Laptop and Paper in Hand Health Care workers Holding Hands in the Hospital Bethesda Research Scientist NORC Atlanta Lobby A doctor's office waiting room Writing on the whiteboard, NORC Bethesda office


Good health is critical to the productivity and quality of life of individuals and their local communities,
as well as the greater stability and economy of the United States. A significant share of our private and public spending is devoted to prevention and treatment of disease, and we now face a difficult irony: advances in treatment and technology mean longer lives, but that in turn results in high health care costs over longer periods—costs which are already rising annually.

NORC explores healthcare costs and questions of policy efficacy from the perspective of the U.S. healthcare system as a whole, and in context of individual prevention and lifestyle choices. Our work addresses environmental health hazards, treatment access and delivery—particularly for vulnerable populations—and the promise of electronic health records and other emerging technologies to reduce costs while improving knowledge sharing. Our work gives voice to diverse populations ranging from rural communities, tribal groups, the elderly, and low-income children, to adult white-collar employees with employer-sponsored insurance.

Health is one of the oldest research areas of NORC, dating back to the 1940s with studies on public knowledge of cancer and care and some the field’s early and complex mental health studies. In subsequent years, NORC has led landmark studies such as the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a national, longitudinal study of the health of older Americans. NORC is also involved in several components of the National Children’s Study, the largest and most comprehensive long-term study of children’s health and development in the U.S., tracking the health of 100,000 children from before birth through age 21. NORC also led data collection for the National Immunization Survey—one of the largest phone surveys ever conducted.

NORC draws on this rich history, its data collection and analysis capabilities (including biomarkers), and the expertise of dedicated teams in healthcare, public health, substance abuse and mental health to lay the foundation for an understanding of U.S. healthcare policy and its influence on health over time. Our experts are particularly well skilled in managing the rapid change of health care laws and technology.

Specific areas of expertise include:

Representative Projects

Assessment of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) Integrated Behavioral Health Services.

This project fits within a larger project that provides technical assistance to community health centers and community behavioral health care providers in integrating primary health and behavioral health.   NACHC will be conducting an Assessment of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) Integrated Behavioral Health Services, following up with those FQHCs reporting that behavioral health care services have been integrated into their routine primary care practice. More

Evaluate the Advancing System Improvements to Support Targets for Healthy People 2010 Program. The Advancing System Improvements to Support Targets for Healthy People 2010 (ASIST2010) program, funded through the Office on Women’s Health (OWH), is a unique program in at least two respects: it places emphasis on sex- and gender-based care, and is designed to improve health outcomes within the selected Healthy People 2010 focus area(s)—cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, access to quality health services, educational and community-based programs, nutrition and overweight, and physical activity and fitness.  More

Exploring the Black Box: Design and Implementation Issues of Pay-for-Performance for Rural Physicians. This study explores key research questions related to the design and implementation of pay-for-performance (P4P) systems by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and private health care delivery systems.

Financial Alignment Initiative Operation Support Contract. The purpose of this project is to assist the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with services to support the implementation of the Financial Alignment Initiative, a demonstration to test new approaches to providing integrated administrative, service delivery, and payment models for those individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. States may choose to participate in two different models under the demonstration: 1) capitated model, and 2) managed-fee-for service model (MFFS). Under the capitated model, CMS and the state enter into a three-way contract with selected health plans to provide integrated benefits to individuals dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid and health plans receive a capitation rate for the full continuum of benefits provided to enrollees. Under the MFFS model, states have the flexibility to develop innovative approaches to coordinate care for this population, building upon Medicaid health homes, primary care case management programs, or other models. States participating in the MFFS model are eligible for a retrospective performance payment based on federal savings and quality outcomes achieved by enrollees. Any intervention must ensure seamless integration and access to all necessary services through coordination across the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  More

Predicting Rural Population Surge Following Urban Disasters. This study, conducted for the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, consisted of a national survey of urban households and a series of interviews with community and national experts to inform rural preparedness planning efforts and augment the predictive accuracy of an online, map-based planning tool developed by NORC's Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. More

See all Health projects


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