Rachel Werner, M.D., Ph.D.

May 11, 2015

Rachel Werner, M.D., Ph.D., is an associate professor of medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, and a senior fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on understanding the effect of health care policies and delivery systems on quality of care. Many of her studies have addressed the role of quality improvement incentives on provider behavior, the organization of health care, racial disparities, and overall health care quality.

Dr. Werner received her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she also completed a residency in internal medicine, and her Ph.D. in health economics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Werner is currently the principal investigator on an R21 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and an R01 from the National Institute of Aging. She directs a national center for the Veterans Health Administration to evaluate the effectiveness of the medical home. Along with her academic appointments and research, Dr. Werner is a practicing primary care internist at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. 

Dr. Werner has received several prestigious awards including the Dissertation Award and the Alice Hersh New Investigator Award from AcademyHealth and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Some of her most recent publications have appeared in JAMA, Health Services Research, and Health Affairs.

Under Dr. Werner’s HCFO grant, she and her colleagues are examining changes in integration between hospitals and post-acute care (PAC) providers and will assess the effect of integration on patient outcomes.  In the first part of the study, the researchers will examine changes in integration over time and describe how this integration changed with the introduction of accountable care organizations (ACOs), focusing on the three most common types of PAC providers: skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and home health agencies.  The analysis will consider both vertical integration (hospital ownership of PAC providers) and patient-flow-based integration (observed patterns of patient discharges from hospitals to PAC providers).  The researchers will then examine how changes in integration and ACO participation affected hospital readmissions and total costs of care.  The goal of this project is to help inform policymakers, health care administrators, and patients about the effects of integration between hospitals and PAC providers on the quality and efficiency of care.

Additional information about Dr. Werner’s HCFO-funded work is available here.

More detail about her research and a list of selected publications can be found here.