or are they being exploited? These are the dilemmas on the issue of rehabilitative goods and services. The Disability Wars by Timothy Kenney describes the nightmare of becoming physically disabled to the point where one can no longer work and care for their family. It also talks about the hardships of and problems brought about through the use of medical benefits and collection of social security. Both articles will now be analyzed more closely and possible resolutions to each of these issues, marketing of rehabilitation goods and services, and the disability wars will be discussed.
The main issue with the marketing of rehabilitative goods and services deals with, the new wave of marketing strategies and promotional ideas implemented to increase sales and profits of the health care institutions. This rehabilitative service, which was once provided to those in need pro bono, is now recognized as a commodity. Due to the increase in the elderly population and the popularity of sport, there are more people with disabilities than ever before. Thus an influx in the supply and demand has been created and the market for rehabilitative services exists. With more patients than the normal health care provider can care for, new institutions are being erected all across America with their sole purpose in rehabilitating the disabled. One such facility is the Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. This medical center built a facility strictly dealing in sports medicine near Chicago stadium. They also lobbied the city of Chicago to have their professional franchises, like the Chicago Bulls and Bears, to build a multiplex just across the street from the sports medicine center, which would provide sporting fun and shopping. Once in place, the medical center can then lure famous athletes like Michael Jordan to their facility. This causes hero worship, which will bring even more people to the facility for treatment because individuals will have a higher regard for the quality of care being rendered and will also be sharing the complex with world-class athletes. There are many positives to this strategy such as better facilities, better equipment, and a highly trained staff focused on one specific field. However on the flip side, at what cost to the consumer are these services being provided? Usually more than those without healthcare or some type of medical benefits can afford. Therefore this tactic of marketing moves away from those in need, such as women, elderly, and children, and attracts only those who are willing to pay.
Another controversy of the marketing of rehabilitation goods and services is that of the increasing amount of services being provided along with the plethora of equipment and training methods. This perpetuates confusion amongst uneducated consumers on what facilities and rehabilitation programs are right for them. An example of this is Ciba-Geigy. This company promoted their pill, Actigall, through full-page advertising. Their pill was advertised as an alternative to gallbladder surgery. However, written in the fine print under the ad it stated that Actigall must be taken twice a day for as long as two years and that most gallstones could not be treated successfully with this pill. Therefore some trickery is being used in the marketing of some such rehabilitative products to get the uninformed consumer to purchase their products without ever realizing that they are not going to benefit from them. However on the other hand, this type of marketing has been successful in promoting preventive rehabilitation and therapies. This new rehabilitation model has revised people’s lifestyle values. People are now much more aware of the importance of a proper diet and exercise. Now people are practicing preventive therapeutic methods and activities in their lives to slow down the aging process and lower their chances of being stricken with a chronic disease. This is opposed to the traditional rehabilitation model, which merely placed emphasis on recovery after one became ill so that they could return to the work place and be self-sufficient. With consumers taking a more active role in the decision-making on what rehabilitative services they need, the danger of the consumer making uninformed decisions exists. However due to good doctor-consumer relationships, consumers are able to make sound purchase decisions. Therefore the sick role has been redefined by the marketing of rehabilitation services to a physically active, and purchasing consumer rather than the former passive, uninformed patient.
It seems for the most part that those who suffer most from this marketing strategy is women, children, and the elderly. The main reason behind this is for the simple fact that these groups of people either do not have healthcare, or just cannot afford it. In America today there are over 37 million people who do not have health insurance. Latest estimates predict that as much as 28 percent of our population is either underinsured or not insured at all. This is a cause for great concern because through the marketing of rehabilitation services the costs for services have become so expensive that over one quarter of the population will not have access to them. So an ethical controversy exists between providing excellent rehabilitation services to only those who can afford it, or providing adequate rehabilitation services to everyone. This topic has gone all the way to the Whitehouse where interest groups have pressed legislators for stiffer laws regulating the costs and marketing of rehabilitative services, however past presidents have promoted health care providers as a free marketeers and discouraged regulations against them.
