Yucheng Hou

Yucheng Hou

Assistant Professor in Health Economics

UTHealth Houston SPH


Yucheng Hou is an Assistant Professor at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health. As a health economist and health service researcher, Yucheng conducts research in the areas of payment and delivery system reform, care coordination, and policy evaluation. Using large-scale administrative claims and causal inference methodologies, her current research examines how inter-professional and organizational interactions influence provider decision making, policy performance, and patient outcomes in the context of Medicare payment reform.


  • Health economics
  • Payment reform
  • Care coordination


  • PhD in Health Policy and Management (Economics Track), 2023

    UNC Chapel Hill

  • MPP in Public Policy, 2018

    University of Michigan

  • BA in Management, 2016

    Renmin University of China


Post-Acute Expenditures among Patients Discharged Home after Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack: The COMprehensive Post-Acute Stroke Services (COMPASS) Trial

Objectives The COMPASS (COMprehensive Post-Acute Stroke Services) pragmatic trial cluster-randomized 40 hospitals in North Carolina to the COMPASS transitional care (TC) postacute care intervention or usual care. We estimated the difference in healthcare expenditures postdischarge for patients enrolled in the COMPASS-TC model of care compared with usual care. Methods We linked data for patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack enrolled in the COMPASS trial with administrative claims from Medicare fee-for-service (n = 2262), Medicaid (n = 341), and a large private insurer (n = 234). The primary outcome was 90-day total expenditures, analyzed separately by payer. Secondary outcomes were total expenditures 30- and 365-days postdischarge and, among Medicare beneficiaries, expenditures by point of service. In addition to intent-to-treat analysis, we conducted a per-protocol analysis to compare Medicare patients who received the intervention with those who did not, using randomization status as an instrumental variable. Results We found no statistically significant difference in total 90-day postacute expenditures between intervention and usual care; the results were consistent across payers. Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the COMPASS intervention arm had higher 90-day hospital readmission expenditures ($682, 95% CI $60-$1305), 30-day emergency department expenditures ($132, 95% CI $13-$252), and 30-day ambulatory care expenditures ($67, 95% CI $38-$96) compared with usual care. The per-protocol analysis did not yield a significant difference in 90-day postacute care expenditures for Medicare COMPASS patients. Conclusions The COMPASS-TC model did not significantly change patients’ total healthcare expenditures for up to 1 year postdischarge.


Dissertation: Peer Participation, Spillover Effects, and Evaluation of the Medicare Shared Savings Program

In the transition to value-based care, several alternative payment models (APM) have been developed to provide financial incentives for providers to deliver coordinated, high-quality care at lower costs. The Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) is by far the largest voluntary APM in Medicare and continues to play a significant role in moving away from traditional fee-for-service incentives. However, evaluating the causal effect of the MSSP is challenging in the presence of practice interactions. Practices may be more likely to participate and perform well in the MSSP when their peer practices, with whom they share a lot of patients, engage in similar efforts. Practice interactions also likely provide channels for the effects of MSSP to extend to non-MSSP beneficiaries. Little is known about the role of practice interactions in the participation and outcomes of the MSSP. The overall objective of this study is to leverage a network analytic approach based on patient sharing patterns across practices, combined with quasi-experimental designs, to examine the relationships between peer participation, spillover effects, and the performance of the MSSP. In Aim 1, I estimate the magnitude of peer effects in MSSP participation. In Aim 2, I examine whether peer participation modifies the effect of ACO on beneficiary-level outcomes. In Aim 3, I leverage patient geographic migration to estimate the effect of market-level MSSP penetration on non-MSSP beneficiaries’ outcomes. Results from this study show that at the practice level, more peers participating in the MSSP increase the probability of an index practice participating in the program. At the beneficiary level, the effect of ACO on cost savings is more pronounced for beneficiaries attributed to the primary care practices with higher peer ACO participation rates. At the market level, we find evidence of spillover effects on outpatient service utilization, and the direction of spillover effects depends on outpatient care settings. These findings suggest peer effects are an important mechanism aligning voluntary participation across practices and can be better leveraged to achieve cost savings and better patient outcomes under the MSSP. The evidence of spillover effects suggests that the MSSP-induced change in outpatient care patterns has extended to non-MSSP beneficiaries.

Selected Teaching

Average TA rating: 4.7/5

HPM 883: Analysis of Categorical Data

TA: Spring 2023

HPM 748: Health Economics

TA: Summer 2019

HPM 600: Introduction to the US Health System

TA: Fall 2018