Students Assist NJ Department of Human Services

Friday, May 21, 2010

Each year, NJ FamilyCare provides access to affordable health coverage to more than a half million children in the state. The federally and state-funded insurance program also assists certain low-income parents and guardians. In order to ensure that the program is effectively recruiting and retaining qualified recipients, plenty of research is required.

Recently, the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) sought the expertise of students in Rider’s College of Business Administration to assist the department. This semester, under the guidance of Dr. Hope Corman, professor of Economics and director of the Health Administration Program, students in ECO/HTH 450: Seminar in Economics/Health Administration Research conducted a literature review and an empirical analysis, and wrote a report entitled Retention in New Jersey’s Medicaid/SCHIP Program. The class presented its findings to DHS representatives and University faculty and staff on May 7.

First, the students conducted a literature review in order to determine factors that impact the retention rate of families in subsidized health care programs in New Jersey, as well as the entire United States. Then, using the data provided by DHS and Census statistics, the students conducted an empirical analysis where they computed retention rates in New Jersey Family Care program from the 2007-08 and 2008-09 periods. In fact, the students examined data from 19 million claims. In addition, the students also examined factors that may affect retention, as well as demographic factors, which affect whether or not the child utilized medical services in the past year. The students also discussed how the new health care law would affect health care in New Jersey.

Each spring, students in the seminar conduct a community-based research project related to economics and health. Last year, students conducted research for DHSS’s prenatal-care pilot program because the department hopes to implement a statewide care program.

DHS representative Syeebra Brent Palmer ’98 said she was very impressed by the students’ presentation. While she did not have the opportunity to work with the DHS as a Management and Human Resource Management major during her days at Rider, she always knew she would eventually work for the state.

Charles Choe, who received bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Finance during Rider’s undergraduate Commencement ceremonies on May 14, said he enjoyed taking the class so much last year that he decided to take the class again as an independent study.

“I took on more of a leadership role because I knew what to expect,” Choe explained. “The seminar enables you to gain a different kind of knowledge that you can’t learn in the classroom.”

This year’s class seminar included 2010 graduates Stephanie De Trempe, a Psychology major; Arthur Nemirovsky, a Business Administration major; Lena Ricioppi, a Management major; Lindsay Sansone, a Marketing major; and Joseph Simonetti, a Economics major. The other students included Shawn Armstrong, a senior Business Administration and Marketing dual major; Thomas Boyle, a junior Economics and Management dual major; and Eric Wilkinson, a junior Economics major.

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Students in Seminar in Economics/Health Administration Research class