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APSU prof to have new book about TennCare published in January 2007

After years of studying the states TennCare health insurance program since its inception in 1994, an Austin Peay State University faculty member soon will publish a book that looks at how the controversial plan has impacted hospitals.

Dr. Chinyere Ogbonna-McGruder, assistant professor of public management, has written TennCare and Disproportionate Share Hospitals in Tennessee, scheduled for release in January 2007. It is being published by the University Press of America, Lanham, Md.
After years of studying the state's TennCare health insurance program since its inception in 1994, an Austin Peay State University faculty member soon will publish a book that looks at how the controversial plan has impacted hospitals.

Dr. Chinyere Ogbonna-McGruder, assistant professor of public management, has written “TennCare and Disproportionate Share Hospitals in Tennessee,” scheduled for release in January 2007. It is being published by the University Press of America, Lanham, Md.

TennCare was launched Jan. 1, 1994, as the state's health reform plan to expand coverage for a large uninsured population using a Medicaid waiver. By the end of the month, 1.2 million TennCare beneficiaries were enrolled in one of 12 participating managed-care plans.

In her book, based on results calculated from data from all hospitals in Tennessee spanning a 10-year period, Ogbonna-McGruder concludes that TennCare implementation had more of an adverse effect on profit hospitals than disproportionate share hospitals.

Ogbonna-McGruder said her new book is written for anyone who wants to learn more about the TennCare effort.

“Hopefully, the book will generate interest in exploring different strategies for managing the costs of health care at both the state and federal levels, while ensuring coverage for the majority of the population,” she said.

This year, TennCare reduced the number of beneficiaries covered under its plan, forcing thousands of Tennesseans to seek health insurance they could afford. Ogbonna-McGruder said the effects of that event would not be realized until after some time.

“The concept of TennCare was a fine and innovative idea that held promise, but the initial management issues and problems at inception snowballed into a huge smorgasbord of issues that necessitated something to be done — in this case, resulting in cutting off some beneficiaries.

“One thing I can say is that some of the current changes appear rational and some of them not so rational,” she said.

Ogbonna-McGruder has held various positions in both private and public health care industries, including research positions at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, and the Vectors/Arbovirus Research division with the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2001, she served as bioterrorism epidemiologist for the Tennessee Department of Health.

Born in Okwe, Nigeria, Ogbonna-McGruder earned a Bachelor of Science in Parasitology and Entomology from Anambara State University, Enugu, Nigeria, in 1990 and a Master of Science in Health Care Administration from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, in 1996. She received a doctorate in public administration at Tennessee State University in August 2000.

For more information, contact Ogbonna-McGruder by telephone at (931) 221-7763 or by e-mail at ogbonnac@apsu.edu. -- Melony Leazer