Category: Recent News

Petris Center Hosting Visiting Scholar Dr. Robert Berenson

berenson-robert_0The Petris Center is hosting visiting scholar Dr. Robert Berenson from the Urban Institute for several months in Spring 2016.

Dr. Berenson has worked at the Urban Institute as a fellow since 2003, where he conducts research and provides policy analysis primarily on health care delivery issues, particularly related to Medicare payment policy, pricing power in commercial insurance markets, and new forms of health delivery based on reinvigorated primary care practices.

In 2012, Berenson completed a three-year term on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the last two years as vice chair. From 1998 to 2000, he was in charge of Medicare payment policy and private health plan contracting in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Previously, he served as an assistant director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff under President Carter.

Berenson is a board-certified internist who practiced for 20 years, the last 12 years in a Washington, DC, group practice. He is the coauthor of The Managed Care Blues & How to Cure Them with Walter Zelman, and Medicare Payment Policy and the Shaping of U.S. Health Care, with Rick Mayes.

Berenson is a graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and on the faculty at the George Washington University School of Public Health and the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

You can read Dr. Berenson’s full bio here.

Richard Scheffler Honored at Berkeley Public Library Foundation’s 14th Annual Authors Dinner

Richard M. Scheffler and Stephen HinshawPetris Center Director Richard Scheffler was honored at the Berkeley Public Library Foundation’s 14th Annual Authors Dinner on February 6th, a celebration of the Bay Area’s literary community. Dr. Scheffler was honored alongside Dr. Stephen Hinshaw for their work on the book The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance which blends clinical wisdom, current science, medical and school policy, and global trends to debunk myths and set the record straight about ADHD.

From the Berkeley Public Library Foundation website:

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 5.17.31 PM

Learn more about the Authors Dinner here and see the full list of the 2016 honored authors, including the bio of Dr. Scheffler and Dr. Hinshaw, here.

New York Times: Is the Drive for Success Making Our Children Sick?

nyt-t-logoPetris Center Director Dr. Richard Scheffler was quoted in the New York Times article “Is the Drive for Success Making Our Children Sick?” published on January 2nd.

On the topic of academic pressure and its connections to depression, anxiety, and physical symptoms, including headaches and ulcers, increasingly seen in adolescents, Dr. Scheffler was quoted, saying, “Many of the health effects are apparent now, but many more will echo through the lives of our children. We will all pay the cost of treating them and suffer the loss of their productive contributions.”

The full article can be read here.

Just Released: Global Health Policy and Economics Handbook edited by Dr. Scheffler

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 1.22.01 AMProfessor Scheffler is the editor of a just released 3-volume Global Health Policy and Economics Handbook through World Scientific Publishing. The official launch was January 3, 2016 at the American Economics Association meeting in San Francisco.

To learn more about the handbook, the topics it covers, and the authors, please visit here.

Webinar: Is Rate Review the Answer to Lower Health Insurance Premiums?

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 1.09.30 AMThe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO) initiative hosted a webinar on November 17th, 2015 entitled “Is Rate Review the Answer to Lower Health Insurance Premiums?” The webinar discussed the impact of state-level rate review regulations on health insurance premiums. The Petris Center’s Richard Scheffler and Brent Fulton, and Ann Hollingshead, University of California, Berkeley; and Pinar Karaca-Mandic, University of Minnesota, discussed their recent HCFO-funded work on this first evaluation of state rate review authority in the individual market during the years immediately after the enactment of the ACA, 2010-13, with an emphasis on whether rate regulation, coupled with loss ratio requirements, moderates health insurance premium increases.

Following their presentation, discussants Sabrina Corlette from the Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR) at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute and Kevin Beagan from the Health Care Access Bureau in Massachusetts’ Division of Insurance provided their comments on the policy implications of the study. The researchers responded to the participants’ questions during the final 30 minutes of the webinar.

The full webinar can be viewed on AcademyHealth’s website here.

To learn more about the studies, view this HCFO brief here.

