North Central College - Naperville, IL

U.S. Health Care System and Patient Advocacy

This course examines the various components of the U.S. health care system, both public and private, while emphasizing the ways that health care in the United States is organized, delivered and financed. Special attention will be paid to moral issues as they relate to the health care system and to the practical implications of this discussion in advocating for patients and their families.

This course will provide an understanding of the history and problems of American medicine and health care, an ability to analyze health care issues and explain them clearly to the general public, and an understanding of central ethical and public service issues related to health care and patient advocacy. The course will cover some issues in the philosophy of medicine; history of American medicine; the health care reform movements during the 20th and 21st centuries; the medicalization of society; The Affordable Care and Protection Act; economic issues in health care, such as cost containment and questions of economic and social justice; overview of patient advocacy and its role in U.S. health care; health literacy, health professional/patient communication, patient safety and E-patients; and division of labor among health care professionals.

Coursework may include multiple papers and a presentation. The first paper may characterize a students’ understanding of the U.S. health care system and their analysis from the standpoints of medicine and health care, politics, economics, public policy, law and/or sociology. The second paper may assess the health care system from one of the standpoints that comes from discussions of moral and political philosophy. The course may proceed from macro-issues to micro-issues and emphasize the importance of understanding the link between these. Students may write a third paper, which they will present and defend at the end of the term.