Blue Cross awards $1.5 million gift to UTHealth for research on health care payment systems
Joint effort by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and UTHealth to expand knowledge of health payment and policy issues
HOUSTON — The University of Texas School of Public Health and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) announced today that they have formed a research collaboration to enhance and expand the body of knowledge regarding health care services, payment systems and policy reforms.
The collaboration, which will be funded by a $1.5 million grant from Blue Cross, will be named The University of Texas School of Public Health/Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Research Program in Payment Systems and Policy.
With access to the vast data collection of BCBSTX, researchers from the School of Public Health will work to foster research and inform the public, academia and other constituents about the cost and utilization of health care services in Texas.
"Our health care delivery system in the U.S. is shaped by financing policy and payment mechanisms," said Osama Mikhail, Ph.D., senior vice president of strategic planning at UTHealth. "The objective of this collaboration is to gain a better understanding of how the payment system influences the delivery of health care."
The program will also expand and accelerate work that researchers hope will help influence the development of a more efficient, effective and accessible delivery system. Mikhail, who is also director of the George McMillan Fleming Center for Healthcare Management at the School of Public Health where the program will be housed, will co-direct the research program with Luisa Franzini, Ph.D., director of the school's Division of Management, Policy and Community Health.
"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is in a unique position and feels a special obligation to enable policymakers to make the best decisions about the future of health care in Texas," said Darren Rodgers, president, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. "We are excited about this joint effort and the contribution it can make to the information available on payment innovation in the health care field."
In addition to research opportunities, the program will produce papers on health care topics, host lectureships, sponsor expert panels and introduce new graduate-level courses for future leaders who will enter the health care or health insurance fields.
Rodgers noted that in an era of rising health care costs, research that enhances knowledge of health care payment methods, advances affordable health care services and policy reforms could be expected to have an impact across the state of Texas and well beyond.
The University of Texas School of Public Health is a part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).
About The University of Texas School of Public Health
The UT School of Public Health is one of the six schools of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), which also is devoted to nursing, medicine, dentistry, health informatics and graduate studies in biomedical science. The School of Public Health includes a main campus in Houston and five regional campuses in Austin, El Paso, Dallas, Brownsville and San Antonio. UTHealth, founded in 1972, is part of the University of Texas System. It is a state-supported health institution whose state funding is supplemented by competitive research grants, patient fees and private philanthropy.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas – the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas – is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 40,000 physicians and 400 hospitals to serve 4.6 million members in all 254 counties. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation (which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma and New Mexico), the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.