The School of Public Health has received from Baltimore business leader Roger C. Lipitz a commitment of $3 million to set up a policy center and a professorship. The gift includes a bequest in his will of up to $1 million.
The goal of the Roger C. Lipitz Research and Policy Center for Integrated Health Care will be to improve the organization, financing, integration and delivery of health care with an emphasis on post-acute care and rehabilitative services.
The Eugene and Mildred Lipitz Professor will direct the center and also serve on the faculty of the Health Policy and Management Department, in which it is to be housed. The professorship is named in memory of the donor's father and in honor of his mother.
"Roger Lipitz's extraordinary generosity will enable Hopkins to help shape the future of post-acute care policy and management in Maryland and beyond," said Alfred Sommer, dean of Public Health. "As inpatient treatment is curtailed, post-acute care accounts for an increasing proportion of health care services and dollars, yet we lack coherent and informed policies in this area."
Post-acute care covers a range of needs. It can help a youngster disabled by a head injury or an elderly person recovering from a stroke. It also includes treatments to return a person to full function, prevent further disability or provide comfort-only measures.
Lipitz said, "There is very little research on the cost and quality of post-acute care, especially compared with other areas of health care. We have a lot of anecdotal information but very little data to help us understand, for example, how to compare the costs and the quality of life in assisted living vs. nursing home care.
"The solutions facing people who need post-acute care are becoming more and more complex," he continued. "I want to make sure that policies in the future will be based on facts, not emotions."
The Lipitz center and professorship will address the challenges of how to integrate and coordinate services from acute hospital care to long-term care and self-care. An advisory committee, made up of experts from academia and the public and private sectors, will be established to counsel the center about areas of research.
The center will build on work already under way at the school and will collaborate with researchers at the schools of Medicine and Nursing.
Donald Steinwachs, chairman of the Health Policy and Management Department, said, "Attacking these problems will help prevent patients, particularly those needing long-term care, from falling through the cracks as they move from one level of care to another."
Roger Lipitz in 1969 co-founded Meridian Healthcare, which became Maryland's largest provider of nursing home and related services before it was sold to Genesis Eldercare in 1993. Chairman of the Baltimore Development Corporation since 1995, Lipitz serves on the boards of CareFirst Inc. and Genesis and on the advisory board of the School of Public Health. He is a past president of the American Health Care Association and formerly chaired the board of the University of Maryland Medical System.
Shale Stiller, chairman of the School of Public Health advisory board, said, "This gift is characteristic of Roger because it establishes an important new program on the cutting edge of health care in the United States."
The gift will count toward the Johns Hopkins Initiative.