The Center for Health and Biosciences (CHB) employs comprehensive research analysis to develop health policy recommendations that promote health and well-being in the United States and globally. Combining researchers from Rice University and the Texas Medical Center, the CHB offers a unique setting for medical and policy professionals to address four major research themes: U.S. health care, global health, public health and the future of medicine. Within these areas, research questions capitalize on specific areas of expertise among our fellows and scholars, including health economics, maternal and child health, biomedical research policy, and the control of neglected infectious diseases.
What are some of your latest research projects?
The CHB’s economic analyses take a collaborative approach to identifying strategies that lower healthcare costs while delivering high quality care. Just prior to the pandemic, we partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas to characterize the recent growth of freestanding emergency departments (FrEDs). We found that these facilities charge prices comparable to hospital emergency departments despite treating cases commonly found in lower cost urgent care centers. We also partnered with BCBSTX in a study finding that vertical integration of hospitals and physician groups in Texas has led to higher annual spending per insuree. Currently we are working with the Health Care Service Corporation to track the costs of trauma care in Texas. We are also working with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association to track upcoding of emergency care claims in multiple states. Together with the Houston Business Coalition on Health and the National Academy for State Health Policy, we are working to improve the accessibility of the NASHP Hospital Cost Tool, so that employers have greater insights into provider profitability when negotiating rates and networks for employees’ healthcare.
Any programs or initiatives you want to highlight?
The Center for Health and Biosciences features programs in Domestic Health Policy Analysis, including Health Economics; Child Health Policy; Global Health; and Biomedical Research, including stem cell and vaccine research projects. To promote diversity, the CHB partners with Houston’s nonprofit EMERGE program to train and mentor college students from underserved communities, so that they can be exposed to research in health policy.
Is there something unique or interesting about your company that most ASHEcon members not know about hat you would like them to share?
Like all Centers at the Baker Institute, the CHB prioritizes educating the public on the policy implications of its research. In addition to publishing peer-reviewed journal articles, our fellows regularly conduct interviews with the media. We engage with local, state, and federal policy makers through interactions ranging from informal feedback to formal testimony. Our conferences and events featuring nationally recognized guest speakers can be found on Youtube.
Is there any other information that you’d like to share?
Please email us at email@example.com if you would like to join our email distribution list for research updates and future events.