Posted: March 23rd, 2023

Health Care Policy

Overview of Healthcare Policy

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Healthcare policy is an important aspect that improves the health of a community. It refers to the decisions, plans, and actions that policymakers in government and within the community take to achieve particular health-related objectives. The policy guides decision-makers, including nurse leader and practitioners, on issues related to their health and wellbeing. Policies establish long and short-term plans that improve the health of individuals and groups in the community. They further initiate the roles and responsibilities of the participants and stakeholders in achieving the health and wellbeing of the public (Mason, Leavitt, & Chaffee, 2013). Stakeholders collaborate to achieve common objectives in the healthcare sector and community. Health policies promote health, prevent diseases, and allow better access to quality medical care that comprises every member of the community. Therefore, health policies are necessary to guarantee that the community is safe from negative choices that harm their health while ensuring that adequate health service providers are available to take care of diverse needs.

As an advocate, the nurse plays an important role in ensuring that policymakers create effective policies that help to avert health problems and address the current ones. A nurse is an important voice for the members of the community who suffer from various health challenges and require an effective solution to address them (Mason, Leavitt, & Chaffee, 2013). They work closely with members of the community to understand the challenges they face in their life. Therefore, they are placed in a good position to gather health-related information that they use to inform policies. They should be part of solving the identified problems that affect community health. Consequently, nurses recognize a policy issue and make it known to policymakers and work with them towards designing and implementing the necessary solution. Nurses can also propose some effective policy alternatives that are likely to solve the identified policy issue. They also help in implementing the designed policy to address various health issues in their communities.

Healthcare policies have major implications for nurses who play an important role in the caregiving process. Nursing professionals work closely with members of the community to improve access to quality medical care (Mason, Leavitt, & Chaffee, 2013). Therefore, policymakers should make decisions that support their work and initiate policies that create a positive environment for the nurses to work and play their caregiving role, health promotion, and advocacy part in their target community. Nurses can effectively work to educate the community members, make the right diagnosis (especially for nurse practitioners), and prescribe medications that do not cause more harm to the people. In modern society, nurses are working in a very demanding environment because of major risks to human health, some of which are caused by negative lifestyle choices and harmful behaviors such as drug abuse. One of the leading policy issues in the state of Florida is the increase in opioids overdoses, some resulting in death. Nurses require an effective policy in the state to reduce the burden of opioids overdoses and to prevent deaths, arising from this issue.

Identification of Selected Healthcare Policy Concern

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Nurses have an important role in identifying healthcare and community health issues that affect the people they serve in the community. One of the leading problems for the people living in Florida is the increase in the cases of opioid overdoses, some that lead to death. The state has witnessed an increase in opioids overdoses and related deaths in the recent past. The issue is on the rise amid an increase in the incidence of chronic pains resulting from various diseases as well as the high cost of healthcare (Volkow, Frieden, Hyde, & Cha, 2014). The state and country, in general, have witnessed major changes in legal guidelines, such as those affecting the prescription of opioids for the treatment of serious non-cancer pains. The changes are among the causes of an increase in the abuse of prescription drugs in the state. Research evidence and statistics show a high rate of use and abuse of opioids in Florida and the detrimental effects of the behavior.

Statistics from Florida reveal a high rate of opioid overdose affecting various age groups, including the youth and adults. The high rate of those incidences is propagated by the availability of prescription drugs, which treat different types of pains, including non-cancer pains (Kasarla, 2017). Besides, various effects of the drug abuse are evident, including health outcomes and loss of productivity because of mental effects from the overdose. However, the worst effect of opioids overdose among the affected patient populations is death. Notably, opioids are the leading causes of death from overdose in Florida and the whole country. The drugs are implicated in 42,249 deaths in 2016. The deaths were approximately five times higher in 2016 compared to such incidences in 1999 (Rudd, 2016). The high incidence of opioids overdoses and related deaths is a cause for concern in the community and requires an immediate policy response by the state government working with health care providers such as nurses.

