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Jean M Mitchell




MSPP-Tenure Line Faculty
General profile



+1 202-687-7038





Jean M.Mitchell is an economist and Professor in the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. Her areas of expertise are health economics, health services research and applied econometrics.

Dr. Mitchell has published more than 80 peer reviewed articles in leading economics, health services research and medical journals. Her published research includes the following topics: the effects of physician self-referral arrangements on utilization and costs of health services, effects of managed care insurance on access to care for specific medical procedures; effects of managed care on physicians’ practice styles, hours of work, earnings and satisfaction with medicine as a career; physicians’ responses to Medicare fee reductions; effects of physical and mental health on labor supply and earnings; effects of a Medicaid waiver for persons with AIDS on monthly expenditures, use of services and survival; access to medical and dental care along with use of medical and dental services for children with special health care needs enrolled in managed care versus fee-for-service; effects of physician ownership of either specialty hospitals or ambulatory surgery centers on frequency of use (referral rates) for specific inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures. Dr. Mitchell has also served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator of several federally funded grants.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Mitchell served as the principal researcher of a large scale study to evaluate the impact of physician self-referral arrangements on use of services, costs, access and quality of health care in Florida. This study was mandated and funded by the Florida legislature. Her findings, which were published in leading peer review journals such at the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, had a major impact on public policy. In response to her study, Congress passed a federal law (known as Stark II) which prohibits physicians from referring Medicare and Medicaid patients to health care facilities in which the physician has an ownership interest. At least 24 states enacted similar legislation that prohibits the practice of physician self-referral for both public and privately insured patients. All of these laws were prompted by the results of Mitchell’s research on physician self-referral arrangements in Florida.

Dr. Mitchell is continuing her work on physician self-referral arrangements by evaluating loopholes in the federal and state laws. In March 2010, she was awarded a $1.45 million dollar grant from the National Institute on Aging for a project entitled "Financial Incentives, Treatment of Medicare Beneficiaries with Spine Problems and Changes in their Health". The ongoing 3 year project evaluates whether financial incentives linked to physician ownership of specialty hospitals or ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs)result in more resource intensive treatments for Medicare beneficiaries with spine problems, and if so, do these additional treatments result in improvements in patients' health status.

Dr. Mitchell is the lead researcher for two other projects with external funding; both evaluate a large loophole in the Stark II law--the in-office ancillary services exception. One project evaluates the effect of physician self-referral on use of anatomic pathology services for prostate, bladder and GI biopsies. A second component of this project is to examine whether increased use of anatomic pathology services linked to self-referral results in higher cancer detection rates. The other project with external funding focuses on "Consequences of Urologist Self-referral for Radiation Therapy Services." This project evaluates whether men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer, who are treated by self-referral urologists, are more likely to undergo intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) versus alternative cancer treatments. During the time period of the study (2005-2009),IMRT was a highly reimbursed and more lucrative than alternative treatment options.

Dr. Mitchell is an avid, dedicated long distance runner. She resumed marathon running in 2007, after a nine year hiatus. She ran the NY marathon (#11) in November 2007 in 3 hours 50 minutes and qualified for Boston. She completed the Boston marathon (#12) in April 2008 in 3 hours 45 minutes. Jean is married to Gregory de Lissovoy and they have a wonderful 10 year old son Ryan.


  • Ph.D. (1986) Vanderbilt University, Economics
  • M.A. (1985) Vanderbilt University, Economics
  • B.S. (1981) Wake Forest University, Mathematical Economics