WMU News

Impact of managed care examined by visiting expert

March 29, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Managed care has reduced health care costs but it also may be inhibiting the use of effective medical technology and reducing physicians' autonomy and satisfaction, according to an expert who will visit the Western Michigan University campus on Wednesday, April 5.

Dr. Laurence C. Baker, assistant professor of economics at Stanford University, will answer the question "What Has Managed Care Done to the Health Care Marketplace?" in a free, public lecture at 3 p.m. in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall.

Baker's presentation is the last in WMU's Department of Economics 1999-2000 Guest Lecture-Seminar Series, "The Economics of Health Care." The series, which began in September, examines critical issues affecting the health care industry. It is co-sponsored by WMU's College of Arts and Sciences and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Baker has studied the development of managed care and its impacts on the health care system from a number of perspectives. His research efforts include examining the effects of managed care on the development and use of technology in health care and on overall health care costs. Among articles he has published is one that examines how managed care has changed physicians' autonomy and satisfaction and another that shows that communities that have a high market share of managed care have less use of expensive, yet effective, Magnetic Resonance Imaging technology.

Baker, who is also an assistant professor of health research and policy at Stanford, is a faculty research fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining the faculty at Stanford, he was a research economist with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 1993 he served as a consultant to the White House task force formulating President Clinton's health care reform proposal. Baker, who earned a doctoral degree in economics from Princeton, also has published work on emergency room costs, preventive health care utilization and the relationships between managed care and Medicare.

For more information, contact Dr. Huizhong Zhou, associate professor of economics, at (616) 387-5550 or the Department of Economics at (616) 387-5535.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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