Harold S. Luft Ph.D.

Director of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute
Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute
Email: lufth@pamfri.org Discipline: Economics, Health Services Research Expertise: Health Outcomes, Insurance, Managed Care, Health Economics

Investigator Award
Reconfiguring the US Health Care System: Function, Form, and Feasibility
Award Year: 2004 In Reconfiguring the U.S. Health Care System: Function, Form, and Feasibility, Harold S. Luft, Ph.D. searches for workable approaches to reorganizing American health care. Recognizing the daunting nature of this task, Dr. Luft starts with what works well, considers how key functions can be reorganized and financed, and examines how to engage and influence multiple stakeholders and use new technologies to promote change. Along the way, he tackles serious challenges: the difficulties for patients in navigating the health care system; fragmented payment systems and their added costs; the often-conflicting concerns and needs of providers, insurers, and the pharmaceutical industry; political realities; diagnostic and treatment uncertainties; and the role of interest groups. Yet Dr. Luft believes it is possible to think more creatively about solutions that could allow most stakeholders to be "winners." He plans to produce a book that focuses more on the health care system's actors and processes than on costs and coverage, and explores a series of options for reconfiguring the U.S. health care system.


Harold S. Luft, PhD, is the director of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute. Previously, he was the chair of the Health Policy Department, the Caldwell B. Esselstyn Professor of Health Policy and Health Economics and director of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. His research and teaching have covered a wide range of areas, including medical care utilization, health maintenance organizations, hospital market competition, quality and outcomes of hospital care, risk assessment and risk adjustment, and health care reform. He has been involved in postdoctoral training for over 30 years, having been co-director or associate director for four training programs sponsored by UCSF and/or UC Berkeley. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and served six years on the IOM Council. He was a member of and chaired the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). He served on the board of AcademyHealth for 10 years and was co-editor of the journal Health Services Research. He has authored or co-authored and edited a number of books and published numerous articles in scientific journals. Professor Luft received his A.B., A.M., and Ph.D. in economics (specializing in health sector economics and public finance) from Harvard University.