Benchmark – Policy Brief assignment

NRS 428 Benchmark – Policy Brief assignment

Benchmark – Policy Brief assignment

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People’s productivity depends on their health statuses, and it is crucial to keep health at an optimal level always. Disappointingly, many problems hampering care provision at the global, state, and community levels make it challenging to achieve the optimization required. For instance, the world’s global warming level keeps on rising, risking the populace’s health. Due to the far-reaching effects of such problems, public health policies usually play a fundamental role in controlling the magnitude of damage and remedy situations. The declining state of air quality in California due to pollution is a worrying issue that can be remedied through policy interventions.

Policy Health Issue: Description

The respiratory system functions at the best level required when people breathe fresh air. Despite this general fact, not many people are guaranteed quality air as pollution levels increase progressively. As highlighted in the American Public Health Association (APHA) website, climate change over the years has been increasing ground-level ozone and other types of air pollution, and the state of California is among the most affected. Frankly, the entire population is affected, but the damage is more severe among older people due to their low immunity levels (Simoni et al., 2015; Chen et al., 2015). They appear the most affected since the direct consequences of air pollution such as air toxics and particulate matter increase their hospitalization and infection with asthma and bronchitis. California has eight out of the ten most polluted cities in the United States (American Lung Association, 2020). This figure implies that the problem is critical in California, and more interventions to supplement the current frameworks are crucial.

Problem Statement

The environment plays an instrumental role in keeping people healthy. Food production and quality of air depend, to a large extent, on the climatic patterns. When climate change is unfavorable, the entire population faces considerable risks, which typifies what has been happening in California. According to Cart (2020), air pollution has been worsening over time; its severity can be confirmed because staying at home during the Covid-19 pandemic has not decreased it to the level required in any notable way. Emissions that increase the danger have been increasing over time too. Sommer et al. (2020) noted that emissions, combined with hot and stagnant weather, make air pollution hit dangerous levels, particularly in the summer, leading to a scenario where California does not comply with federal air standards. Such situations need robust policies to remedy.

The current situation and notable efforts show that there has been an effort to reduce air toxicity in California, but there is a lot to be done. The extent of danger is greater than the control measures. For instance, pollution reductions under the Clean Air Act have prevented approximately 205,000 premature deaths (Revesz & Lienke, 2016). However, the general objective of policies and supplementary laws should be to accomplish a state where every population segment is safe. Policies should further protect the most vulnerable, which does not happen in California.

The Current Policy: Breathing Fresh Act of California

From a general viewpoint, this policy is anchored on the idea principle that a policy should define a vision for the future. The Breathing Fresh Act follows a similar concept with the Clean Air Act but improves when it comes to reviewing. Unlike requiring the state to review its environmental protection guidelines after eight years like the Clean Air Act, the Breathing Fresh Act will obligate the state to review its rules every three years. Furthermore, all organizations should have elaborate social responsibility programs centered on environmental protection while concentrating on making the air free from pollution.

Initiating this policy follows the general procedure of policymaking. The first step is identifying the need, which has already been done. The damaging effect of toxic air should be minimized to health-friendly levels. The second step is delegating responsibility. A team should work on it to develop ways in which the authorities will be reached and informed. After that, a draft policy will be composed, followed by consultation with appropriate stakeholders. Here, the target stakeholders are the politicians and other government officials, particularly the Senator, who can sponsor the recommendations as a bill.  The main budgetary consideration to make is how to print copies of the act and distribute it to influential individuals at the community level.

Impact on the Health Care Delivery System

Health care provision is centered on a patient-centered practice that prioritizes quality. In agreement with Bhatt and Bathija (2018), one way of ensuring that people get quality care is by reducing infections as much as possible and protecting the vulnerable populations with more resources. Health care providers should never be overburdened too. Implementing the Breath Fresh Act implies that the California health care fraternity and the government are committed to reducing respiratory infections in the state. Doing so will keep everyone safe from such infections and ensure that the state’s productivity does not decline as industrialization that increases air pollution grows at all levels.

