Christopher Scannell

Christopher Scannell, MD, PhD

Internal Medicine

MD – USC Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
Residency – Internal Medicine, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA

Biography: Dr. Christopher Scannell is interested in pursuing a career in health care policy, with a focus on the expansion of public health insurance programs to provide greater access to healthcare for vulnerable populations.  His fellowship clinic work was with VA PACT primary care clinic. 

Dr. Scannell’s main scholar research project is titled “The Impact of the ACA Medicaid Expansion on Inpatient Utilization and the Role of Local Physician Supply.”  He collaborated with his mentor Dr. Laura Wherry on the project.  The goal of the study was to assess the impact of the ACA Medicaid expansion on patterns of total inpatient utilization, different types of utilization based on condition type, and how utilization may be moderated by local primary care provider supply.  The project specifically focused on patients who are uninsured and have chronic health conditions, groups that were most likely affected by the Medicaid expansion.  

In addition to his main research project, Dr. Scannell completed a qualitative study, working with two other graduate students and Dr. Elizabeth Barnert (UCLA), to explore possible solutions for Medicaid coverage gaps many justice-involved youth face after release from the justice system.  His team had a manuscript accepted for publication and  submitted a policy brief to the California legislature on ways to eliminate these coverage gaps.  He has also completed a series of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related studies, working with another NCSP scholar and Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa (UCLA), examining how racial and socioeconomic inequalities are associated with COVID-19 cases and deaths.  Finally, he worked on a project evaluating how the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) vs Medicare Part D drug coverage may influence medication adherence.  Veterans who receive their medications using VHA coverage face minimal financial barriers and it provides an exemplar plan for keeping out-of-pocket drug prices low. The results from this study could provide support for modeling other drug benefit plans after the VHA plan and lowering out-of-pocket drug prices for older Americans.  

Dr. Scannell also engaged in leadership activities while in the NCSP.  He worked on a project with his cohort titled “Communities for Wellness Equity,” a conference exploring the social determinants of health impacting members of the South Los Angeles community.  This group partnered with the non-profit Healthy African American Families II (HAAFII) to a hold a 1-day conference engaging community members and create a priority list of social determinants for future intervention with community-partnered projects.  Additionally, Dr. Scannell served as a faculty advisor for the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine AMSA chapter.  He advised the chapter on a campaign to make targeted cancer therapies more accessible in developing countries.  Dr. Scannell was integral to the planning and implementation of the inaugural group NCSP Sacramento policy activities in September 2019 where the NCSP fellows engaged with state policy leaders.  Dr. Scannell also led efforts with other NCSP scholars at UCLA and UCSF to hold a series of web-based meetings with policy leaders and legislators. These virtual visits were designed to allow scholars from both sites to directly engage important figures in healthcare policy to provide expertise on current issues, such as COVID-19 and the health impacts of police violence towards communities of color.  These visits also allowed scholars to learn about non-traditional career trajectories, outside of clinical medicine, such as working within government or non-profit, healthcare advocacy organizations.    

Dr. Scannell was approved to complete a third year with the NCSP.  He is currently participating in the LA Area Health Services Research Post-Doctoral Training Program (a joint collaboration through UCLA, USC, RAND, and the VA).  His current research is primarily focused on quantifying drivers of financial burden in patients with chronic disease, such as those with cancer and enrolled in high-deductible health plans or using specialty medications. His secondary interest is assessing healthcare system and policy-level interventions that may reduce out-of-pocket costs and the risk for catastrophic health expenditures among this vulnerable patient population.