HPA Summer 2011 e-Newsletter — Student News

MHA students complete successful capstone projects

Among the many opportunities for Master of Health Administration students to transition their learning from classroom to the corporate world is the MHA capstone experience. As part of their HPA 556 class, Strategy Development in Health Services Organizations, students undertake a semester-long group project in which they take on real-world challenges proposed by companies in the health care field.

Their projects are solicited from industry partners, and those accepted expose students to a variety of experiences, including quantitative analysis, project management, and on-site interviewing. According to Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration Deirdre McCaughey, who selected the 2011 projects and teaches the course, “I look for organizations with complex proposals that offer our MHA students a chance to tackle ‘real-world’ projects that help showcase the intellectual strengths of our students.” Project teams prepare a written report and an oral presentation for the project organization.

In regard to the 2011 projects, McCaughey explains, “The MHA students far exceeded the expectations of our industry partners with respect to the quality of their project reports and the professionalism they displayed. I am very proud of the outcome the students created.”

“This year’s projects were very exciting in that one project has since been accepted for poster presentation at the American Hospital Association Annual Leadership Summit" she said. "This is the first time an MHA capstone project has been accepted for peer-reviewed dissemination, and we hope to have similar outcomes with our future projects.”

The 2011 MHA capstone projects are as follows:

ARAMARK Healthcare: The Financial Implications of Patient Satisfaction

Samantha Stalley, Schaeffer Charles, and David Lutz analyzed environmental services expense costs and hospital HCAHPS scores to determine the value equation for hospital expenditures and performance outcome metrics. This project was designed in response to the recently implemented Centers for Medicaid/Medicare’s Value-Based Purchasing initiatives, in which patient satisfaction (as measured by HCAHPS scores) will now impact a hospital’s financial performance through performance-based reimbursement.

Project preceptors: Anthony Stanowski, vice president industry relations; Jan Moellering, VPO, Operations Support Organization Effectiveness; Claire Thielen, director of informatics

Of the students’ work, Stanowski says, “The Penn State students presented an alternative way to look at cost and patient satisfaction, creating a value equation. Using a quadrant analysis, the students showed that certain positions produced higher value for our clients. It has given ARAMARK Healthcare a different perspective, and they are incorporating our analysis into their business processes.”

Stalley adds that she, Charles, and Lutz benefitted greatly from the learning experience provided by Stanowski and others at ARAMARK. “Working on a project with ARAMARK Healthcare provided our team with an opportunity to research and analyze a newly proposed payment system and its potential effects on the healthcare industry," she said. "With guidance from Mr. Stanowski and other members of the ARAMARK Healthcare team, we gained practical knowledge and experience that we will use throughout our careers.”

Susquehanna Health: Evaluating the Value of a Seniors’ Loyalty Program

Caitlin Motley and Shawn Dilmore evaluated various types of Pennsylvania seniors’ loyalty programs, determined the cost of establishing and sustaining such a program, identified the methods to cover costs, and presented a financial pro forma to determine the impact on inpatient and outpatient volumes.

Project Preceptor: Susan Browning, director of outreach

Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital: Outpatient Rehabilitation New Site Development

Kelsey Midgett, Gabriel Oshode, and Sarah Bradley developed a comprehensive outpatient rehab therapy site business plan to support the opening of a new Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital (BMRH) outpatient clinic. The strategic market analysis also will be used in support of the business plan development of additional new outpatient clinics for BMRH.

Project Preceptor: Robert Cullen, administrative director of therapy services

Reflecting on her experience participating in her capstone project, Midgett says, “Working on the business plan was an educational experience as well as a platform to exemplify our previously established skills and knowledge of the health care industry. We were able to balance creativity with BMRH’s guidelines of a business plan. Overall, we had a great, broad capstone project experience, including aspects of market analysis, financial projection, real estate, and rebranding/marketing.”

UPMC Physician Services Division: Expanding Access to UPMC Care Through Large Multi-Specialty Clinics and Facilities

Ashley Kitko, Belinda Degboe, and Kara Vass completed a market analysis within the greater Pittsburgh area to identify suitable locations for a large multi-practice clinic. Their project analysis included recommended services, site locations, and physician service lines. The team was fortunate to work with Penn State MHA alumnus Jeffrey Knorr '10, who was instrumental in helping the team members adjust to their roles on the project and helped serve as a bridge between the “classroom and the boardroom.”

Project Preceptors: Edward Harrison, vice president, Clinical Support Services. Jeffrey Knorr, administrative fellow

Knorr comments that Kitko, Degboe, and Vass faced a “daunting” capstone project. “We knew it would be a challenge, but the team did not disappoint," he said. "By creating a feasible and effective action plan, the students presented a final product with exceptional value to the UPMC Physician Services Division and the health system at large.”