The marketing of rehabilitation goods and services has done both good and bad things for the American way of life. First of all, it has brought a greater awareness of preventive rehabilitation. Secondly it has advanced in the discoveries of rehabilitative services for people with musculoskeletal disorders such as swollen joints or lower back pain. People are now able to recover almost to their full ability prior to their injury or disorder. The problem that is in controversy here however is that the price of this new technology has made rehabilitative services a commodity and only those willing to pay for the services will receive them. One possible solution to this problem could be the introduction of socialized medicine. If socialized medicine were in place, doctors could work a certain amount of hours for themselves during the week and then another set amount of hours for the government. This way, anyone who pays into social security or whatever program the government sets up for socialized health care, will have access to some sort of health care provider. To answer the ethical question as to who deserves the right to health care, the answer is everyone. Unfortunately for some, capitalism and the continuing drive for the all-mighty dollar will keep socialized medicine out of the American way of life.
The Disability Wars by Timothy Kenny is about the struggles he endured after being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). His article recounts the adversities he had to face with the possibility of losing his disability insurance and not being able to pay the bills and take care of his family. This article also discusses the problems involved with both the health care providers and social security. The reality of certain illnesses not being accepted by insurance companies for payment claims, and finally the fear of having to return to the workplace with a debilitating illness just to survive.
Timothy Kenny was a station manager for a news-broadcasting network when he was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. According to the CDC and the FDA, Kenny had one of the most severe cases of CFS possible. After being diagnosed with CFS Kenny was placed on disability by his company for a period of six months. Luckily for Kenny, who had never even considered disability insurance, it was included in his company’s benefits package. During this time, he was still considered an employee of the company and he received pay. This would last for a 180 days. After the 180 days he would automatically be terminated by the company, however he would still able to purchase the company’s medical benefits package. Unfortunately for Timothy and his family he was only entitled by law to 60 percent of his normal salary. With the bills of trying to support a family mounting up, this 60 percent was barely enough for Timothy and his family to survive. Plus payments by the disability insurance company were not guaranteed because they were still looking into his claim.
Timothy had begun an insurance disabilities claim well before the 180-day deadline in hopes everything would be taken care of by his termination date. However once that date came around he found his case still to be under review. He questioned the company since he had already been diagnosed with a severe case of CFS as to why it was taking them so long. The insurance company began making him jump through hoops in hopes that he would simply drop his claim. They even wanted Timothy to come in and see one of their doctors who did not even specialize in CFS. The insurance companies also made no attempt to speed up this entire process for Timothy to assist him in his financial needs. They even told him at one point that he had a psychological problem and not a physical problem. Finally when his claim was approved, he was told he needed to apply for social security and that whatever amount he was given from them would be deducted from what the insurance company was already paying. Dealing with social security was also a nightmare for Timothy and his family. Apparently everyone who initially applies for social security benefits is denied, no matter what the circumstances may be. This was also the case for Timothy. He was initially denied and then he reapplied for his case to be renewed. Upon review of his case, the Social Security Administration declined his claim and stated that he was in adequate enough health to return to work based on the fact that he could sit, stand, and lift more than ten pounds. Timothy wasn’t even able to read a newspaper, let alone manage an entire news station. Timothy then had to face the fear of returning to work even though he was not getting any better just to survive. He did not choose to become ill and if he had his choice he would be working and making a living for his family.
The moral and ethical questions that are raised in this article have to deal with insurance companies and social security alike having the ability to deny claims as they please, leaving people with serious medical conditions out there with no support when they need it the most. Another big controversy with social security is the fact that people pay into it for so many years and when it comes time for social security to pay back, they just deny the claim and send you back to work. But once the ill person returns to work the social security payments are immediately deducted from their checks again. A possible solution for this problem is to have the CDC and FDA get together and make a list of acceptable diseases and syndromes that will be covered by social security and then provide assistance to everyone who falls into the acceptable categories. It is understandable that the insurance companies are in business to make money, however the Social Security Administration should not. They should be required to pay back out to those who have paid in. Some legislation should also be passed as to how insurance companies can disseminate amongst valid claims.