Public Administration and the U.S. Health Care Delivery System

McCormickBy AnnaGloria McCormick, Senior Quality Improvement Analyst, Altarum Institute

Public administration intersects within the United States health care delivery system in a variety of levels and capacities on a daily basis.  The implementation of federal and state policy is not only necessary for public health programs to exist; it is required.  Concepts learned in graduate school such as nonprofit budget planning, state and/or federal funding, reimbursement for healthcare, data analysis, and public policy are a part of my professional world regularly.  Eastern Michigan University’s Master of Public Administration Program prepared me in ways that I truly would have never imagined.  The vigorous academic study, internship, and capstone defense in the MPA program created a solid environment which allowed me to gain a firm understanding of what public administration is and the many ways it can be parlayed into a range of professional public service.  Classes such as “Quantitative Methods in Public Administration,” “Public Health Care Policy,” and “Strategic Management in the Public/Nonprofit Sectors” contained concepts and content that I utilize every day in my career. 

The Master of Public Administration program prepared me for my career in public programs specific to health care that are created and funded by both federal and state policies and laws.  Throughout my profession during and after graduate school, my focus has been primarily concerning the Quality Improvement aspect of health insurance, health care and public health programs for beneficiaries provided by Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP).  Quality Improvement is an integral piece of public health programs due to the focus systematically around driving change through data and evidence-based practices.  The emphasis and approach of federal and state government through collaborative care models require all levels of government, its agencies, contractors, and health professionals to work together as a team for the public at large. 

My profession as a Senior Analyst at a non-profit health systems research and consulting organization began at a Michigan based Medicaid- HMO health insurance plan during the era of the healthcare reform. Many people argue that health care is a commodity only for those working and economically inclined.  Some argue that health care should only be extended to those in time of emergent situations if money is the issue in question.  Others feel that healthcare coverage should be universal and paid into and used by everyone.  My role is to ensure that patients, those covered by health insurance and those not covered, are receiving the highest quality of care based on government regulatory standards and requirements through public government programs.  Patients can be quantified into large groups of numbers based on a multitude of demographic factors and analyzed based on a plethora of specifications or requirements.  At the end of the day, the goal is to keep people healthy, make those better who aren’t, and provide safe and effective solutions for professionals to provide the best care they can through federal and state Quality Improvement initiatives. 

Electronic health information is allowing the government and health care systems the opportunity to close the communication gap and utilize information sharing platforms.   This type of exchange will provide continuity of care through a certified health information data exchange and allow for reporting and monitoring of patient health outcomes into the future for a better today and tomorrow.  The Master of Public Administration program at EMU taught me that solutions exist to effectively face society’s challenges; we just have to find them and make it happen. 

AnnaGloria McCormick is an 2014 EMU MPA alum and a Senior Quality Improvement Analyst at Altarum Institute. She specializes in the implementation of State and Federal Quality Improvement initiatives, State and Federal regulatory reporting requirements, qualitative and quantitative data capture and analysis, National Committee for Quality Assurance accreditation, and the execution of government sponsored population health management programs.

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