Admittedly, no state can guarantee its people total protection from illnesses. Challenges must emerge often, and environmental damage has been a leading source of public health problems. In California, air quality has been declining due to continuous pollution, causing diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. The proposed policy recognizes the need for practical and long-lasting solutions to such problems. It is hoped to make a massive impact on keeping people productive at the community, state, and national levels.




American Lung Association. (2020, Apr 21). Nearly half of US breathing unhealthy air; record-breaking air pollution in nine cities. Eureka Alert!.

Bhatt, J., & Bathija, P. (2018). Ensuring access to quality health care in vulnerable communities. Academic Medicine93(9), 1271-1275. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002254

Cart, J. (2020, Apr 12). As Californians stay at home, air quality improves – for now. Cal Matters.

Chen, Z., Salam, M. T., Eckel, S. P., Breton, C. V., & Gilliland, F. D. (2015). Chronic effects of air pollution on respiratory health in Southern California children: findings from the Southern California Children’s Health Study. Journal of thoracic disease7(1), 46–58.

Revesz, R. L., & Lienke, J. (2016). Struggling for air: Power plants and the “war on coal”. Oxford University Press.

Simoni, M., Baldacci, S., Maio, S., Cerrai, S., Sarno, G., & Viegi, G. (2015). Adverse effects of outdoor pollution in the elderly. Journal of thoracic disease7(1), 34–45.

Sommer, L., Hersher, R., Jingnan, H., & Beniscasa, R. (2020, May 19). Traffic Is Way Down Because Of Lockdown, But Air Pollution? Not So Much. NPR.

Some stakeholders and agencies employ monitoring and tracking systems to support safe environmental conditions. Environmental protection organizations use an air quality index to help the general public quickly identify unhealthy air quality levels. The method advises persons who are more vulnerable to injury to be more cautious when out in public. The EPA is particularly concerned about diesel exhaust emissions from automobiles, trains, and ships, which have been linked to cancer in humans.

A Step-by-Step Manual for Changing Policies

The creation of policies can significantly improve the health of a population. Professionals in the nursing and public health fields are crucial to the creation of public policy. Finding the issue is the first step. air pollution stakeholders should take the public’s health into

The benchmark assesses the following competencies:

1.4 Participate in health care policy development to influence nursing practice and health care.

Research public health issues on the “Climate Change” or “Topics and Issues” pages of the American Public Health Association (APHA) website. Investigate a public health issue related to an environmental

NRS 428 Benchmark – Policy Brief assignment Essays
NRS 428 Benchmark – Policy Brief assignment Essays

issue within the U.S. health care delivery system and examine its effect on a specific population.

Write a 750-1,000-word policy brief that summarizes the issue, explains the effect on the population, and proposes a solution to the issue.

Follow this outline when writing the policy brief:

Topic 4 DQ 1

Sep 19-21, 2022

Research the delivery, finance, management, and sustainability methods of the U.S. health care system. Evaluate the effectiveness of one or more of these areas on quality patient care and health outcomes. Propose a potential health care reform solution to improve effectiveness in the area you evaluated and predict the expected effect. Describe the effect of health care reform on the U.S. health care system and its respective stakeholders. Support your post with a peer-reviewed journal article.

Shola Akonu

Sep 21, 2022, 11:11 PM

The U.S. has a decentralized healthcare system with various private and public access points. The public health system includes government entities and collaborative efforts with community nonprofit organizations and faith-based organizations. Government agencies include state and local health departments, providing care such as laboratory services, health screenings, treatment of disease, and epidemiology surveillance (Quentin & Busse, 2018). Private health care is delivered in inpatient, outpatient, or ambulatory care; long-term or residential; mental health; home care; wellness center; and alternative medicine settings. Private institutions are either for-profit private facilities or nonprofit private facilities, with the latter being the largest component. The U.S. has poor health outcomes, including low life expectancy and high suicide rates, compared to our peer nations.

A relatively higher chronic disease burden and incidence of obesity contribute to the problem, but the U.S. health care system is also not doing its part. The analysis shows that the U.S. has the highest rates of avoidable mortality because of people not receiving timely, high-quality care (Saenz, 2021). The healthcare system in U.S. is greatly influenced by the health insurance system which does not adequately support right to health which every person residing legally in United States should be able to enjoy their right.

