Susan H. Busch, Ph.D.

November 1, 2007



Susan H. Busch, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Public Health at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Busch is a health economist, whose research focuses on health care financing and mental health care. In particular, she is interested in the effects of contracting and financial arrangements on access to services, treatment choice, and appropriateness of care. Her research topics include: impact of state parity laws; implications of increased cost sharing in private health plans; impact of child mental health disorders on economic outcomes; and psychotropic drug policy.

Dr. Busch received her M.S. from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Ph.D. in Health Policy with a concentration in Health Economics from Harvard University. She is the recipient of an NIMH research grant to study changes in treatment patterns in response to FDA advisories regarding antidepressant use and suicide in children.

Recently, Dr. Busch was the principal investigator for a HCFO-sponsored study examining the impact of state mental health parity laws on children. While prior studies have evaluated these laws, this study was uniquely focused on children. Busch, along with colleague Colleen Barry, examined how state parity laws affected out-of-pocket health care spending and other measures of the financial burden of treatment costs on families. The objective of this study was to inform the debate about the impact of mental health parity laws at both the state and federal levels. Research found that state mental health parity laws lowered the risk that families with children needing mental health care would incur large out-of-pocket costs. In a related study, Busch and Barry examined whether the effects of state parity laws were focused on individuals employed by smaller firms. Employees of smaller firms were presumed to be more affected by state parity laws, because employees of larger firms may not be covered under state parity laws due to the ERISA exemption. Dr. Busch believes that this research has helped to quantify the limits of state parity policies, and has also had an impact on discussions about the value of expanding the federal law. See the August 2007 HCFO Findings Brief, "Financial Relief: The Effect of State Mental Health Parity Laws on Families of Children with Mental Health Care Needs" for more details about this research.

Selected Publications:

Barry, C.L. and S., Busch. "Effects of State Parity Laws on the Family Financial Burden of Children with Mental Health Care Needs," Health Services Research, Vol. 42, No. 3 (part 1), 2007: pp. 1061-84.

Busch, S.H., and C.L., Barry. "Mental Health Disorders In Childhood: Assessing The Burden On Families," Health Affairs, Vol. 26, No. 4, 2007: pp. 1088-95.