Unit VII Scholarly Activity: American Health Care Essay
SOC 1010, Introduction to Sociology
Columbia Southern University
Unit VII Scholarly Activity: American Health Care Essay
In this essay I will be discussing the recent visit I made to a Veteran’s Health Administration (VA) website and I will briefly cover the Public Health healthcare program that they offered. The websites can be found at the following links; https://www.va.gov/health/ & https://www.publichealth.va.gov/index.asp. They were both very easy to navigate and offered a wide range of information on a multitude of issues. The following statement was the mission and vision statement from the Public Health VA site. The Office of Patient Care Services has critical responsibilities for promoting health and preventing disease among Veterans. By developing evidence-based public health policy, conducting operations research, and performing educational outreach, we continue to support America’s Veterans and the VA workforce, (Public Health Home, 2018). There are several program categories offered on this site to get more information on such as Military Exposures, Diseases & Conditions, Health & Wellness, Studies & Data, Patient Treatment, and Employee Health. A great thing about this website is that you can subscribe to receive updates monthly. I chose this site because I am a veteran and it I important in my eyes to know where to go to find information that is more relatable to my social structure. The Office of Public Health focuses on certain medical conditions that may affect Veterans, (Public Health Diseases & Conditions, 2015). Diseases Prevention and Health Promotion go hand in hand in combating illness and keeping people healthy. These two pillars are paramount in the Public Health world. Another great advantage of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Public Health website is that it offers multiple contact numbers, some are generalized numbers and some are more subject specific which is beneficial when you only need to contact someone for a certain issue or concern.
A functionalist view on health care is that it is a social institution that provides for our health and welfare and thus preserves social order, (Witt, 2016). I understood this in its simplest form of to maintain our social order we will continue to play the role we normally play whether we are sick or not and will normally have to play the sick role to be told to take time away to heal depending on the level of sickness we are perceived to be. If we need to see a doctor we will do so and in order to become healthy we need to follow instructions. I see the functionalist view of this website in two manners one could be looking for a good provider of the required information or as just looking for information or instructions on how to self-diagnose.
A conflict theorist views inequality in health care and exposure to environmental hazards, such as toxic waste and air and water pollution, (Witt, 2016). I translate this to mean that conflict theorists perceive that people from a disadvantaged background say poor or lower education would not have the access or knowledge to benefit from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Public Health website and thus would have a higher chance of falling ill.
An interactionist’s views health care as patients can play an active role in their health both by seeking out a physician’s services and by choosing whether or not to follow a doctor’s order, (Witt, 2016). To mean I see this a one of the primary uses of this website it is available for use if the person so chooses to use it. It also gives information to help self-diagnose and this falls right in-line with the functionalist view point. The information presented is backed by credentialed providers and health care professionals.
Each viewpoint whether it be the functionalist, conflict theorist, and interactionist viewpoint has its individualized perspective and would explain the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Public Health differently.
There are several social structures that affect a person’s ability to access affordable quality health care in the American society. One of those structures is social class. Studies in the United States and other countries have consistently shown that people in the lower social classes have higher rates of mortality and disability than those in the higher classes, (Witt, 2016). There are several things that can influence a social classes health. A couple of these things are poor living conditions and a substandard diet. In some instances, a poor education can illnesses by having a lack of awareness on how to have a healthy diet or maintain good health. Finances also cause issues with health care as the poor can not afford the proper insurance to cover the care they need.
Another structure that can have an affect on health care is race and ethnicity. The poor economic and environmental conditions of groups such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are manifested in high mobility and mortality rates for these groups, (Witt, 2016). When reviewing the race and ethnicity issues presented with health care it is easy to see that the medical world is not exempted from institutional discrimination. Minorities continue to receive poor or lackluster healthcare. Keeping this injustice in mind it might also be playing a factor into the poor health of these minorities by inducing unneeded stress which can lend itself to some higher medical problems.
My personal beliefs on the health care system in America are both good and bad. What I mean by that is I can see both advantages to the system we have in place and I can also see many flaws. I am fortunate enough to have my health care paid for by the military. It is one of the many benefits that we receive that I am very grateful for. I have also seen the health care system from multiple perspectives, all the way from lower class to middle class. Being a military member puts me currently in the middle class social structure and this has helped shape my views on the health care system. In this regard I have seen plenty of the benefits that can come from the health care system. I have myself taking advantage of being able to be seen for minor and major illnesses. My family has been taken care of and they have also benefited from our health care system. I do have to day that as a military member and military family we are a bit on the spoiled side. We can make appointment relatively easy and our wait times are not very long and the service was great. On the flip side of this before the military I was in the lower class and my perspective was different that it currently is. My previous experiences with the health care system was it took too long to schedule a simple appointment and the wait to see the provider took three times as long as the time actually spent with them. Also, the service all the way from the technician to the doctor was that of an over work and over stressed environment. Another negative that I have noticed over time is the inability to adopt a system that can help all Americans in receiving the care that they need. Clearly my current social status as a white middle class male has influenced my views on the health care system in America as a decent system but I know there are issues that need to be addressed, I’m not oblivious to them but I can only effect change by taking a stand and seeking change through legislation which in my intent through my government representative.
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