In trying to promote effective healthcare for all U.S. population, healthcare should be focusing on the care that can be afforded by all and strengthening the primary preventive care. The preventable diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cancers can be minimized by promoting access to effective and quality healthcare. For Americans to enjoy optimal health—as individuals and as a population—they must have the benefit of high-quality health care services that are effectively coordinated within a strong public health system (Colón, 2018). The greater attention should be placed on reducing health care costs. The U.S. could look to approaches taken by other industrialized nations to contain costs, including budgeting practices and using value-based pricing of new medical technologies. Approaches that aim to lower health care prices are likely to have the greatest impact, since previous research has indicated that higher prices are the primary reason why the U.S. spends more on health care than any other country.



Colón, K. A. (2018). Creating a Patient-Centered, Global, Decentralized Health System: Combining New Payment and Care Delivery Models with Telemedicine, AI, and Blockchain Technology. Blockchain in Healthcare Today, 1(9), 03-11.

Quentin, W., & Busse, R. (2018). The strongly decentralized Swiss health system achieves good results: Past research has addressed persisting challenges – but more is encouraged. Health Policy, 122(6), 565–567.

Saenz, S. R. (2021). High-Level Disinfection in Ambulatory Care: Overcoming the Barriers of a Decentralized System through Auditing and Education. Antimicrobial Stewardship & Healthcare Epidemiology, 1(S1), s11–s11.

Jackeline Leon Castillo

replied toShola Akonu

Sep 22, 2022, 4:27 AM

Hello Shola,

I must mention that when evaluating the U.S. health care system and the effectiveness of it, it is important to evaluate what is affordable. The health care system in the U.S. is one of the best in the world to those who can afford it, for those who cannot afford the high prices of many treatments and medications the U.S. health care system is much less effective. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 sought to provide and improve care for those who previously could not afford it. Insurance companies in turn raised rates on those who had insurance to help offset the deficits that were created by providing benefits to those who could not afford to contribute. This system and the financial burden it has created on the government, the insurance companies, and even those who can afford to pay for their own insurance is not sustainable over the long term. The need for health care reform was prompted due to the fact that a large portion of the population was uninsured and thus could not afford health care. What could decrease the costs of health care in the U.S.?

Goldstein, A. (2015, October 27). 2016 Affordable Care Act Insurance Rates Are Climbing. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from

Benchmark-Policy Brief

In terms of public health, the current state of climate change is considered an emergency. Weather patterns are changing, air pollution is increasing, and other aspects of global warming are affecting every neighborhood on the planet. The nursing profession can influence environmental policies to improve the delivery of health care services in the national health care system. For example, there is widespread concern on a global scale about air pollution. It influences where people live as well as how they perceive the weather and environment (Benjamin, 2016). This study investigates the needs and perspectives of various groups and communities in order to better understand environmental healthcare policies and the problems they cause.

Climate change has a wide range of consequences on human health. There are numerous health and environmental consequences of ozone depletion, including asthma attacks, cardiovascular illness, heat, and storms. In light of these unfavorable results, a number of relevant and active health organizations have come out in favor of the Climate Action Now Act. The policy ensures that the government adheres to the Paris agreement’s principles and scientific goals (Friel, 2019). Methods and tactics to meet targets as well as defending public health from climate change’s detrimental effects are also determined.

Every walk of life is touched by this problem. Increased health outcomes have an impact on how people seek out medical care. People of all socioeconomic backgrounds, including children, adults, women, and teenagers, are impacted by severe weather events like heat waves and thunderstorms. The disadvantaged in society, on the other hand, bear the brunt of the consequences. They face actual and immediate health challenges because the hazards are scientifically proven and not merely theoretical. Adverse climate change affects vulnerable groups the most, according to Johnson and Lichtveld (2017a). In addition, newborns, children, low-income communities, pregnant women, individuals with disabilities, and those with chronic illnesses are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and weather changes. There is a correlation between changes in air quality and pollution. Morbidity and mortality linked to the depletion of the ozone layer would rise along with other health problems as a result.

