USC Price School of Public Policy

Health Management Book

MHA Students’ Papers Featured in Health Management Case Book

By Ben Dimapindan

Cases in Health Services Management

A recently published casebook – Cases in Health Services Management, Fifth Edition – featured three new papers authored by USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development Master of Health Administration students:

  • “Edgewood Lake Hospital: Leadership in a Rural Healthcare Facility during Challenging Economic Times”
    By Brent C. Pottenger, Douglas Archer and Stephen Cheung
    The new CEO of a 30-bed, not-for-profit rural hospital faces a turnaround situation to make the hospital profitable after three years of losses. Problems include challenging payer mix, too many full-time equivalent staff members per occupied bed and difficulty recruiting physicians.
  • “Riviera Medical Center: Riviera Wellness Services”
    By Michael J. King
    The CEO of a 350-bed hospital explores strategic alternatives to enhance its financial situation and reputation by asking the hospital’s board of directors to approve a worksite wellness program. The program is to be marketed to area companies for the purpose of improving workers’ health and decreasing employers’ healthcare costs.
  • “Santorini Hospital: Can Culture Change Save It?”
    By Ronnie Rodrigo Boongaling
    A new CEO of a 585-bed hospital seeks to change the negative organizational culture caused by previous administrations. Issues include hostile labor relations and refusal to recognize a union certified by the National Labor Relations Board; physician conflicts, including a loss of specialists; negative inspection reports; and interruption of a building program.
    (Source: Cases in Health Services Management, 2010)

The case studies were done during the last academic year as MHA capstone projects, in which students are required to write a case suitable for publishing or do a strategic analysis for a health organization, explained Professor Robert Mrytle.

“Theses cares are designed to pose a particular problem to a decision maker and allow the students to say, ‘okay, how would you address this?’” Myrtle said.

“In one sense, it replicates the issues that a decision maker is facing, which are: they have a problem, they don’t have all the data and yet they still have to figure out a solution,” he added. “The insights emerge from how you go about understanding the problem; the things you place emphasis on.”

Myrtle noted that the three essays were chosen for the casebook because each contributed something new and compelling to health management literature.

“The Edgewood and Santorini hospitals cases address issues with rural hospitals, and that’s something we rarely see,” Myrtle said.

He added: “In the Riviera Medical Center situation, the administrators approached a major union that was responsible for the health plan and said, ‘if you join us on our wellness enterprise, it will reduce your healthcare costs.’ And by reducing these expenses, unions will have more money to allocate for wages. So, forming strategic partners in this area is quite unique.”

According to Myrtle, the publication of the students’ papers is “an affirmation of their talent” and also serves to raise the visibility of SPPD in the health administration field.

“It’s really challenging to have management work published,” he said. “It reflects the quality of our students and their preparation. It reflects a desire to demonstrate their capabilities and competencies. And, it’s a demonstration of their desire to give something back to the students who are coming and to the profession in general.”

In addition, the casebook included three other studies written by MHA students which were originally published in the fourth edition in 2004. These papers are: “Attica Memorial Hospital: The Ingelson Burn Center” by Bonnie Eng-Suess; “A New ‘Brand’ for Senior Health Plus” by Rosalie Wachsmuth; and “Autumn Park” by Cara Thomason.