Sheila Sankaran is Chief Executive Officer at KNG Health Consulting. She leads the day-to-day management of corporate functions, as well as qualitative research tasks and projects, drawing from her 26-year career in the public and private sectors.
Ms. Sankaran directs the KNG team supporting the learning system for CMS’s Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative and Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model. She oversees the development and production of newsletters and other communication vehicles, focus group and interview protocols, and data presentations. Ms. Sankaran’s work at KNG Health also includes supporting the implementation of Medicare disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payment policy through analysis of public comments submitted in response to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule each year. Her other areas of expertise include: communications and publishing, structured interviews/discussions, stakeholder consultations, training and course development, and survey design and management.
Prior to joining KNG Health, Ms. Sankaran worked for the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). At the ERS, she was Executive Editor of Amber Waves, the agency’s flagship magazine devoted to agricultural economics research. At the BLS, she worked for two national survey programs: the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey and the Consumer Expenditure (CE) survey.
Ms. Sankaran has an MA in economics from the University of Maryland College Park and a BS in economics from the University of Delaware.
Lane Koenig, PhD
Medicare, Medicaid, Healthcare Reform Modeling, Payment and Delivery System Innovation
Lane Koenig is President and Founder of KNG Health Consulting and Director of the Healthcare Reform and Payment Innovation Practice. He is a healthcare economist with over 20 years’ experience in the public and private sectors. As President of KNG Health Consulting, Dr. Koenig has overall responsibility for the quality and direction of KNG Health’s research. He serves as Project Director and Principal Investigator for many studies, particularly those related to healthcare reform proposals, healthcare provider payments, value-based purchasing, and delivery system innovations. With expertise on hospital and post-acute care payment and quality issues, his work regularly assesses the potential impact on hospitals and other providers of proposed legislation or regulations. He has assisted both industry and Federal and state governments in the development and assessment of healthcare provider payment policies and value-base purchasing initiatives.
Prior to founding KNG Health in 2007, Dr. Koenig was the senior economist in the Office of Policy at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Before joining CMS, Dr. Koenig was a Senior Scientist in the healthcare finance practice at The Lewin Group.
Dr. Koenig has led over 100 quantitative and qualitative health policy and health economic studies and has published over 20 peer-reviewed studies in journals, such as Health Affairs, Health Services Research, and Medical Care. He graduated with Honors from the University of Florida, Gainesville and earned his PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Inna Cintina, PhD
Principal Research Associate (she/her)
Comparative Effectiveness, Healthcare Cost and Utilization, Demand Forecasts and Marketing Analyses, Payment and Delivery System Innovation
Inna Cintina is a Principal Research Associate in the Evaluation and Health Economics Practice. Dr. Cintina is an applied microeconomist with over a decade of research experience in the area of health economics.
Prior to joining KNG Health, Dr. Cintina worked at the Lewin Group/OptumServe and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Inna has extensive experience in developing and implementing methodologies for identification of causal relationships, advanced analytics, project management, economic burden/cost of illness studies, and impact evaluations of alternative payment models, such as CMMI’s Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative and Oncology Care Model. She is an expert in using matching techniques, difference-in-difference methodologies, and other quasi-experimental statistical approaches, as well as producing client-oriented materials, white papers, and manuscripts. She has authored/co-authored more than a dozen articles, which have been published in peer-reviewed journals including, but not limited to, World Bank Economic Review, Contemporary Economic Policy, Health Economics, and JAMA.
Dr. Cintina has a PhD in economics from Clemson University, a MSC in European Economics and Public Affairs from University College Dublin, and an MA and a BA in economics from the University of Latvia.
Robert C. Saunders, PhD
Principal Research Associate
Medicare, New Technology Add-on Payment, Payment and Delivery System Innovation, Quality Measurement and Provider Performance
Robert C. Saunders is a Principal Research Associate at KNG Health Consulting in the Healthcare Reform and Payment Innovation Practice.
Dr. Saunders is an expert in the development, testing and reporting of quality and value measures from administrative and clinical data systems. While at the National Committee for Quality Assurance, he developed the Plan All-Cause Readmission measure that would result in a suite of risk adjusted utilization measures for health plans to use in private and public accountability programs. He is an expert in the design of public reporting programs for health care organizations, having developed or consulted on the design of NCQA’s Health Plan Ratings program, the Office of Personnel Management’s Clinical Quality, Customer Service, and Resource Use (QCR) incentive program for federal health insurance plans, the Quality Rating System for plans on the federal and state Exchanges, and a variety of state and special population reporting systems. At Vanderbilt University Dr. Saunders led quality of care and utilization analyses of children’s behavioral health services in Medicaid and military health systems.
Dr. Saunders earned his PhD in Health Services Research and MPP in Policy Development & Program Evaluation from Vanderbilt University and his BA in Political Science from Loyola College (Md.).
