University of Miami center for health sector management rakes in cash
By Zachary S. Fagenson
The University of Miami's Center for Health Sector Management and Policy is up and running, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars by consulting for businesses as it looks to set up a think tank to research and offer impartial solutions for today's healthcare challenges.
The center, which falls under the School of Business Administration, was established in late June after receiving the nod from university administration and the faculty senate, said Director Dr. Steven Ullmann.
"What the center has been doing is three tiered," he added. "One of the tiers is the concept of executive education. We've had a long-standing program here at the university, the executive MBA in health sector management, but we realized there was another need there beyond our MBA programs for organizations… in terms of short courses and focused programmatic training."
To that end the, center has and will continue offering short, tightly focused programs.
"We did a program in conjunction with the Florida Medical Association on physician practice management," Dr. Ullmann said.
The center is "looking at future programming associated with physician leadership," he added
It has also signed an agreement with pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to put on a hemispheric marketing compliance program.
"This is going to be looking [at] growing questions and issues associated with new laws, regulations and ethics associated with pharmaceutical marketing in the Americas," he said.
The second function of the center offers university faculty's expertise to private companies.
On this level, it draws experts from the across colleges to serve as consultants on specific projects.
At the moment, Indiana-based hospital bed manufacturer Hill-Rom is paying the center about $240,000 for a cost-effectiveness study.
They have "new beds with huge amounts of computer technology in them set up to reduce never events, things like hospital-acquired pneumonia or bed sores," Dr. Ullmann said. Programs like Medicare have stopped reimbursing the cost of care of such issues, making their prevention doubly important.
The school of business's 25-person Health Sector Management and Policy Advisory Board, which includes everyone from Baptist Health President and CEO Brian Keeley to GlaxoSmithkline Vice President and Corporate Medical Director Dr. Robert Carr, oversees the center and has a subcommittee tasked with guiding the center's development.
Staff includes Dr. Ullmann; Michael French a professor in the departments of Sociology, Economics, Epidemiology and Public Health; two staff members, and a staff of graduate assistants.
Funding for the center comes from a $5,000 contribution from each advisory board member's company, fees for consulting work and a few hundred thousand dollars from the university and school of business, though the university's exact dollar contribution to the center is "hard to put a finger on," according to business school spokesperson Tracy Simon.
The center's final objective "is to be a think tank and a go-to organization to do an assessment and evaluation of state healthcare policy issues," Dr. Ullmann said.
And while the first two tiers of the center are most self-funded, this last leg will require some kind of foundation support to get off the ground.
The center hopes to kick off this work at the university's Global Business Forum in January, which will focus on the future of the business of healthcare and feature Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, among others.
Then it'll start the long haul to find permanent support for the center through a naming sponsor.
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