The Center of Bioethics and Health Policy (CBHP) is a multidisciplinary center that is inclusive of all colleges with the University. It has four missions which include: education, service, policy development and research.
CBHP is housed within the Institute of Public and Preventive Health. With health care absorbing 18-20% of the national budge, it is imperative to imbed education regarding ethical decisions and choices to optimize health care resources.
Immersing students in ethical considerations from the beginning, prepares them to confront the decisions that they will be making throughout their career. With the changing landscape of insurance coverage, the best option seen by the care provider for the patient may not be the best solution for the patient in terms of their available resources. In 2015, a team of medical students was awarded a grant to develop a Leadership through Ethics program. The interest has grown with the Center looking at curriculum opportunities within the existing paradigm as well as developing a Certificate program and a Master’s level degree in Bio-Ethics.
The Hospital Ethics Committee provides a consultative service to any employee or family member that has an ethical concern about the care given to their family member or loved one. The service is accessed with one call 706-721-RISK (7475). The Risk management office will determine if the issue is an ethical concern or a legal issue. If it is determined that this is an ethical matter, a request for a consultation is sent to all committee members via e-mail. The case is then reviewed using the principles of medical ethics: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice.
Using the guiding principles of Medical ethics, the committee has produced two policies- Brain Death and Allow a Natural Death. These two policies are at the core of many discussions and have helped to define protocols based upon state law and best practice.
In this area, the committee used the data gathered from their consultations to identify the cost effectiveness of the committee. The data indicated that once the committee had reviewed a case, the length of stay was shortened and the resources were allocated more appropriately.