Press Releases / January 25, 2021

NIHCM Announces More than $550,000 in Research Grants: Work Explores Impact of COVID-19, Racial Health Disparities, Private Equity Investment in Health Care and more.

Washington, D.C., January 25, 2021 – The NIHCM Foundation has named 12 research grantees in the foundation’s first year awarding $1 million of support to researchers and journalists.

“At a time of unprecedented change in the health care sector, our substantially increased investment in our grantees is aimed at growing the evidence base that will allow us to uncover solutions to the health care crisis and challenges created by the pandemic,” said Nancy Chockley, Founding President and CEO of NIHCM.

The 2020 grantees are:

Local Risk Management: Tools for Individuals and Policymakers
In partnership with Google, this project will use cell phone movement data and information on likely COVID-19 transmission risk factors to build a publicly available mapping tool displaying near real-time information on transmission risk in specific business establishments. The tool may support individuals’ ability to assess the risk of visiting local businesses and inform policy about lockdowns.
From the University of Chicago:
Oeindrila Dube
Katherine Baicker
Devin Pope
Sendhil Mullainathan

The Impact of COVID-19 on Health Care Spending and Practice Patterns
The pandemic has significantly disrupted patient, provider, and payer health care practices. This study will use private health insurance claims and other data to analyze changes in health plan member mix, care utilization and spending, practice patterns, and patient outcomes throughout the first year of the pandemic.
From the University of Pennsylvania:
Amol Navathe
Ezekiel Emanuel
Ravi Parikh
Yi Zhang

Health and Economic Incidence of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau, this study will enhance understanding of how different groups have fared during the early pandemic by looking at all-cause mortality, unemployment rates, income and hours worked for different socio-economic populations across geographic locations.
Maria Polyakova, Stanford University
Victoria Udalova, U.S. Census Bureau
Amy Finkelstein, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

How Did the Pandemic Change Care for Patients with Chronic Conditions?
Pandemic induced restrictions have severely limited patient utilization of care needed to manage chronic conditions. This study will document these changes in care patterns and investigate the role of patient, provider and state policy factors in driving care trends, with the aim of informing efforts to reduce the detrimental impact of the pandemic on chronic care.
Alison Cuellar, George Mason University
Anupam Jena, Harvard Medical School

The Causal Effect of High-Quality Physician-Patient Relationships on Healthcare Costs and Outcomes: Differences by Race/Ethnicity and the Effect of Racial/Ethnic Concordance
In work that seeks solutions to the increasingly well-documented link between racial bias and health disparities, this study will examine whether the quality of the physician-patient relationship causally influences health and/or cost outcomes and whether this impact varies by patient race, physician race and the racial concordance of the pair.
Tim Brown, University of California, Berkeley

Private Equity Acquisitions of Physician Medical Practices and Implications for Practice Patterns and Costs of Care
The increasing presence of private equity (PE) investment in the health care sector may have important, unforeseen implications. Using private health insurance claims and longitudinal data on PE investment in physician medical practices, this study will describe recent trends in PE practice acquisitions and assess their effect on health care charges and utilization across physician groups.
Jane Zhu, Oregon Health and Science University
Zirui Song, Harvard Medical School
Daniel Polsky, Johns Hopkins University

Can Conflict of Interest with the Drug Industry Harm Patients?
Financial conflicts of interest have the potential to influence the care provided to patients. This study will investigate whether and how drug industry payments to oncologists affect their choice of anti-cancer drugs for Medicare patients.
From Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center:
Aaron Mitchell
Peter Bach
Aaron Winn, Medical College of Wisconsin
Stacie Dusetzina, Vanderbilt University

Medically Integrated Dispensing in Oncology
Community-based oncology practices are increasingly dispensing oral anti-cancer drugs directly in their practices, replacing the intravenous (IV) agents that have historically been a significant source of practice revenue. This study will characterize trends in integrated dispensing of oral anti-cancer drugs since 2008 and investigate how this practice affects oncologists’ choice of oral vs. IV therapy, total spending and patient out-of-pocket spending.
From the University of Pennsylvania:
Genevieve Kanter
Ravi Parikh
Mireille Jacobson, University of Southern California

Nudging Providers to Curtail Dangerous Opioid Prescribing and Improve the Safety of the Health Care Delivery System
Advancing NIHCM’s support of research focused on improving patient outcomes related to opioid use, this large, randomized controlled trial, conducted in cooperation with the state of Minnesota, will assess the impact of different types of “nudge” letters designed to encourage physicians to prescribe opioids more safely.
Adam Sacarny, Columbia University
Mireille Jacobson, University of Southern California
David Powell, RAND Corporation

Price and Quality for Ambulatory Surgery: Differences Between Hospital-Based and Freestanding Centers
Efforts to direct patients to lower-cost providers may be stymied by concerns that quality is also lower. This study will use national, private-insurer claims for six procedures commonly performed in both ambulatory surgery centers and hospital outpatient departments to document the variation in prices and complication rates across delivery sites, determine the association between prices and complications, and estimate opportunities for potential savings via mechanisms such as narrow networks and reference pricing.
James Robinson, University of California, Berkeley
Christopher Whaley, RAND Corporation
Sanket Dhruva, University of California, San Francisco

Provider Market Power and Adverse Selection in Health Insurance Markets: Evidence from the California Benefits Exchange
In work that continues to build the evidence base on insurance markets, this study will model the relationships between the market power of dominant providers and health plan prices, insurance take-up, and risk selection in the Covered California benefits exchange and evaluate the impact of several approaches to regulate market power and prices with the goal of ensuring the smooth functioning of insurance markets.
Nicholas Tilipman, University of Illinois at Chicago
Wesley Yin, University of California Los Angeles

Impact of Medicaid Provider Incentives for Postpartum LARC Provision on Postpartum Contraceptive Use
To encourage provision of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) while the new mother is still in the hospital, 37 state Medicaid programs have now decoupled the LARC payment from the global payment for the childbirth episode. This study will extend the team’s earlier evaluation of this policy change in South Carolina by examining the experiences in five additional early adopting states, with a focus on identifying hospital characteristics associated with uptake and exploring variation in use by mothers’ race, income and education.
Jessica Cohen, Harvard University
Maria Steenland, Brown University


NIHCM Foundation
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