Class of 2020

Vic Mehra, MD, PhD, MHCDS

System Chief of Quality and Value
Geisinger Heart Institute

Physicians are key to solving the health care crises in the nation. However, this is only possible if we, the physicians, are ready to be educated on issues that extend beyond our own limited sphere of practice. Without the input of people who understand the intricacies of the health care delivery system, any reform is bound to have limited success. Physicians have to step up to the plate and take their place amongst the policy experts and payors to lead the change. This is what attracted me to the MHCDS program.

Vic, tell us about your professional experience.

I am the system chief of quality and value for the Geisinger Heart Institute. I am also the system chief for advanced cardiac imaging. Geisinger is a multi-hospital, integrated Health System in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that is nationally recognized for its innovation in health care delivery and quality. My responsibilities include monitoring and optimizing our traditional quality metrics at multiple hospitals while also innovating for the new era in value. My clinical responsibilities include advanced imaging as well as leading the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy clinic at Geisinger Medical Center.

Why did you choose MHCDS over another type of program (e.g., MBA, MPH, MMM)?

I was drawn to the dual emphasis on business and policy which made all courses within the program very impactful and relevant in a very immediate way. The fact that the program was housed at Tuck and Geisel, two powerhouses at Dartmouth, with their depth of expertise set it apart from other competing programs. I was also attracted to the diversity of expertise of students at the MHCDS. It helps to be in a class with people from the insurance industry, academia, policy and politics. Also, the schedule of the program with its mix of distance learning and residentials is very conducive to a mid-career trainee. 

How have you used the skills/knowledge you have gained so far?

In my role to incorporate value within the quality paradigm, I was very interested in understanding the true cost of health care delivery. With the help of Tuck faculty, and my colleagues within the program, we embarked on creating a service-line analytics form of cost accounting that would allow the Geisinger Heart Institute to monitor its variable cost/case/DRG while benchmarking to national peers. This is a novel form of cost accounting as it allows us to continuously integrate "true" cost within the quality and value equation. The understanding and skills required to design this methodology were gathered in the first several months at MHCDS. This initiative will also serve as my capstone project which is referred to in the curriculum as the Action Learning Project.

The faculty at Tuck and Geisel are simply incredible. They are brilliant but down-to-earth and relatable. I look forward to the residentials to learn more from them and other students. These are relationships that will be of value far beyond the duration of the program. Also, I do believe Dartmouth in of itself is a really special place. A truly unique experience all-in-all."