Description of the Identified Solution to the Selected Healthcare Concern

Current interventions targeting drug abuse focuses on the prevalence of illegal drugs, which has left room for the proliferation of the abuse of prescription drugs. Therefore, an effective solution is necessary to deal with the increase in opioids overdoses and related deaths. The proposed solution to the problem should target the issue from two perspectives: prevention and treatment. Many people are at the risk of becoming addicted to and overdosing opioids because of their availability, while many are already addicted and risk death from overdose (Florence, Luo, Xu, & Zhou, 2016). Therefore, the government should implement a solution to tackle the issue from both angles. It should involve an advocacy program to create centers for treatment and equip the available health care facilities with resources for the treatment of those addicted to drugs. Nurses and other health care providers should work together in the treatment.

The other part of the solution and the most important is to prevent the escalation of the problem in the community. The preventive aspect should focus on preventing those at the risk of addiction and overdose. The most effective solution should focus on reducing the ease of access to prescription drugs. It should focus on the health care system to ensure responsible prescription and use of opioids in the community. Implementing a policy that reduces prescription and ensures that opioids are used for the intended purpose will decrease the availability of drugs that increase the risk of addiction (Volkow, Frieden, Hyde, & Cha, 2014). For example, the government could create a policy dictating that opioids should only be used under medical supervision to ensure that people do not acquire the drugs easily and abuse them.

Major changes are necessary at the community and population level to foster the implementation of the proposed policy. At the community level, responsible prescription and use of opioids are necessary. Practitioners and other healthcare providers should be governed by the policy to ensure responsible prescription and use of opioids (Wilkerson, Kim, Windsor, & Mareiniss, 2016). For example, they should use them when necessary and avoid prescribing them for minor pains. They could also avoid prescribing opioids as over the counter drugs or for use at home. Advocacy should include behavior change campaign to educate the population about the dangers of opioid overdose to ensure that people avoid using them unless prescribed and under the direction of a practitioner or a physician.

An evaluation is necessary to establish the extent to which the proposed solution has achieved its objective to reduce opioids overdoses in the community. The measurable actions that will demonstrate a positive outcome if the solution is implemented include a reduction in the prescription of opioids in the health centers within the community, a reduction in the number of overdosing cases within the affected population, and a reduction in the number of deaths resulting from the overdoses (Florence, Luo, Xu, & Zhou, 2016). While the proposed solution will help to overcome the crisis, some challenges should also be addressed. One of the challenges is resistance to the change by healthcare professionals who believe in the efficacy of the drugs in reducing pain. The issue could be tackled by providing evidence of the cost (negative effects) against the benefits of opioids. Another possible challenge is the cost of implementing the program, which can be addressed through government support to solve the challenge by giving financial backing towards implementation.

Identification of Elected Official

The identified policy issue and the proposed solution should be forwarded to a policymaker for deliberation and possible implementation to solve the identified issue. The governor of Florida is the most appropriate government official to deal with the current crisis. Ronald Dion DeSantis is the current governor of Florida and the person who will be approached to help in resolving the issue affecting the community. His position in government informs his selection since he is the most appropriate person to solve the problem. He is an important part of the state legislative body that create public policies to address issues affecting the community. The previous governor of Florida, Governor Rick Scott made an official declaration of Ronald Dion DeSantis as a national crisis and declared a state of emergency in reaction to the problem. The current governor should work on the recommendations to achieve an effective solution to the problem, which requires an urgent solution.


The state of Florida faces a serious crisis of opioid overdoses that requires immediate action from the government and other stakeholders in the community, including the healthcare practitioners. The issue emerges because healthcare practitioners, including nurses, prescribe the drugs legally to treat various types of pain, such as chronic and severe non-cancer pains. However, the drugs cause serious health consequences, including deaths out of an overdose. As a result, the Florida government, led by the governor, should implement a major policy change affecting the way prescription drugs are offered to patients. The solution should include a behavior change campaign to reduce the prevalence of opioids overdoses in the community.

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