Michigan State University boasts a widespread and active alumni network. Spartans can be found advancing the common will in uncommon ways all around the world. In February, one alumna testified at a congressional hearing, informing the public debate on health policy issues.
Ge Bai (Ph.D. Accounting & Information Systems ’12), associate professor of accounting at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and associate professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was invited to speak at a congressional Ways and Means Committee hearing covering “More Cures for More Patients: Overcoming Pharmaceutical Barriers.”
“I study the intersection of accounting and healthcare policy,” Bai began her testimony. “The goal is to make sure that patient assistance programs, patient advocacy organizations and the physicians all act in the best interest of patients instead of benefiting drug manufacturers who give them cash [donations] and free drugs.”
“We are delighted to see Ge’s voice and research informing the public debate on important health policy issues,” Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean Sanjay Gupta said. “She is one of many Broad alumni working hard to make a difference.”
Bai said she was honored to testify: “This was my first time to testify before Congress. I was chosen because of my unique interdisciplinary research background. I was fortunate to have committed myself to a promising but not very crowded research area.”
Bai, an expert in health care accounting, got her first exposure to the field at MSU’s Broad College. “My committee chair, Dr. Ranjani Krishnan, is a leading expert on health care accounting. She opened my eyes to health care, and I am eternally indebted to her inspiration and guidance.”
“Health care accounting is at the intersection of medicine, accounting, business, law and politics,” Bai said. “It’s an area very challenging to tackle given its unique interdisciplinary nature but, at the same time, extremely intriguing. Research in this area has the potential to impact the life of everyone, often profoundly. My love for this area increases every day.”
“Ge has a rare combination of ability, effort and perseverance, which makes her an asset in any setting,” Krishnan said. “She can dive deep into a project, develop expertise in theories and methods in record time and take a project to fruition. She has had a keen interest in the policy implications of each and every project she purses.”
Bai has made an impact on the industry through her recent work alongside Broad professor John (Xuefeng) Jiang, helping providers better manage health data breach risk. “I share Bai’s passion for conducting impactful research,” Jiang said. “Our collaborations on cybersecurity faced by hospitals are rewarding. Not only our results have been widely covered by the media, we also talked to the Department of Health and Human Services to change their disclosure practice to better capture the impact of data breaches.”
Her ongoing research activities help to raise “public awareness of inefficiencies in pharmaceutical spending, improve some employers’ prescription drug contracting practices and support regulations by the Department of Health and Human Services and legislation by the Congress.”
Bai’s work is also highly intertwined with health policy. “Understanding policy makers’ focuses and preferences are extremely helpful for me to identify potentially impactful future research areas,” she said. “In fact, I choose projects mainly based on their potential policy impact.
“Ultimately, my goal is to conduct high-quality research, influence health policy and improve efficiency of our health care market.”
To hear Ge Bai’s full testimony to Congress, visit the Ways & Means Committee Hearings YouTube channel.