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POLICY PROCESS 2
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Introduction
Policy reform is designed to make changes in existing policies. As times change and new
ideas and technologies are introduced, reform is needed to make sure policies that are already in
place remain relevant. Ethical, moral and legal issues can arise and must be addressed by
implementing new guidelines that are specific to that issue. Changing or reforming an existing
policy must go through a pre-determined process that ensure the reform is kept within the legal
structure of the law, while still meeting the needs of the people (Gerston, 2010).
Evaluation Stage
The evaluation stage consists of an overall review of the feasibility of the policy as well
as whether or not it is cost effective to make the changes. The first step in the evaluation stage is
to determine what needs to be corrected or changed within the policy itself. Is it outdated or are
there new issues that must be addressed? Are the new issues policy wide, or do they pertain only
to a specific area within the policy? Answering these questions will determine the extent of the
reform needed to make the policy function as it should.
The next step is to determine if making changes to the existing policy is cost effective or
if a new policy should be introduced to take its place. For example, if reforming a policy will
cost $15 million in studies, lobbying costs and other fees and creating a new policy would only
cost taxpayers $8 million, it would be more cost effective to create and implement a new policy
with an overall savings of $7 million. It must also be determine that the end cost of the reform
would also be feasible. Again, if $15 million is spent on reform and there is no savings can be
guaranteed after the results are considered, it may be wiser to just leave the policy as it is instead
of wasting money trying to fix something that isn’t necessarily broken (Harrington, and Estes,
POLICY PROCESS 2
2008).
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Evaluating existing policies entails interviewing people within the health care industry as
well as those who are and would be impacted by any changes being made. Will reform drive the
cost of health care higher? Will the additional cost ensure greater privacy or higher quality of
treatment? Questions like these must be asked and accurate answers received to ensure proper
changes can be made that will eventually benefit as many individuals as possible.
Analysis Stage
The analysis stage of the policy reform process consists of taking the information
obtained and going over it extensively to determine what answers are available. Applying what
the policy in existence already states and then reviewing possible changes that may be needed is
part of the analysis process. Looking at possible changes and how they will affect the outcome of
a specific issue or problem can help to determine to what degree changes must be made. In some
cases, sweeping change is needed to correct an unforeseen issue that no one in the industry was
quite prepared for. When this occurs, the reform process can take years as input must be gained
from several areas. The review of information in the midst of such drastic changes may result in
a complete over haul of the policy and the issues it addresses.
Congressional committees were established to help analyze and review information and
set guidelines in place to help guide the process of policy reform. Each committee is made up of
members who are qualified and have experience in the specific area of legislation the group
addresses. Committees that deal with policy reform in the area of health care are made of
individuals who have experience in the health care industry.
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Revision Stage
During the revision stage, information gained and investigated during the evaluation and
analysis stages is carefully studied and possible solutions are considered in an attempt to correct
existing issues. The revision process must be approved by both changes of Congress. Changes
that are made may have to be modified several times in an attempt to bring both groups in
agreement. While this part of the process can seem redundant, it must be completed to ensure
every aspect of the policy is legal and fulfills the needs of the people as a whole (Lee, & Estes,
2003).
When revising an existing policy, it must be remembered that there may be several
possible solutions to rectify a single problem. By continually reviewing the findings from the
evaluation and analysis steps of the process, lawmakers can determine which solution address
the majority of the issues while still implementing the true nature and course of the policy.
Policies are written to establish a certain protocol or process and when events occur that call for
changes, the nature of the bill or law must remain intact to the fullest extent possible. In some
cases, that is difficult to accomplish without completely rewriting the policy.
Evaluating and Revising a Public Policy
The purpose of evaluating and revising public policy is to ensure it is sufficient to meet
current needs and expectations. A policy written 30 years ago is incapable of addressing issues
that have been brought to light with the advent of new technology. Revisions to the policy are
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needed to ensure it remains current and in alignment with new issues that continue to present
themselves.
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The methodology of evaluating an existing bill is comprised of several steps. These steps
include knowing the issues at hand, knowing the steps in the decision making process and the
planning it entails, scientific relevance (if any), and a planning support system and its
capabilities. Evaluating an existing bill also requires the understanding of the roles of individuals
responsible for planning and the overall decision-making process, as well as the impact and
influence of Science on the outcome.
Once it is determined what changes need to be made, putting the revisions stage of the
process in motion is the next step. Solutions are carefully developed, reviewed and tested against
similar concepts. Each solution must be weighed by both its benefits as well as its disadvantages.
In some cases, the use of two solutions, each modified to work with the other, may be used to
ensure the best possible outcome is reached for all involved. It is obvious not every bill or reform
will solve each problem. Individuals who are involved in the process make every attempt to
address the issues at hand and resolve as many of the problems as possible (Brashier, 2002).
The evaluation methodology ensures each aspect of the problem is addressed and what is
needed to make effective changes. As steps are taken within the process, revisions are gradually
formed and adapted to meet the current needs of the industry. Concerns about future issues may
also be included in the revision process in an attempt to make the policy more adaptable as
trends continue to change.
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Conclusion
Health care reform is an ongoing process. Policies that were put in place long ago are no
longer relevant. Others still hold credibility, but with constant changes being made in the field of
technology and other forms of medicine, policies must continually be modified to remain in line
with current trends and ideas. The process that fuels these changes has been consistent since its
inception. Following the process ensures health care reform will continue to evolve and adapt
along with the industry.
 

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