• Eugene Lin, MD

    2021 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant
    Eugene Lin, MD

    Eugene Lin, MD

    2021 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant

    Institution: Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

    Project Title: The Impact of Medicare Advantage on Patients with End-Stage Kidney Disease

    How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

    I study how economic incentives, primarily through health policy, influence kidney providers' behavior and how market forces affect patient outcomes.

    Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.

    Starting in 2021, the 21st Century Cures Act allowed patients requiring dialysis to newly enroll in Medicare Advantage, when private insurers coordinate Medicare benefits. Before 2021, patients could only enroll in Medicare Advantage if they obtained it prior to starting dialysis; all other patients enrolled in traditional Medicare. Although experts anticipate a large influx of patients into Medicare Advantage, we know little about the Medicare Advantage population. This project will investigate the Medicare Advantage market and its impact on dialysis management, including the use of home dialysis and avoidance of dialysis crash starts. 

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    The 21st Century Cures Act is one of the most impactful policies affecting kidney patients since the dialysis payment bundle. However, our understanding of the Medicare Advantage population is comparatively small. A putative benefit of Medicare Advantage is its ability to improve care-coordination through managing provider networks. I want to illuminate whether these benefits extend to patients receiving dialysis who critically depend on effective care-coordination.

    What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

    I hope that providers and policy makers will have a better understanding of how health insurance, and specifically Medicare Advantage, might offer real-world benefits to patients. I hope to elucidate how the implementation and delivery of healthcare can be improved, so the best possible care is more accessible to patients.

    What are your career goals at the end of the grant period? Five years out? Ten years out?

    My dream is to become a national policy leader that shapes and designs policies that ensure patients with kidney care receive the best possible care. Becoming an independent health services researcher by the end of the grant period is of course a steppingstone to this goal. But I hope my career is much more than my academic accomplishments. I hope my encounters with public policy will meaningfully improve kidney care delivery.

    What has surprised you most about your career?

    I am always surprised at how my random quirky research interests often transform into large, impactful projects. When I reflect on my career, it resembles a tessellation of disparate events, unified into a single research agenda. There are so many seemingly unrelated, serendipitous opportunities that I am a beneficiary of and that have shaped who I am today.

    What are the major challenges facing nephrology research today?

    Dreaming big! Our field is tied to a technology that is decades old (though still a miraculous, life-saving therapy). I believe that researchers and funders alike need to take bigger risks and pursue research topics that will truly transform kidney care.

    Something you may not know about me is… 

    I have a collection of selfies from high school before smartphones were invented. I am slightly ashamed to admit that I have perfected the antiquated art of taking pictures of myself without the benefit of a front-facing camera.

    In my free time I like to …

    Cook, barbeque, hike, and listen to podcasts. Follow #nephbbq on Twitter!

    Follow on Twitter: @eugelin06