Staff
We’re a small team that makes a big impact.

 


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    Niall Brennan, MPP

    President & CEO

    Niall was appointed President and CEO of HCCI in June 2017. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of the HCCI mission, promoting HCCI’s research agenda, examining cost trends in U.S. healthcare, ensuring maximal use of the HCCI data resources to enable world class research and analysis by external users, leading HCCI’s Medicare Qualified Entity business, and working with state and national policy makers to improve the health care system. He is a nationally recognized expert in health care policy, the use of health care data to enable and accelerate health system change, and data transparency. He has published widely in leading academic journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine and Health Affairs. Prior to joining HCCI, Mr. Brennan was Chief Data Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He has also worked at the Brookings Institution, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the Congressional Budget Office, the Urban Institute, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Brennan received his MPP from Georgetown University and his BA from University College Dublin, Ireland.

    When not in the office, Niall enjoys spending time with his family, watching soccer and rugby, and road and mountain bike riding.


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    Sally Rodriguez, MPH

    Chief of Staff & Director of Products

    Ms. Rodriguez oversees HCCI’s research and product portfolios to create impactful offerings in support of its mission. Prior to joining HCCI, Ms. Rodriguez served in a variety of healthcare research, consulting and product development roles, most recently leading product development for Avalere Health and previously conducting research with the Government Accountability Office and Center for the Study of Services. Ms. Rodriguez received her BS in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from the University of Southern California, and her MPH with a concentration in Policy from the George Washington University. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner and SAFe Agilist.

    When she is not supporting her teams (USC, Capitals, Manchester United, Bills), Sally likes to read fiction and sample Indian food.


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    Sarah Vermeland, BS

    Operations Manager & Business Analyst

    As Operations Manager, Ms. Vermeland works with the President, HCCI staff, and stakeholders to ensure they have the resources, knowledge, and support needed to support HCCI’s mission. As Business Analyst, Ms. Vermeland oversees and executes day to day bookkeeping, ongoing financial reports, nonprofit compliance, yearly audit, event planning, and IT support and services. Ms. Vermeland received her Bachelor of Science from Beloit College in Health & Society and Political Science.

    Outside of work Sarah enjoys sewing, crocheting, and listening to podcasts.


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    Jean Fuglesten Biniek, PhD

    Senior Researcher

    Dr. Fuglesten Biniek contributes to the development of HCCI’s Qualified Entity initiative and is a co-author of the forthcoming 2017 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report. She previously worked as an economist on the staff of the Budget Committee in the United States Senate and has also held positions at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, NERA Economic Consulting, and Bienestar Human Services. Dr. Fuglesten Biniek received her BA in Economics from the University of California Los Angeles, MA in Applied Economics from the Johns Hopkins University, and PhD in Health Policy with a concentration in Health Economics from Harvard University.

    Most weekends Jeannie can be found renovating the 1950s rambler she owns with her wife or exploring the outdoors with their dog.


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    Amanda Frost, PhD

    Senior Researcher

    Dr. Frost divides her time between research and project management. Her research has focused on the spending and utilization patterns of health care for the employer-sponsored insurance population, including those with diabetes and other chronic conditions. She has also worked on issues of out-of-pocket spending and consumer health care “shopping”, including the role of individuals in the “value” debate in health care. In addition to research, Dr. Frost also oversees the Data Enclave and the Health Data for Action Grant Program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as working with the research teams using the HCCI data. Dr. Frost received her MA and PhD in Political Science from The University of Iowa.

    When not in the office, Amanda can be found playing with her French bulldog, Pascal—who has more followers on social media than she does.


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    John Hargraves, MPP

    Senior Researcher

    Mr. Hargraves oversees HCCI’s research blog HealthyBytes and data visualizations. He is also a co-author of the annual Health Care Cost and Utilization Report and contributes to the development of HCCI’s Qualified Entity initiative. His research focuses on the impact of policy and regulatory changes on health care spending and service use, and often collaborates with media outlets to help tell stories with data. Previously to joining HCCI, Mr. Hargraves worked as a researcher at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services studying geographic variation, chronic conditions, and hospice using Medicare claims data. Mr. Hargraves received his BS in Economics from Binghamton University and his MPP with a concentration in Program Evaluation from the George Washington University.