New Petris Center Report: State Actions to Promote and Restrain Commercial Accountable Care Organizations

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 12.29.02 AM

“Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), originally developed as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), are growing—and serve both public and private sector payers. They have the potential to improve health care quality and patient outcomes while achieving cost savings. However, they may also present risks—including those related to solvency, consumer protection, and anti-competitive pricing—to providers, patients, and payers.

How can state policymakers respond to their development? What is in the public interest? What are the lessons from commercial health insurance and managed care regulatory frameworks? State policymakers are looking for evidence and experience to help them answer these and other questions.”

A just released report from the Petris Center, “State Actions to Promote and Restrain Commercial Accountable Care Organizations,” published through the Milbank Memorial Fund, uses case studies to outline tools that state governments can use to promote the potential benefits of ACOs while mitigating their potential risks.

The full report can be read here.

Looking Behind and Ahead to a 200 Year Future: An Interview with Richard Scheffler, Founder of the Ph.D. program in Health Policy

schefflerPetris Center Director Dr. Richard Scheffler was recently interviewed by Hector Rodriguez, Current Chair of the Ph.D. program in Health Policy. In the interview, Dr. Scheffler discusses his decision to found the the Health Services and Policy Analysis PhD program at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health in 1988 and serve as the founding chair of the program for its first decade, developments in the field of health policy, and the future of the program.

For the full interview, visit the Berkeley Health Policy website here.

University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration: New Studies Assess Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) after the Passage of the Affordable Care Act

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.03.44 PMThe University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration issued an announcement on the release of the “Assessing Accountable Care Organizations: Cost, Quality, and Market Power” special issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (volume 40, issue 4). The special issue is “an in-depth look at accountable care organizations (ACOs): networks of hospitals, physicians, or other health care providers that share financial and medical responsibility for the coordinated care of a patient.” The special issue was co-edited by Colleen M. Grogan, editor of JHPPL, Professor; Co-Chair, Center for Health Administration Studies; Faculty Chair, Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy; Editor, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law at the University of Chicago and by Richard M. Scheffler, Director of the Petris Center, with much of the content supported through the Nicholas C. Petris Center, with funding from the California Attorney General’s office.

Read the full press release here.

The full journal article can be accessed here.

Europa Press: A US Expert Believes that Spain needs to Reform the Health System to Cope with Aging


121“Professor of Health Economics and Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley (USA), Richard Scheffler, said that Spain needs to reform its health system towards an integral and coordinated system to cope with the aging of the population and in that way reduce health spending… ‘Between 1996 and 2010, despite the crisis, the health spending per capita increased at an annual rate of 3.5 percent. From 2014, the forecasting managed by the World Bank is that this growth will stabilize at 0.5 percent annually. Nevertheless, according to this institution, Spain will not be able to allocate more resources to the health budget. This is an important problem when thinking about health policy. Spain has to be more effective and efficient in their health system,’ he stressed.”

Translated from the original article. The full text of the original article (in spanish) can be accessed here.

Health Affairs: States With Stronger Health Insurance Rate Review Authority Experienced Lower Premiums In The Individual Market In 2010–13

healthaffairslogoPress Release: “A new study published today [August 3, 2015] found state-level prior approval authority over individual market health insurance rates were in effect from 2010 to 2013 was associated a 10 percentage point lower rate of increase in premiums.The research was published in the August issue of Health Affairs, and was conducted at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.”

“Study authors collected rate review authority and anticipated loss ratio requirements from each state and the District of Columbia by examining statutes, regulations, and bulletins and distributed a questionnaire to each state and the District of Columbia.

‘Our findings suggest that rate review by states with prior approval authority may be a viable option for moderating the growth in health insurance premiums,’ said Richard Scheffler, Ph.D., principal investigator and distinguished professor of health economics and public policy at UC Berkeley. ‘Given the massive rate increases in premiums being proposed this year, our results could not be timelier.'”

The full press release can be read here.

The full article, published in the August issue of Health Affairs, can be read here.