UPenn professor Amol Navathe named to key Commission advising US Congress on paying for care of elderly, disabled

Amol Navathe, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named to a three-year term on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or MedPAC, the key commission advising US Congress on how the federal government pays for the care of over 50 million elderly and disabled Americans.

The 17-member commission, established by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, provides analysis and policy advice to Congress on Medicare, which accounted for more than $700 billion of the nation’s roughly $3.5 trillion in health care expenditures in 2017. The group also examines access and quality of care.

Besides teaching at Penn, Navathe also works as a staff physician at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in University City.

At Penn, Navathe is also co-director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute and associate director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy. He said he was nominated for the MedPAC position by current commissioner Karen DeSalvo.

Navathe’s research group designs, tests, and evaluates payment models for national insurers and state Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. He also researches bundled-payment plans and the use of predictive analytics in medicine.

Navathe will remain in his role at Healthcare while he serves on the commission.

“It is extremely humbling to join such an esteemed group of health policy experts,” said Navathe. “I am excited to return to public service and will make every effort to contribute toward making health care more affordable and better quality for all Americans.”

Navathe leads a unique research group that collaborates with health plans and health systems to design new payment and non-financial interventions to increase the value of care, his bio notes.

These frequently utilize insights from behavioral economics. He has designed a new statewide population-based payment system for primary care with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Hawaii, numerous bundled payments and pay-for-performance programs with organizations such as Advocate-Aurora Healthcare, and interventions to reduce opioid prescribing with systems such as Sutter Health. He also evaluates Medicare and commercial insurer episode-based and other payment policy changes, a media release noted.

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