Our Professional Staff

Joan E. DaVanzo, Ph.D., M.S.W.

 Joan E. DaVanzo, Ph.D., M.S.W., is Chief Executive Officer of Dobson | DaVanzo. Before she co-founded the firm, she served as Vice President at The Lewin Group for almost a decade. Her research interests include Medicare payment policy and the socio-medical aspects of normal aging. Dr. DaVanzo has expertise in both qualitative and quantitative analyses, and brings a clinical perspective to her consulting work. She also has extensive experience in the use and interpretation of large datasets, such as Medicare claims files, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS), and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Dr. DaVanzo has studied (scored) the monetary impact of proposed legislation and/or changes in Medicare program coverage for many clients, including pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, patient advocate groups, and provider associations. She has developed cost estimates using Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring methodology for a variety of health services, including care coordination for children with medically complex conditions, home infusion of IVIG, Medicare Diabetes Self-Management Training under H.R. 2425, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), blood clotting factor, oral antiemetic therapies for chemotherapy recipients, cochlear implants and osseointegrated bone anchored hearing solutions, as well as medical nutrition therapy, among others. She worked with the Institute of Medicine to develop cost estimates for several Medicare benefits, such as medically necessary dental care for radiation therapy recipients.

Dr. DaVanzo brings considerable expertise in Medicare provider payment methodologies, recently completing several studies of bundled Medicare acute-post-acute care payment. For example, for the home health care industry, Dr. DaVanzo led a simulation of the impact of clinically appropriate and cost effecting placement in post-acute care.

Dr. DaVanzo has led several retrospective cohort analyses comparing different types of clinical care, such as post-acute rehabilitation, vascular access management, audiology services, and hip and knee replacement. She also conducted a retrospective cohort study of protocol-driven wound care in SNFs using a defined treatment group and a randomly drawn control group of patients not receiving the protocol-driven care. Dr. DaVanzo is currently leading a retrospective cohort study of the outcomes of patients with cancer who received various radiation therapies. The study uses a sample of Medicare patients as well as a sample from a commercial database.

Dr. DaVanzo has led several studies of Medicare acute care/post acute care (PAC) bundled payment that make use of Medicare claims. She has led numerous provider cost surveys, including a survey of imaging providers’ equipment utilization for a coalition of providers and stakeholders. This study involved a Medicare claims analysis to determine utilization by modality and physician specialty to ensure that survey respondents were representative of the industry.

Dr. DaVanzo has expertise in quality measure development and validation using Medicare claims. For example, she worked with CMS to develop and implement Outpatient Imaging Efficiency Measures. Hospital outpatient departments were required to report on these quality measures beginning in 2010. Measure development included a review of the clinical guidelines and research literature, validation of the measures using CMS 100% claims files, and presentation to the National Quality Forum for endorsement.

Dr. DaVanzo has led numerous diverse projects for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), including a study of the standards of care for long term care pharmacy while Medicare Part D was being implemented. She is currently heading a CMS Evaluation of the Medicare IVIG Access Demonstration. Other projects include determining beneficiary information needs around their Medicare coverage, evaluating the National Medicare Education Program Workshops, and evaluating the impact of problematic diagnoses on the HCC model.

Prior to her work at The Lewin Group, Dr. DaVanzo served as Associate Director of the National Health Care Skill Standards Project at WestEd, a national nonprofit research and human services agency in San Francisco. Prior work also includes three years at the RAND Corporation where she worked on an evaluation of mental health services under CHAMPUS. She received a Master of Social Work degree from the New York University School of Social Work, and practiced psychotherapy for twelve years. She later received a Ph.D. in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was a Pew fellow.

Dr. DaVanzo has published her work in Health Affairs, Academic Medicine, Archives of Physical Medicine, Health Economics, Journal of Oncology Practice, and Seminars in Dialysis, among others.



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