The Determinant of Market price and Quantity in Long-Term-Care Services
In Southern Mississippi
The demand for long-term care services in the southern Mississippi has been observed to rise sequentially following the current trend of population increase, which in a way threatens the survival of the less disadvantaged in terms of income and physical health. More specifically, many health related complications related to old age, physical disabilities and inability to cater for health care services are the main factors which make many people engage in long-term health care services. Further, most industrial effluents including gases and atomic radiation have been revealed to threaten human life. So as to ensure life security, many people have high demand for long-term care services which have resulted into the rising of healthcare services in the southern Mississippi (Young, 1998).
On this regard, there are 11 nursing homes that operate within the three southern counties of Mississippi; in which six of them operate in Harrison County, two in Hancock County and three in Jackson County. As revealed by MSDH (2007), all these nursing homes have a capacity of at least eighty percent or bed occupancy. In fact, the long-term care industry constitutes of the main suppliers for various needs like beds the people in the areas inhabited by the disabled or are in need of rehab/therapy or in need of ADL (Assisted Daily Living) care (MSDH, 2007).
Perhaps, there are so many people within the region, in which most of them are from low income families and thus, find it difficult to care for their loved ones. As observed by MSDH (2007), these people from poor families are unable to provide adequate care for their beloved ones who have a diagnosis of End Stage Renal Disease, Alzheimer’s, COPD, CHF, CHD and CVAS among others. In this respect therefore, these families find it strenuous in terms of finances to keep their beloved ones at home and monitor them throughout and thus; engage them in long-term care programs. In this case, the main victims found to engage in these long-term care services were the physically impaired, the old and the people diagnosed to have chronic diseases like constipation, diabetes and lung cancer among others.
More so, the population in Mississippi has been increasing rapidly, in which the demand for long-term care beds is expected to rise consequently. Further, this will also launch the market for a demand for possibly other long-term care facilities to open up in this area; as postulated by the law of demand. Certainly, there has been a request already, for building of new facility in this area; largely because of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed a long-term care facility in Pass Christian; leaving a 90- bed shortage here on the Gulf Coast. As planned, when this new facility will opened in the industry, there would not be bed shortages any longer; as this project aims at replacing the destroyed ones on top of adding others.
According to the Harrison County 2007 Health Profile, the population trend in Harrison County is estimated to increase by an overall number of at least 198,716 by the year 2025. However, there is a significant decrease in the populated area in Harrison County from 2006-2008 due primarily to Hurricane Katrina which has changed things making people to move back to their homes. As revealed by the U.S. Census Bureau (2007), 49 percent are men as compared to women whose rate is 51 percent; meaning that; our long–term care facilities here in Southern Mississippi has a higher percentage of women in nursing homes. Further, racial distribution show that, there are more Mexican Americans as compared to African- Americans in Southern Mississippi; at a ratio of 7.2:2.8.
Further, this study shows that; out of this population, the age group 45 to 64 makes up 26 percent, whereas the other 12 is made up from the age 65 and above. According to NCHS (2003), these groups of people would require long-term care services more than likely (1). As revealed from these statistics, the number of old people who apply for these long-term care services increases from a year to another; an implication that, the number of beds are to be increased in relation to the number of its occupants.
This study also showed that, un-employment increases the risk of people who have health problems (2) as they lack enough money to cater for their long-term health care services. As revealed by WHO (2003), the number of people who live in Harrison County over the age of sixty- five is expected to increase in the next decade. Perhaps, the age-group 65 to 74 is expected to increase by 21,702 whereas those above 75 years are expected to increase by 22,038 by the year 2025. This means that, as people live longer most of them will at some point be in need of long-term care, that later necessitates them for rehabbing and going home or to live the rest of their lives in peace. As revealed by various researches, the people in these age groups are at a higher risk of developing chronic debilitating diseases, which will drive up the need for long-term care beds or long-term care services (3) (NCCD, 2005).
Currently, there are seven hundred and ninety six licensed beds in Harrison County for long-term care services; which are primarily in use by patients from the above group of people aged 65 or older. According to the U.S. Census Bureau of places, an estimate of at least 65,993 or 19 percent of this population in Harrison County (4)(5) occupy bed spaces in these services. It is also expected that; the number would increase consistently over the next couple of decades following the technology of today’s medicine and the ability to help people control their disease, which helps in longevity of life (MSDH, 2007).
Generally, many chronic diseases are the main reasons for admissions to long care term facilities; in which they have been found to be the most costly of health problems in the United States (6). The last reason for long-term care services in Mississippi are accidents at home like hip fractures, broken legs/arms and total knee replacements among others including general body weaknesses (Young, 1998).
As we have revealed, the main reasons behind many people going for long-term care services include old age, chronic diseases, and general body ailments. Further, the trends of long-tem care services in Mississippi are observed to increase following its rapid population growth. Generally, the Harrison County is described as one of counties in Mississippi, whose number of people who engage in long-term care services increases year after another.
Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH). (2007). Mississippi State Health Plan. New York: Routledge Publishers.
National Center for Chronic Disease (NCCD). (2005). Prevention and Health Promotion. New York: Prentice Hall.
National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Older Person’s Health. London: Macmillan Publishers (2003).
U.S. Census Bureau (USCB). Detailed tables; b18002. Sex by age by Disability status for the civilian no institutionalized population five years and Over. New York: United States Statistics Bureau Press (2007).
World Health Organization (WHO). Social determinants of health: the Solid facts, 2nd Ed. New York: Harcourt Publishers (2003).
Young, T. Population Health: Concepts and Methods. New York Oxford University Press (1998).