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UAlbany to Evaluate State’s Efforts to Reduce Health Care Costs and Outcomes

UAlbany has been selected to lead an evaluation of Medicaid’s delivery system reform incentive program, which is designed to improve health care for more than five million New Yorkers.

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 8, 2017) – The University at Albany will lead of team of researchers to conduct an independent evaluation of Medicaid’s delivery system reform incentive program (DSRIP) which is designed to reduce the cost of care and improve health outcomes for more than five million New Yorkers.

DSRIP’s mission is to fundamentally restructure the health care delivery system by reinvesting in the Medicaid program, with the primary goal of reducing avoidable hospital use by 25 percent over five years. The team will evaluate whether the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) DSRIP initiatives have achieved desired impact, effectiveness, cost savings and value improvements using a pre-post design.

The University’s School of Public Health’s Institute for Health System Evaluation (IHSE) will lead the efforts supported by a $3.9 million four-year contract through the New York State Department of Health. In addition to IHSE, the evaluation team consists of UAlbany’s Center for Human Services Research (CHSR) and Econometrics Research Institute (ERI); the Boston University School of Public Health; and the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

“This project will leverage the strong relationships and experiences that UAlbany has with colleagues at Boston University and Maryland to facilitate a responsive, comprehensive evaluation for the New York State Department of Health that provides timely, useful information to guide future decisions in the health policy arena,” said Laura Schweitzer, vice president for health sciences and biomedical initiatives and interim dean at UAlbany's School of Public Health.

Schweitzer led University efforts in September 2016 to redesignate UAlbany’s East Campus to its Health Sciences Campus to elevate the important work being done there in collaboration with academia, government and the private sector to further the understanding of health and disease.

As health care faces an uncertain future in New York and throughout the U.S., the evaluation project will help inform on the effectiveness of Medicaid reform in the state.

  • IHSE will be responsible for overseeing the progress of the evaluation and will participate with partner organizations in the comparative analysis.  IHSE specializes in health care data and cost analyses to improve health system policy and decision-making.
  • CHSR will lead the qualitative analysis for the Process/Implementation Evaluation.  CHSR has more than 20 years of experience conducting applied research to inform practice and policy related to improving the lives of vulnerable populations in New York.
  • ERI will lead in the econometric methods for the time series design and brings more than 30 years of research experience in health economics covering a wide range of topics including Medicaid and Medicare cost inflation, women’s health, hospital costs, disability insurance, veteran’s health and hospital malpractice premiums, as well as big data analysis.

In addition, the project will be a great opportunity for students to get first-hand exposure to a massive evaluation effort as well as to advance the evaluation and public policy literature through dissemination of findings in scholarly and professional venues and journals.

“The team is uniquely positioned to fulfill the requirements of the evaluation project, as the group includes researchers with expertise in health care cost analysis, econometric forecasting, quality improvement, access to care, evaluation, measurement, and Medicaid,” said Diane Dewar, director of IHSE and principal investigator on the project.

Dewar, who holds more than 20 years of experience in health evaluations, is an associate professor in UAlbany’s department of health policy, management and behavior in the School of Public Health, as well as the department of economics.

Other key members of the initiative include Distinguished Professor of Economics and Director of the Econometrics Research Institute Kajal Lahiri, and CHSR Senior Research Specialist Paloma Luisi.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.