Action Guide for Addressing Ethical Challenges of Resource Allocation Within Community-Based Healthcare Organization


Krista L. Harrison, Holly A. Taylor, and Maria W. Merritt, The Journal of Clinical Ethics 29, no. 2 (Summer): 124-38.


This article proposes an action guide to making decisions regarding the ethical allocation of resources that affect access to healthcare services offered by community-based healthcare organizations. Using the filter of empirical data from a study of decision making in two community-based healthcare organizations, we identify potentially relevant conceptual guidance from a review of frameworks and action guides in the public health, health policy, and organizational ethics literature. We describe the development of this action guide. We used data from a prior empirical study of the values that influence decision making about the allocation of resources in particular types of community-based healthcare organizations. We evaluated, organized, and specified the conceptual guidance we found in 14 frameworks for ethical decision making. The result is an action guide that includes four domains that are relevant to the context of the decision to be made, eight domains that are relevant to the process of the decision to be made, and 15 domains that are relevant to the criteria of the decision to be made. We demonstrate the potential use of this action guide by walking through an illustrative resource allocation decision. The action guide provides community-based healthcare organizations with a conceptually grounded, empirically informed framework for ethical decision making.



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