An update 2012 PLS and 2015 MPA alumna, Hilary Dempsey.
When people ask me what I do and I explain my job, they usually say, “I’m glad I don’t have that job!” or “Wow, that sounds really boring”. And to some, it may be. However, I thrive in the policy world.
I work for a company called Press Ganey. We partner with thousands of hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country (and some in countries abroad) to improve the patient experience, healthcare workforce engagement, clinical excellence, and safety within America’s healthcare system. At first, that doesnt necessarily sound like something for a political science major or someone with a Master’s in public administration. But it totally is.
At the federal level, various pieces of healthcare legislation and rules and regulations from the Department of Health & Human Services require hospitals and other healthcare facilities to measure certain things within those care settings. For example, there are a variety of quality reporting programs that hospitals and other healthcare facilities are required to participate in to avoid financial penalties from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). As part of those programs, CMS requires the facilities to collect and submit data on clinical quality, safety, and patient experience, including things like the rate of infections, mortality rates, Medicare spending per beneficiary, patient experiences with doctors and nurses, and other types of measures. Press Ganey serves as a vendor for some of that data, partnering with hospitals and other facilities to help submit that data to CMS and working with those facilities on how to improve the patient experience, increase safety, and strive for clinical excellence.
My main duty as a Policy Analyst at Press Ganey is to monitor the activities of Congress, CMS, and other agencies for any changes to the legislation, rules, or regulations that might impact those quality reporting programs (and therefore our clients), as well as any potential new requirements or programs that might impact hospitals and other facilities.
This role requires a significant amount of reading, writing, and knowledge about both the legislative and regulatory processes. Luckily, my time at Missouri State as both a Political Science undergraduate and Public Administration graduate student prepared me well. During my time at MSU, I was able to get an internship with a Congressman, allowing me to learn more about the legislative process, how agencies carry out legislative requirements, and what that means to the stakeholders who are effected by those requirements and agency guidance. In addition, my time as a graduate student helped support my knowledge of inter-agency activities, the importance of ethical behavior within the workplace, and the importance of data within policymaking. Moreover, the heavy workload of graduate school helped me develop good time management skills – a must! I would recommend the program to any prospective student who wants to be involved in making the world a better place through policy, whether that’s in the public or private sector.