HPA undergrad earns high praise during senior year

Recent HPA graduate, Sara Kizer, has earned several accolades during her last two semesters at Penn State, including the Ralph Dorn Hetzel Memorial Award, a Student Leadership Scholarship, the Alumni Recognition for Student Excellence Award, and the Rock Ethics Institute Stand Up Award. She also was the HPA Student Marshal.

Sara Kizer

Kizer first became interested in service at Penn State during her freshman year when she joined Student United Way (SUW), volunteering at the Trash to Treasure Sale. Through this involvement, she took on leadership roles in SUW and other organizations to make a change and to give students even more opportunities to learn from and give back to the University.

“I am very honored to receive recognition for my various efforts throughout the University," she said. "I am happy that I have been able to make an impact within in this community. Honestly, all I've done is perpetuate the traditions of Penn State. I would also like to recognize all the wonderful efforts from students with whom I have worked; it makes my work even more worthwhile.”

Kizer was a member of the Schreyer Honors College and was the president of the SUW at University Park. She served in the student group Council of Lionhearts, in which she became the student director for the group. She is a past student coordinator of the University's winter Trash to Treasure recycling program and served on the board of directors of the Asian American Students in Action. Kizer also served as president of the College of Health and Human Development Honor Society during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Kizer performed as a violinist with the Penn State Sinfonietta musical group and has been named to the Lion's Paw Senior Society.

The following provides descriptions of Kizer’s recent honors:

Ralph Dorn Hetzel Memorial Award – Named for Penn State's 10th president, the Hetzel Award recognizes a combination of high scholastic attainment together with good citizenship and participation and leadership in student activities.

Student Leadership Scholarship – Any member of a recognized or affiliate student organization who contributes to the organization through either a leadership role or by active membership are eligible to apply. Students who display leadership through their contributions to their organization and through contributions to the greater campus community are awarded the scholarship.

Alumni Recognition for Student Excellence Award – Honored among several seniors from each major in the College of Health and Human Development; the college’s Alumni Association presents the honors.

Rock Ethics Institute Stand Up Award – The Stand Up Award honors Penn State undergraduate students who have the courage and fortitude to take an ethical stand for a person, cause or belief and, thereby, demonstrate ethical leadership concerning this issue. This award and the individuals and stories it honors will remind the entire Penn State community of how often the extraordinary act is possible in ordinary circumstances.

HPA Student Marshal – Represents fellow HPA students during the graduation ceremony

As for Kizer’s next move as a recent HPA graduate, she plans to move to Washington, D.C., to work at the National Academy for State Health Policy. Other plans include earning her Master of Public Policy degree.

MHA grads ready for next chapter in health care careers

The 2011 graduates of the Penn State Master of Health Administration program are poised to begin a new chapter in their health care careers. The graduating class has secured positions and fellowships at the following institutions:

These students working in their respective positions represent a 100 percent placement of the 2011 graduating class of the MHA program.

Students participate in ‘Grand Rounds’ at ARAMARK Healthcare

More than a dozen Master of Health Administration students had the opportunity to participate in a health care Manager Grand Rounds at ARAMARK Healthcare in Philadelphia. The March 14 visit included:

image of students

MHA students (from left) Joe Hwang, Ashley Brinton, Schaeffer Charles, Shawn Dilmore, Megan Chiston, Ian Morgan, Meredith Shepherd, and Latoya Tatum are among those who visited and participated in “Grand Rounds” at ARAMARK Healthcare in Philadelphia.

Deirdre McCaughey, assistant professor of health policy and administration, accompanied the MHA students to Philadelphia. She explains that the trip provided MHA students the chance to “experience how a global health care supplier operates as well as take part in a magnificent networking opportunity.”

Penn State MHA students also were able to share the experience with fellow health management graduate students from other Pennsylvania CAHME accredited schools: Temple University, Widener University, and the University of Scranton.

The MHA students who made the trip to Philadelphia include: Meng Jin, Ian Morgan, Megan Chiston, Ashley Brinton, Shawn Dilmore, Latoya Tatum, Meredith Shepherd, David Lutz, Tejal Raichura, Shantanu Dholakia, Joe Hwang, Ashley Kimmel, Kelsey Midgett, and Schaeffer Charles.

McCaughey adds, “The trip to ARAMARK also provided our MHA students with an opportunity to learn about the ARAMARK Administrative Fellowship Program, directed at MHA graduates. This is especially valued as two of the 2010-2011 ARAMARK Fellows are MHA graduates: Laura Leahy '10 and Teenice Nebblets '10.”