Syracuse University

SU News

Maxwell professors receive grant to study health care costs

January 08, 2010

Jill Leonhardt
(315) 443-5492

Two professors from the Maxwell School have been awarded a $278,881 grant from the New York State Health Foundation to identify small area variations in health care among the 10 Hospital Referral Regions (HRRs) within New York state and to study the causes of the observed variations. The project, called “Spreading Best Practices to Reduce Geographic Variation and Health Care Costs in New York State,” runs through the end of 2010.

Deborah Freund, distinguished professor of public administration and economics, and Thomas Dennison, professor of practice of public administration, will analyze data on area health care resource availability, use and costs for each HRR. Their main objective is to uncover “best practices” from lower-cost HRRs in general and in the treatment of similar patients with like diseases. They will look at the treatment styles and factors that lead some HRRs to have lower costs than others.

Their work will culminate in a series of roundtable discussions with physicians, hospital administrators and other local health care leaders to disseminate the practices of the top hospital performers to other hospitals and locations throughout the state.

Freund is trained as a hospital administrator and health economist. She has published more than 100 refereed articles and has been the principal investigator of more than $50 million in grants and contracts from private foundations and the federal government. She received an M.P.H. in health care administration and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. She is the University’s former vice chancellor and provost.

Dennison served as the CEO of a hospital, the administrator of a nursing home and executive director of a network of ambulatory care centers. He was affiliated with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ health care consulting practice for 15 years and continues an active consulting practice in the areas of home health and community based services. He received an M.S. in health care administration from George Washington University and a Ph.D. in health planning and administration from Penn State.

Recent News