Current Research Interests

I am currently an Assistant Professor of Economics at Emory University. My research interests are in the fields of industrial organization and econometrics as applied to health economics. I am particularly interested in the economics of information in healthcare, vertical integration, and broader issues of healthcare market structure. My current research projects include:
  1. Vertical Alignment between Physicians and Hospitals: The goal of this research, funded in part by a 5-year AHRQ grant (R00HS022431), is threefold: 1) to develop new metrics for hospital-physician alignment that encompass both formal and informal arrangements; 2) examine the effects of physician-hospital alignment on hospital prices, quality, efficiency, and physician behaviors; and 3) disentangle these effects between formal versus informal arrangements. Collectively, this research agenda speaks to the motivation and effects of vertical integration in healthcare.
  2. Insurer Learning and Supply-side Responses to Medicare Advantage Star Ratings: This research considers the effect of the Medicare Advantage star rating program on insurer premiums and plan offerings, with the hypothesis that new quality information revealed to the market may induce plans to adjust premiums or other plan characteristics. This research also seeks to understand the process by which insurers learn about the quality rating program and their underlying quality (as measured by CMS).
  3. Specialization in Hospital Markets: This research, funded in part by a 4-year AHRQ grant (R01HS024712), examines the increasing specialization in the U.S. healthcare system. We concentrate specifically on children's and non-children's hospitals, looking at actual hospital pricing data and quality outcomes to identify whether any observed price differential is explained by quality differences. To the extent quality does not fully explain any price differentials, we investigate other sources of price differentials including market structure and patient preference (unrelated to quality of care).
Some Background

I received my PhD in Economics from Indiana University in 2008. Prior to joining Emory University, I was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Southern Methodist University, a director in the Economic Consulting practice of FTI Consulting in Dallas, TX, and the director of health economics for the Baylor Health Care System (now Baylor Scott & White Health).

With FTI Consulting, I primarily worked in the areas of labor and employment, wage and hour, intellectual property, and general breach of contract. A large part of my work involved the estimation of damages, incorporating standard economic theory and econometrics into the relevant legal framework.

As part of my work with Baylor Scott & White Health, I was involved with a number of cost and comparative-effectiveness studies related to spine deformity surgery. I also assisted in contract negotiations with medical device manufacturers and in examining the financial implications of alternative reimbursement models such as bundled payments and value-based purchasing. My experiences provided valuable institutional knowledge of the U.S. healthcare system and have directly shaped my current research and teaching interests. 

Also while with Baylor Scott & White Health, I was fortunate to have been awarded several research grants, including a pathway to independence award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).