Emergency Medicine News

Spotlight: K. John McConnell, Ph.D.

K. John McConnell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine

K. John McConnell, Ph.D.

K. John McConnell, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, is a prolific and assiduous researcher and consultant.

Dr. McConnell, a health economist, works closely with Oregon policy-makers, testifying to legislative committees and providing policy analyses. He is the Chief Economic Advisor to the Oregon Health Fund Board and a member of the Oregon Health Research and Evaluation Collaborative. He is an active member of the Research Agenda Advisory Board for the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP). He also serves as the director of The Center for Health Systems Effectiveness.

His research has focused on emergency and trauma care, behavioral and health sciences, and health policy. Dr. McConnell has authored or co-authored over 48 papers that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. He is a member of the American Economics Association, the International Health Economics Association and the American Society of Health Economics. He is frequently called on to give his opinion to the media regarding health care policies and economic impact.

As part of his role in informing Oregon's health policy discussions, Dr. McConnell calculated the value of Oregon's "cost-shift." The report estimated the effect of uncompensated care on the price of private insurance.

"We were particularly interested in tracking the impact of the contraction of the Oregon Health Plan over the last several years," said Dr. McConnell.

The analysis showed that the loss of coverage for an average OHP (Medicaid) beneficiary generated hospital uncompensated care costs of approximately $852, corresponding to approximately $1,352 in total (hospital, clinic and physician) uncompensated care costs.

"Conversations with Oregon health plans and providers suggest that the majority of this burden of uncompensated care is ultimately borne by those with private insurance," concludes the report. Dr. McConnell calculated that this "cost-shift" accounted for 6 to 9 percent of the average cost of commercial health insurance premiums.

He received his PhD in Management Science and Engineering from from Stanford University in 2001, and has been an associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University since 2002. In 2005, Dr. McConnell served on a committee formed by the Institute of Medicine to examine policies to solve the on-call crises in Palm Beach County, Florida.

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