Laura Keohane, PhD candidate in health services research, successfully defended her dissertation, titled “The Impact of Medicare Hospitalizations and Deductibles on Medicaid Enrollment.” Despite qualifying for Medicaid, many low-income Medicare beneficiaries do not enroll in the program. Keohane’s dissertation examines whether a hospital stay and its related out-of-pocket costs increase the likelihood of a Medicare beneficiary joining Medicaid. She uses 2007-2010 Medicare claims and administrative data to analyze Medicaid enrollment patterns following a hospital admission, paying particular attention to beneficiaries’ socioeconomic resources and their states’ Medicaid eligibility rules. Her research has important implications for policies that aim to increase access to health insurance and adequate medical care, especially among older populations and people with disabilities.
Tell us about your time at Brown. What did you enjoy most about being a doctoral student here?
I am very grateful for how much support I have received from the faculty, staff, and students at Brown. When I wanted feedback on my research or advice on my future plans, my professors were generous with their time, especially my dissertation committee chair, Vince Mor, and my research advisor, Amal Trivedi. Brown’s researchers and staff have incredible expertise in conducting aging and long-term care studies, so I had great opportunities for collaborating on interesting projects. I also learned a great deal from my classmates at the School of Public Health, including doctoral students in the epidemiology and biostatistics programs.
What public health issues do you hope to address through your dissertation?
My research focuses on how Medicare and Medicaid provide access to health care services for older populations and people with disabilities. Several current initiatives are exploring how these programs can improve quality of care and provide better management of health care costs. I hope my research contributes to designing health care policies that achieve those goals.
What are your future plans and goals now that you have finished your PhD?
I am excited to be joining the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as an assistant professor this September.
(Distributed December 1, 2016)