Health economics executive stepping down

David Asch will still teach classes in health care and economics.
David Asch will still teach classes in health care and economics.
Posted: June 03, 2012

During David A. Asch’s 14-year tenure as executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, the group’s research funding has soared to $126 million from $9 million a year, he said.

"It’s been great growth, it’s been an amazing thing to watch and be part of," said Asch, who is stepping down from his leadership role at the institute, but will continue as a professor of health-care management and economics, with appointments at the Perelman School of Medicine and at the Wharton School.

When Asch took on management of the institute in 1998, people were talking about out-of-control health-care costs "with almost as much passion as they say it now," said Asch, a medical doctor who practices general internal medicine.

But a key difference from when he started as the institute’s executive director, Asch said, is the widespread recognition now "that big impacts on health and health care are more likely to come" from changes in the way services are organized and delivered than from biomedical research.

For example, health-care providers are going to get better at helping chronically ill patients take better care of themselves at home, Asch said.

The way health-care providers are paid and what they are paid for will also change, Asch said, though he cautioned that "there is no perfect payment system" that is going to align everybody’s interests in just the right way.

The institute, which was founded in 1967 with a gift from Leonard Davis, an insurance executive, has about 200 senior fellows spread throughout Penn academic departments.

Among the research projects are the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics and a new center to study health insurance exchanges. Funders include government agencies, foundations, insurance companies, and others.

Asch said in a May 24 note to the institute’s senior fellows that he would remain as executive director until his successor was chosen.

Contact Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|