Katie Fujimori is a Research Assistant in the Evaluation and Health Economics practice at KNG Health. Their work includes assisting with quantitative analyses as well as conducting literature reviews on topics such as value-based payment programs and financial indicators associated with hospital closures.
Prior to joining KNG Health, Fujimori taught Geometry and Algebra at UIC College Prep in Chicago. They have a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Connecticut College.
Elizabeth Hamlett, BS
Senior Research Associate (she/her)
Medicare, Payment and Delivery System Innovation, Quality Measurement and Provider Performance
Elizabeth Hamlett is a Senior Research Associate in the Evaluation and Health Economics practice at KNG Health. Ms. Hamlett has extensive experience in project management, the design and implementation of qualitative research (e.g., systematic literature reviews, surveys, and interviews), and in conducting analyses using Medicare inpatient and post-acute care claims data. Since joining KNG Health in 2015, her work has focused on evaluating the efficiency, effectiveness, and value of medical interventions, and supporting the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement model through learning system activities, such as dissemination of information and data analysis.
Ms. Hamlett has experience performing quantitative analyses with a variety of health care data sources, namely Medicare claims and Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission data. Specifically, she has performed facility-level and condition specific outcome analyses and provided statistical support to multiple pharmaceutical companies in obtaining approval for New Technology Add-on Payments. In addition, Ms. Hamlett has led the design and development of interactive spreadsheet models for multiple projects including the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee’s proposed Hospital Value Incentive Program (HVIP) and CMS State Innovations Model (SIM) Maryland All-Payer Model. She has also performed statistical evaluation of quality measures proposed for inclusion in CMS’ ASC Quality Reporting Program in terms of reliability, validity, feasibility, and interpretability based on data collected through pilot testing for the Ambulatory Surgery Center Quality Collaboration (ASC QC).
Prior to joining KNG Health, Ms. Hamlett managed a social psychology laboratory and worked with the non-profit organization, the Dialysis Clinic.
Ms. Hamlett earned a Bachelor of Science in policy analysis and management from Cornell University in 2015.
Boomer Kelley is a Research Associate in the Evaluation and Health Economics Practice. Mr. Kelley is focusing on utilizing hospital data from Medicare cost reports to measure the financial strength of hospitals and overall Medicare and Medicaid spending trends on hospital services.
Prior to joining KNG Health, he worked as a research assistant with the Open Health Team at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where he focused on telehealth regulations. Mr. Kelley also has prior experience in the finance sector.
Mr. Kelley has a Master’s degree in Economics from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Studies from Weber State University.
Ori Nevo, MPH
Healthcare Cost and Utilization, New Technology Add-on Payment
Ori Nevo is a Research Associate in the Healthcare Reform and Payment Innovation Practice.
Mr. Nevo specializes in biostatistics and epidemiology with a focus in behavioral health outcomes and has managed quantitative analysis on a range of topics including substance use, osteoporotic fracture recovery, as well as conducted client and staff engagement in healthcare settings.
Prior to joining KNG, Mr. Nevo worked as Data Analysis and Outcomes Manager, leading in-house research for an organization that provides behavioral health services throughout Massachusetts. His work provided analysis regarding inpatient care outcomes, residential and day clinic programs, child services, and substance use program management. In this role he assessed the efficiency and efficacy of these programs in managing client care as well as the relationship between environmental effects on health outcomes. Mr. Nevo also brings direct care experience in the area of behavioral health care, having worked as a mental health specialist for individuals living with mental illness for five years.
Mr. Nevo earned his Master’s in Public Health at Boston University School of Public Health, and his BS in Psychology and BA in Music Composition from Brandeis University.
Jermaine Piper is a Research Assistant in the Healthcare Reform and Payment Innovation Practice.
Mr. Piper’s work focuses on conducting environmental scans on topics such as value-based payment programs, socioeconomic disparities in health care technology access, and financial indicators linked to hospital closures. In addition, Mr. Piper’s work includes data visualization for the construction of chartbooks and conducting key informant interviews. Prior to joining KNG Health, Mr. Piper worked directly in health care as a Phlebotomist and Medical Laboratory Assistant for a local hospital. In this role, he provided direct patient care and facilitated the running of the hospital’s outpatient clinic and laboratory.
Mr. Piper is working towards attaining his Master’s in Public Health with a focus in Health Policy Analysis and Evaluation at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and has completed a BS in Public Health from the University of Maryland College Park.
Mehmet Sari, PhD
Senior Research Associate
Healthcare Cost and Utilization, Quality Measurement and Provider Performance
Mehmet Sari, PhD is a Senior Research Associate at KNG Health Consulting in the Evaluation and Health Economics Practice.
