Modernizing elder health care

Quinnipiac professor to visit the nation’s capitol to discuss health care and aging policy

Emily Flamme, Staff Writer

A Quinnipiac University professor will meet with the nation’s lawmakers this spring to discuss health and aging policy after receiving a fellowship from Columbia University.

“When we go down to (Washington D.C.) again, we’ll have visits on the Hill with the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Angela Mattie, professor and program director of management and medical sciences, said. “After this intensive orientation and educational period, not only do we get a deep dive into health care policy, we get an opportunity to develop a strong network in the health care policy community in D.C.”

The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program, based at Columbia University, is focused on providing professionals that are involved in the health field the necessary resources to contribute to health care legislation, specifically for aging Americans. The program is funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies and Westhealth. This fellowship is for people that are looking to make a difference in the healthcare community.

Contributed by John Morgan

“We went to the centers for Medicare and Medicaid. We met with each of their provision leaders, and those are the main organizations in charge of paying for healthcare, Mattie said of her trip two weeks ago to Washington D.C.

“We will meet with people from several different agencies like the General Accounting Office and Central Research Service and organizations that are influential in health care policy.”

Aging and health policy is a difficult topic to navigate, Mattie said. It is filled with numerous issues such as the aging workforce, social security, patient safety and health care costs.

“Aging policy and health care policy is very complex, and not one discipline is going to be able to solve it.” Mattie said. “What I would like to do is start some interdisciplinary programs, establish the context and the knowledge that I’ll be fortunate enough to be exposed to down there, and look at how we can leverage Quinnipiac to be able to look at health and aging from an interdisciplinary perspective.”

Mattie and her colleagues earned the International Compliance Award for their contribution to the healthcare field. In 2013, Quinnipiac awarded her the Center of Excellence in Teaching Award.

“Everything I do is about my students,” Mattie said. “I hope to be able to bring back the knowledge but also find a way to incorporate my students.”

Mattie was involved in another fellowship during her time at Quinnipiac. It was focused on helping businesses understand the health care system better since they are the largest purchaser of health services.

“Through the fellowship, we analyzed the Leapfrog survey and rating usage within Connecticut,” Quinnipiac graduate, and resident physician at Mount Sinai St Luke’s, Samuel Sondheim said. “Our research project led us down several different avenues and ultimately highlighted the lack of consistency between rating agencies.”

This fellowship gave the students involved an opportunity to present their findings about hospital rating systems to a national board.

“They had the opportunity to go to two national meetings, and they did a consulting report that was presented to a national board,” Mattie said. “They did a peer-reviewed presentation about the pedagogy of developing active interdisciplinary learning activities.”

When Mattie has a chance to become more educated about healthcare, she takes it while seizing every opportunity to involve her students as much as she can.

“Professor Mattie’s dedication to the research and the students enabled us to embark on an interdisciplinary project,” Sondheim said. “Professor Mattie was truly dedicated to the success of the interdisciplinary student group working on the project in order to further our experiences and careers.”

Mattie hopes that from her time spent in her current fellows program she can earn the tools necessary to contribute to legislation that affects aging Americans.

“I hope that we will begin to have the conversation for end-of-life care. I hope that we come to terms with an aging workforce,” Mattie said. “It’s very complicated, so you have to look at it from an interdisciplinary approach. Quinnipiac is uniquely qualified to do that.”

She said she is grateful for the support she receives from the students and faculty at Quinnipiac to help her tackle these issues the country is facing today.

“I have to give a warm shoutout to my dean, Matt O’Connor,” Mattie said. “Matt has been supportive of the work I do, and meetings I take with health care executives and my desire to do interdisciplinary work. To me, it’s really going to make a difference in our health care system.”