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Exploring the U.S. Healthcare System

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Karen Valaitis, University of West Florida

Copyright Year: 2023

Publisher: University of West Florida Pressbooks

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of Use

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Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Overview of the U.S Healthcare System
  • Chapter 2: Delivery Systems
  • Chapter 3: Health Insurance
  • Chapter 4: Access, Quality & Cost
  • Chapter 5: Current Issues in Healthcare Policy
  • Chapter 6: Technology in Healthcare

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  • About the Book

    Welcome to Exploring the U.S. Healthcare System. This open educational resource (OER) introduces students to foundational characteristics of the U.S. healthcare system. It begins with an overview of the healthcare system that includes a brief history and a description of the current state of health in the U.S. The second chapter describes health delivery systems, including inpatient, outpatient, post-acute, longterm, palliative, and hospice care. An introduction to health insurance in the third chapter will include an overview of basic concepts, private insurance, public insurance, and recent trends. The fourth chapter presents issues related to the triple aim of improving access to care, increasing the quality of care, and lowering the cost of care. The fifth chapter reviews how the government intervenes in healthcare and presents current policy issues related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and value-based contracting. The final chapter on the topic of technology in healthcare provides an overview of health information technology, health information legislation, emerging technologies, and the future of health information technology. Chapter content is supplemented with additional material such as reports, briefs, figures, infographics, definitions, and key terms. Chapters two through six end with a “knowledge check” exercise to actively engage students with the content. While this OER book was curated and created for undergraduate students in the field of healthcare, it is my hope that it will continue to be customized to other programs and shared again.

    About the Contributors


    Dr. Karen Valaitis, Clinical Assistant Professor, teaches Understanding U.S. Health Care, Health Care Administration, Medical Terminology, Strategic Planning in Healthcare, and Healthcare Delivery Systems.

    Dr. Valaitis gained health care management and practice experience at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio, where she worked for 20 years. During her time there, she was a critical care therapist and respiratory therapy manager for 10 years, which helped her acquire practical experience and working knowledge necessary for teaching medical terminology. She has more than 10 years of health care administration experience working as the administrator for cardiovascular research, orthopedic surgery, and neurosurgery and neurology. Later, she became the commercialization officer for neurosurgery and neurology, overseeing the department’s intellectual property portfolio.

    Before coming to UWF in 2012, she worked in health care administration at the Ohio State University Medical Center and in executive search for health care programs in higher education. She is certified as a quality online Instructor and peer reviewer with the Quality Matters Program.

    Dr. Valaitis earned a bachelor’s degree in science (BS) from The Ohio State University, master's in business administration (MBA) from Cleveland State University, and a doctorate degree in education (Ed.D.) from the University of West Florida.

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