Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

Interview with Kyle L. Grazier, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

Interview with Kyle L. Grazier, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Article excerpt

Kyle L. Grazier is Richard Carl Jelinek Endowed Professor of Health Services Management and Policy and chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan (U-M), Ann Arbor, where she teaches courses in finance, insurance and payment systems, and advanced studies in healthcare management. She also is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the U-M Medical School and is associate director of the university's National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award Institute.

Dr. Grazier has served as a grant review committee member for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and other foundations. She is on the Technical Advisory Committee for the National Committee for Quality Assurance and is a member of the Leadership Advisory Board for Ascension Health. She also is chair-elect of the board of directors of the Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) and a former director and treasurer of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration.

Dr. Grazier earned a master's degree in engineering from the University of Notre Dame and public health master's and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Dr. Grazier was the editor of the Journal of Healthcare Management from 2000 to 2010.

Dr. O'Connor: What attracted you to the healthcare field and to an academic and research career in particular?

Dr. Grazier: After finishing my master's degree in engineering at Notre Dame, I went to work for an engineering consulting firm. One of my projects required comprehensive research, so the company sent me to the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. I spent three days there, poring over journal articles, books, microfiche, archived documents, and other source materials that were not available outside of the institution. The library had everything I needed. It was exhilarating. I went back and wrote my report, and that's when I started thinking about academe and research. I decided to pursue a profession that would allow me to ask the questions I was interested in answering through scientific research. That is what motivated me to earn a doctoral degree and to pursue an academic career.

Dr. O'Connor: Financing mental health and substance abuse services has been one of your areas of research interest. What is your view of the current state of mental health services, and access to those services, in the United States ? Do you see this status changing under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

Dr. Grazier: Financing mental health and addiction services continues to lag the financing for traditional medical and surgical services. An important move forward occurred in 2008, when Congress passed the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. It brought greater awareness to the lack of financial parity between the two kinds of services. But major gaps in access to mental health and addiction treatments still exist. Even regulations for enforcing the Parity Act that were released in April 2010 were incomplete, and they remain incomplete today.

Essential health benefits, the Medicaid expansion, and other provisions in the ACA will again highlight the critical nature of behavioral health and services. My hope is that the Parity Act and the ACA's regulations will prove to be comprehensive, integrative, and nondiscriminatory. Sadly, the stigma of mental health still exists, and suicide rates are devastatingly high among our young people, returning veterans, and other vulnerable populations. Financing has a major role in improving access to mental health and addiction services as well as in bridging disparities in care, but it is not the only solution.

Dr. O'Connor: You have had an excellent vantage point from which to observe trends in health administration education. …

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