Many factors contribute to the problem of air pollution. When coal and gas are burned, hazardous pollutants are released. As a result, the quality of air that is safe to breathe and live in decreases. The dangerous allergens and chemicals that can enter the air increase as the temperature rises. Greater asthma attacks and allergy reactions, for example, are linked to pollen seasons that last longer in hotter climates. As a result, the amount of time spent at work and school will be reduced (Tian & Sun, 2017).

Health Issues and Potential Solutions

Early, deliberate, and responsible action can protect people’s health and safety. Policymakers are taking steps to mitigate the effects of climate change now and in the future in order to improve public health. Strong climate-health adaptation and preparedness initiatives can reduce carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere. People should ride bicycles or walk instead of relying on automobiles and machinery to get around. The plan encourages physical activity in addition to lowering traffic-related emissions. Individuals who take this step may also be able to avoid problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (Wang, 2020).

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The federal regulations and ozone layer requirements aren’t being followed by community hospitals, which results in more people being admitted and using the emergency room. Private and state insurers have had to foot the tab for tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills because of these admissions. Patients’ insurance premiums rose by more than $2,015,880 as a result of the increase in environmental illness avoidable diseases. As the number of people seeking medical treatment rises, so too will the need for health care workers. As a result of this situation, there is a shortage of human resources, which results in poor service quality (Wang, 2020).


Human health suffers as a result of climate change. The health care system is heavily influenced by air pollution. Health care providers and government officials should work together to design policies that will lead to more peaceful solutions. For the sake of public and environmental health, it is imperative that stakeholders take the lead in policy formation and change.


BENJAMIN, G. C. (2016). Shelter in the storm: Health care systems and climate change. The Milbank Quarterly94(1), 18-22.

Friel, S. (2019). Climate change, global justice, and health inequities. Climate Change and the People’s Health, 1-56.

Johnson, B. L., & Lichtveld, M. Y. (2017). Steps in environmental health Policymaking. Environmental Policy and Public Health, 25-50.

Tian, L., & Sun, S. (2017). Comparison of health impact of air pollution between China and other countries. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 215-232.

Wang, J. (2020). Climate-smart health care: The power of health care action on air pollution and climate change. European Journal of Public Health30(Supplement_5).


Benchmark – Policy Brief assignment

Compare vulnerable populations. Describe an example of one of these groups in the United States or from another country. Explain why the population is designated as “vulnerable.” Include the number of individuals belonging to this group and the specific challenges or issues involved. Discuss why these populations are unable to advocate for themselves, the ethical issues that must be considered when working with these groups, and how nursing advocacy would be beneficial. 

Certain populations are more vulnerable to risk factors that can negatively affect their health, which leads to more health issues. In the United States and around the world one of the most vulnerable populations are low-income and homeless individuals. “It is estimated that about 2 percent of the world population is homeless or about 154 million.” Also, “another billion people currently live without adequate shelter, and by 2050, it’s believed that number will reach close to three billion.” (Brannon, 2019) These individuals are more vulnerable because in many cases, they struggle and are unable to afford to have access to basic needs such as clean water, nutrition, healthcare, education, clothing, and shelter. This puts them at a greater risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and long-term stress and behavioral health issues such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse problems. (Joszt, 2018) In many cases, individuals living in poverty are unable to advocate for themselves to get the resources that they need. This can be due to mental illness, physical disability, or other condition that makes it harder or prevent them from being able to advocate for themselves and their needs. The main ethical issue that should be considered with this population is their need for good healthcare vs. lack of access to healthcare needs. To address this issue, nurses can advocate for the patient and set the patient up with a social worker. A social worker can help the patient gain access to basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, and also social benefits including healthcare. They can help the patient gain these needs through social service agencies, community service agencies, and international aid organizations. (Miller, 2021) This can help patients get the important resources they need so that they can lower the adverse health risks associated with poverty and improve and maintain good health.


Brannon, A. (2019, September 26). Homelessness statistics reveal a problem that’s bigger than us, but not beyond solving. New Story. Retrieved January 10, 2022, from

Joszt, L. (2018, July 20). 5 vulnerable populations in healthcare. AJMC. Retrieved January 10, 2022, from

Miller, A. (2021). Social workers’ roles in helping the poor. Work – Retrieved January 10, 2022, from