Peter Kemper appointed to Department of Health and Human Services

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Peter Kemper, professor of health policy and administration at Penn State, has been appointed a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He will lead the Office of Disability, Aging, and Long Term Care Policy, one of four units within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. To assume the full-time position, Kemper retired from Penn State at the end of August.

“It is an exciting time for a health services researcher to work in Washington because of the many challenges the country faces in implementing health and long-term care policy,” said Kemper. “I am honored to have the opportunity to take on my part of this challenge.”

An expert on long-term care services and supports, Kemper has led a number of studies on the cost of care for the elderly as well as on the lifetime risk of needing long-term care services and supports. His research on home care includes an evaluation of the channeling demonstration, a large, randomized experiment that tested the effects of public financing of home care for the elderly. He also analyzed state options for the design of home care programs, case management in home care and the effects of state Medicaid home care spending on the unmet need for personal care. Most recently, his research has investigated options for improving the jobs of direct care workers and of reducing turnover in these jobs.

“As a health services researcher at Penn State, I have worked to develop evidence to improve long-term care policy,” said Kemper. “In my new role, I hope to draw on evidence and analysis to inform decisions concerning disability, aging, and long-term care policy.”

According to Dennis Shea, head of the Penn State Department of Health Policy and Administration, Kemper’s collaborative research efforts on long-term care organizations have helped to identify critical areas for policy makers and long-term care leaders to target to improve the quality of care. “This is a fantastic opportunity for Peter to make a contribution to the future of long-term care services and supports in America,” he said.

Kemper previously served as a commissioner on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and as the workgroup leader on the Clinton health reform effort. Before joining the faculty at Penn State, he was the vice president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, director of the Division of Long-Term Care Studies at the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research and director of the Madison Office of Mathematica Policy Research. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Oberlin College and a doctorate in economics at Yale University.

For additional information, contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or

Last Updated January 10, 2015