Understanding Health Policy: A Clinical Approach / Edition 6

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Understand how the healthcare system works – and how you can succeed in it

Covers the 2010 Affordable Care Act

The most trusted and comprehensive guide to healthcare available, Understanding Health Policy provides everything students and professionals need to build a solid foundation on the field’s most critical issues.

Expert practitioners in both the public and private healthcare sectors, the authors cover the entire scope of our healthcare system—from the concepts behind policy decisions to concrete examples of how they affect patients and professionals alike. Understanding Health Policy, 6e makes otherwise difficult concepts easy to understand—so you can make better decisions, improve outcomes, and enact positive change on a daily basis.


  • Coverage of structure, organization, and financing of the health care system
  • Key principles, descriptions, and concrete examples are skillfully interwoven in each chapter to make important issues interesting and understandable
  • Clinical vignettes clarify difficult concepts and demonstrate how they apply to real-world situations
  • Comprehensive list of review questions reinforce what you have learned

Understanding Health Policy, 6e will help you develop a clearer, more systematic way of thinking about health care in the United States, its problems, and the alternatives for managing and solving these problems.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Carole Ann Kenner, PhD, RN, FAAN (The College of New Jersey)
Description: Now in its sixth edition, this health policy book uses a backdrop of clinical scenarios. The previous edition was published in 2005.
Purpose: The purpose is to present health policy from the vantage point of its impact on individuals, families, and organizations. It also portrays the complexity of healthcare delivery and financing, and the concomitant policy implications.
Audience: Health sciences students interested in health policy are the intended audience, but I would add anyone interested in health policy — practicing health professionals, policy students, business students, and healthcare administrators.
Features: The book follows the usual health policy themes, such as cost of healthcare, reimbursement modes, healthcare delivery and changes with healthcare reform, quality of care and patient safety concerns, the delicate and controversial topic of medical ethics and rationing of services, and, finally, the debate about challenges and opportunities for policy and delivery changes in the current healthcare reform climate. There are several notable omissions in this edition. In the chapter on health professions education, there is no mention of the IOM Health Professions Education report of 2003 that set the stage for interprofessional competencies across disciplines. Nor is there mention of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative that has set the interprofessional competencies. The other key report is the 2010 Lancet report by Julio Frenk and Lincoln Chen, "Health Professionals for a New Century: Transforming Education to Strengthen Health Systems in an Interdependent World." These reports, along with the movement towards GNE dollars for nursing education fashioned after GME dollars for medical education, are important influencing factors in today's healthcare/policy environment.
Assessment: There are many health policy books out. This one has a longstanding following, spanning almost 20 years. Its niche is in providing clinical scenarios in each chapter and ending the book with discussion questions that challenge students to think critically about today's health policy issues.
Annals of Internal Medicine
This highly readable text gives a broad but detailed picture of how health care is organized and dispensed in the United States. It considers the problems of, and possible solutions for, cost control, long-term care, quality control, ethical issues, and insurance programs. Clinicians are likely to find the text attractive because of its supportive flowcharts and its frequent use of specific, concrete examples.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071770521
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Series: Understanding Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 231
  • Sales rank: 49,655
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 9.84 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas S. Bodenheimer, MD, is Adjunct Professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

Kevin Grumbach, MD, is Professor and Chair, Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Paradox of Excess and Deprivation

2. Paying for Health Care

3. Access to Health Care

4. Reimbursing Health Care Providers

5. How Health Care is Organized 1: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Care

6. How Health Care is Organized II: Health Delivery Systems

7. The Health Care Workforce and the Education of Health Care Professionals

8. Painful Versus Painless Cost Control

9. Mechanisms for Controlling Costs

10. Quality of Health Care

11. Prevention of Illness

12. Long-Term Care

13. Medical Ethics and Rationing of Health Care

14. Healh Care in Four Nations

15. Healh Care Reform and National Health Insurance

16. Conflict and Change in America's Health Care System

17. Conclusion: Tensions and Challenges

18. Questions and Discussion Topics

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Customer Reviews

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