Alan Sager, Ph.D.
Professor of Health Services
Director, Health Reform Program
Boston University School of Public Health
715 Albany Street, 3TW
Boston, Massachusetts 02118
Tel (617) 638 4664
Fax (617) 638 5374

Alan Sager is a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, School of Medicine, where he has taught since 1983. His courses on health finance, planning, and administration have won five awards and he received the School’s teaching prize in 1998. With his colleague, Deborah Socolar, he directs the Health Reform Program.

His January 2002 minority report to the Massachusetts health care task force repudiated the option of more health care money for business as usual. It called on state government to stabilize each needed hospital, and asked each stakeholder to consider the core needs of each of the others in order to shape a health care peace treaty.

His September 2001 Senate testimony demonstrated that current U.S. prescription drug spending is sufficient to finance all needed medications, and that a combination of lower prices, higher volumes, and guaranteed revenues for drug makers would win affordable medications for all Americans without harming drug makers’ research or profits—at an incremental cost of about $9 billion annually.

A December 2000 study assessed causes of hospital financial distress in Massachusetts. It recommended immediate and targeted relief to financially distressed hospitals. It also called for state government to identify which hospitals are needed to protect the health of the public, and to assure that all such hospitals are paid enough to provide high-quality care, as long as they are operated efficiently. Earlier research predicted hospital bed shortages.

Dr. Sager is updating a study of the closing of urban hospitals. This work, begun in 1973, has followed 1,200 hospitals in 52 cities for 65 years. Hospitals located in minority neighborhoods have been significantly more likely to close or relocate. Hospital efficiency has not been statistically associated with survival. (Major league baseball teams located in minority neighborhoods were also likelier to relocate.)

In 1979, Dr. Sager designed a “time banking” method of mobilizing voluntary aid for disabled citizens. It allows individuals to volunteer to help others when convenient. Contributed time would be banked. Those who had helped others could receive aid when needed by trading their banked time for the time of a new volunteer. Banked time could also be pooled to provide long-term care insurance.

Alan Sager holds a B.A. in economics from Brandeis and a Ph.D. in city and regional planning (specializing in health care) from MIT. He is a trustee of Waltham Hospital.

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