    John is an avid outdoorsman, comic convention nerd, and TV enthusiast.


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    Bill Johnson, PhD

    Senior Researcher

    Dr. Johnson oversees the Healthy Marketplace Index project and supports a variety of other HCCI research priorities. His research focuses on how local market factors, such as health care provider market structure, can impact the cost and type of care patients receive. He has also published work estimating shortages of the public provision of mental health services across localities in Virginia. Dr. Johnson received his MA and PhD in Economics from the University of Virginia.

    Bill is an avid Boston sports… and DC United fan, who enjoys making pizza from scratch when not defending the New England Patriots.


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    Chao Zhou, PhD

    Senior Researcher

    At HCCI, Dr. Chao Zhou’s research focuses on socioeconomic differences in opioid prescribing, ADHD medication, and substance abuse. Before joining HCCI, Dr. Zhou was an economist at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC. At the CDC, Dr. Zhou conducted extensive research projects related to opioid epidemic. She is expert in analyzing large scale health care claims data (Commercial, Medicare A, B, and D). Her research has been published in journals such as JAMA-Internal Medicine, Health Affairs, Medical Care, and has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and on National Public Radio.

    Dr. Zhou received her PhD in Economics from Boston University.


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    Kevin Kennedy

    Researcher

    Mr. Kennedy performs data manipulation and statistical analysis on HCCI’s vast commercial claims dataset, co-authoring published articles and reports on a wide array of topics. A majority of his focus has been on geographic price variation, including his work on projects like the Healthy Marketplace Index (HMI) and the National Chartbook of Health Care Prices. His research has also explored emergency room price and use trends as well as consumer-driven health plans, among others. Mr. Kennedy received his BS in Economics and in International Affairs from The George Washington University.

    Outside of the workplace, Kevin enjoys running, re-watching The Office, and cheering on his hometown Cleveland sports team (as painful as that tends to be).


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    Julie Reiff

    Researcher

    Ms. Reiff joined HCCI after gaining experience as a health economics and outcomes research senior analyst, specializing in prescription drug spending and disease-related health outcomes. She has also worked with non-profit healthcare systems in Haiti, with projects focusing on improving clinic retention among HIV patients and determining the efficacy of an oral cholera vaccine. She received a BA in Biology and a BA in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    In addition to her healthcare research interests, Julie enjoys cooking and watching any food-related television show. You can find her rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoons in the fall and the UNC Tar Heels basketball team all winter and spring.


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    Aaron Bloschichak, MPH

    Research Assistant

    Mr. Bloschichak supports various projects such as HCCI issue briefs, blogs, external publications, and business development. He also assists in HCCI’s Qualified Entity Medicare data business. Mr. Bloschichak received his BS in Neuroscience and Public Health from Muhlenberg College and MPH from The Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

    Mr. Bloschichak is an avid Philadelphia sports fan who belongs to a plethora of fantasy sports leagues.


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    Carole Bashaw

    Project Manager

    Ms. Bashaw is a certified Project Manager. She divides her time between HCCI’s health care cost transparency website Guroo, and FloridaHealthPriceFinder, a state-wide health cost transparency website developed with HCCI’s partner, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Her work focuses on creating, maintaining, and managing technology updates and prioritizing enhancements for both websites.  She oversees content management, user testing and, and application releases. In addition to website management, Ms. Bashaw focuses on the eligibility and claims data contribution process for AHCA’s project. Ms. Bashaw received her BA from Macalester College and Project Management Certification from the Project Management Institute.

    When not working on websites, Carole enjoys running with her dog, Alice, and attending live concerts at First Avenue and The Palace Theater in Minneapolis, MN.