Dr. Sari is a health services researcher with expertise and training in health systems and policy analysis, health informatics (data mining and machine learning), and health economics. He has extensive experience in health policy analysis, program evaluation, and competition in the health care market in academia for the past 7 years. In his own research, he studied how hospital and insurer market power affect community health using IRS Form 990 data of nonprofit hospitals and hospital discharge datasets. He has worked with both claims (Medicare and private payer) and hospital discharge datasets. In addition, Dr. Sari has significant experience working with other healthcare data, such as The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER), Medicare Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), and The National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) datasets. He is primarily interested in how to combine both theoretical and atheoretical quantitative approaches for economic modeling and better decision-making in health services research.
Dr. Sari earned his PhD in Health Services Research from George Mason University, MA in Economics from Clemson University, and BA in Economics from Fatih University (now a part of Istanbul University).
Julia Sheriff, BM
Demand Forecasts and Marketing Analyses, Healthcare Reform Modeling, Payment and Delivery System Innovation
Julia Sheriff is a Research Associate in the Healthcare Reform and Payment Innovation Practice at KNG Health where she conducts quantitative analyses with a variety of healthcare data sources, including Medicare claims data. Ms. Sheriff has conducted analyses to understand the resource needs of Medicare patients with end-stage renal disease. She has also provided support to multiple pharmaceutical companies in obtaining approval for New Technology Add-on Payments. These supplemental hospital payments broaden access to innovative high-value treatments among the Medicare population.
Prior to joining KNG Health, Julia was a tenured teacher in the Montgomery County Public School system (Maryland) and Assistant Director of the Peabody Children’s Chorus. Julia earned a Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University as an award and scholarship recipient. She has earned a Certificate in Data Science from Springboard.
Marie Steele-Adjognon, PhD
Senior Research Associate (she/her)
Comparative Effectiveness, Healthcare Cost and Utilization, Healthcare Reform Modeling
Marie Steele-Adjognon is a Senior Research Associate in the Evaluation and Health Economics Practice at KNG Health. She has formal training and experience in conducting quasi-experimental analyses, simulation models, demand projections, econometric analysis of both cross-sectional and panel data, and instrumental variable techniques.
Dr. Steele-Adjognon conducts episode-based analysis, following patients’ episodes of care starting from admission to the short-term acute care hospital to the post-acute care (PAC) setting and then for a period of time following the post-acute care treatment. Common health outcomes she evaluates are mortality rates, readmission rates, and total healthcare spending. Examples of her work include evaluating how well different risk adjustment methods are able to capture variations in health outcomes; monitoring health outcomes, as well as PAC utilization, over time as different policies and programs change; simulating how new potential health care policy ideas might affect the number of people insured and how they are insured (through employer, public resources, etc.); and evaluating how individual hospitals compare to others in terms of market share and health outcomes within their geographic proximity using Medicare claims files. One specific project she is working on is evaluating how Maryland’s unique SIM All Payer system affects discharge rates, length of stay and Medicare and Medicaid charges at short term acute hospitals in addition to post-acute care settings throughout Maryland for the dual eligible population.
Dr. Steele-Adjognon earned her BS in Mathematics and Financial Economics from University of Maryland Baltimore County and her PhD in Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics from Michigan State University.
Daniel Tshiani is a Research Assistant in the Evaluation and Health Economics practice at KNG Health. Daniel’s recent work has focused on examining geographic variation in the use of hospital outpatient services and physician offices, as well as literature review on Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans.
Prior to joining KNG Health, Daniel was a Research Assistant in the Economics Department at Loyola University Maryland and at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress.
Daniel completed an Associate’s degree in Mathematics at Montgomery College and a Bachelor of Arts in Quantitative Economics at Loyola University Maryland.
Aig Unuigbe, PhD
Senior Research Associate
Medicare, Healthcare Cost and Utilization, Payment and Delivery System Innovation
Aig Unuigbe is a Senior Research Associate in the Healthcare Reform and Payment Innovation Practice at KNG Health. Dr. Unuigbe is an applied microeconomist with expertise in health economics, health policy, and labor economics. Through evaluations using quasi-experimental designs, Dr. Unuigbe evaluates policies affecting Medicare and Medicaid public insurance programs. He has analyzed the impact of public health and labor policies on healthcare utilization, health measures and financial outcomes. He has also examined the use of inpatient healthcare services by minors with pre-existing conditions with private insurance coverage, following the pre-existing condition ACA coverage mandate. Dr. Unuigbe has also explored the increasing prevalence of informal caregiving and its implications. He studied the health trends of informal care providers in comparison to those not engaged in the provision of such care.
Prior to joining KNG Health, Dr. Unuigbe was a Senior Fellow in the CHOICE Institute at the University of Washington where he examined the factors related to the lifecycle of generic drug prescriptions. He also has experience as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Binghamton University and as a Research Economist in the Haas Center at the University of West Florida.
Dr. Unuigbe earned his PhD in Economics from the City University of New York Graduate Center and his BBA in Economics from Wichita State University.