Robert E Mechanic

Senior Fellow

Robert E Mechanic's photo


Office: Heller-Brown Building 221
Phone: 781-736-3969
Brandeis Directory


Health care reform, health care payment systems, hospital finance, integrated delivery systems, accountable care organizations, health insurance, Medicare policy, care coordination


  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

Robert E Mechanic

Senior Fellow


Robert E. Mechanic, M.B.A, is Senior Fellow at the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and Executive Director of the Health Industry Forum. His research focuses on health care payment systems and the adaptation of organizations to new payment models. He is a national expert in the field of accountable care organizations and bundled payment models. Mr. Mechanic has been principle or is co-investigator of numerous studies including the evaluation of the Blue Cross of Massachusetts Alternative Quality Contract, the most comprehensive evaluation of a commercial payer's global payment model ever completed. Mr. Mechanic has worked with numerous organizations preparing for Medicare’s Bundled Payment for Care Improvement Initiative. Prior to Brandeis, Mr. Mechanic was a Senior Healthcare Analyst with Forrester Research and Senior Vice President with the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA). From 1988 to 1998, Mr. Mechanic was a consultant and Vice President with the Lewin Group, a Washington D.C.-based health care consulting firm. Mr. Mechanic’s work has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA and Health Affairs. He is a trustee of Atrius Health, an 800-physician multispecialty group practice in Greater Boston. Mr. Mechanic earned an MBA in finance from The Wharton School. and a BS in economics with distinction from the University of Wisconsin.

Awards and Honors

  • Academy Health Article of the Year: The ‘Alternative Quality Contract,’ Based On A Global Budget, Lowered Medical Spending And Improved Quality By Zirui Song, Dana Safran, Bruce Landon, Mary Landrum, Yulei He, Robert Mechanic, Matt Day, & Michael Che (2013)


  • Mechanic, Robert E. "The Risks of Remaining in the Medicare Shared Savings Program During the COVID-19 Pandemic." Health Affairs Blog (2020)
  • Mechanic, Robert and Clif Gaus. "Medicare Shared Savings Program Produces Substantial Savings: New Policies Should Promote ACO Growth." Health Affairs Blog (2018)
  • Mechanic, Robert and Robert Galvin. "Self-Insured Employers -- The Payment Reform Wild Card." New England Journal of Medicine 379. (2018): 308-310.
  • Stuart Altman and Robert Mechanic. "Health Care Cost Control: Where Do We Go From Here." Health Affairs Blog (2018)
  • Christopher Afendulis, Laura Hatfield, Bruce Landon, Jonathan Gruber, Mary Beth Landrum, Robert Mechanic, Darren Zinner and Michael Chernew. "Early Impact of CareFirst’s Patient-Centered Medical Home With Strong Financial Incentives." Health Affairs 36. 4 (2017): 468-75.
  • Landon, Bruce and Robert Mechanic. "The Paradox of Coding -- Policy Concerns Raised by Risk-Based Provider Contracts." New England Journal of Medicine 377. (2017): 1211-13.
  • Mechanic, Robert and Darren Zinner. "Risk Contracting in Large Medical Groups During National Health Care Reform." American Journal of Managed Care 22. 6 (2016): 441-6.
  • Mechanic, Robert. "Not the Last Word: Medicare Bundled Payment is Here to Stay." Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research 474. 9 (2016): 1920-21.
  • Mechanic, Robert. "Opportunities and Challenges for Payment Reform: Observations from Massachusetts." Journal of Health Policy, Politics and Law (2016).
  • Mechanic, Robert. "When New Medicare Payment Systems Collide." New England Journal of Medicine 374. 18 (2016): 1706-9.
  • Colleen L. Barry, Elizabeth A. Stuart, Julie M. Donohue, Shelly F. Greenfield, Elena Kouri, Kenneth Duckworth, Zirui Song, Robert E. Mechanic, Michael E. Chernew, and Haiden A. Huskamp. "The Early Impact Of The ‘Alternative Quality Contract’ On Mental Health Service Use And Spending In Massachusetts." Health Affairs 34 (2015): 2077-2085.
  • Mechanic, Robert. "Mandatory Medicare Bundled Payment - Is It Ready for Prime Time?." New England Journal of Medicine 373. 14 (2015): 1291-1293.
  • Stuart Altman and Robert Mechanic. "Limited Future Healthcare Spending Growth Will Force Providers to Develop More Cost-Effective Delivery Systems." FUTURESCAN 2015: Healthcare Trends and Implications 2015 - 2020 (2015).
  • Afendulis C, Fendrick A, Song Z, Landon B, Safran D, Mechanic R, Chernew M.. "The impact of global budgets on pharmaceutical spending and utilization: early experience from the alternative quality contract.." Inquiry 51. 1 (2014).
  • Karen Hacker, Palmira Santos, Somova Stout, Doug Thompson, Robert Mechanic. "Early Experience of a Safety-Net Provider Reorganizing into an Accountable Care Organization." Journal of Health Policy, Politics and Law 39. 4 (2014): 901-917.
  • Robert Mechanic. "Post-Acute Care — The Next Frontier for Controlling Medicare Spending." New England Journal of Medicine 370. 8 (2014): 692-694.
  • Robert Mechanic. "When the Doctor is No Longer the Boss." New York Times March 6, 2014: Opinion: Room for Debate Online.
  • Ha T. Tu, Robert Mechanic, Ellyn R. Boukus, Kevin Draper. Portland, Oregon: Health Insurance Market Geared Up for National Health Reform. Center for Studying Health System Change: Washington DC. July 2013. Washington DC Center for Studying Health System Change: 2013.
  • Laurie Felland, Robert Mechanic, Amanda Lechner, Rebecca Gourevitch. Minneapolis-St. Paul: Health Care Market Overcomes Early State Resistance to National Reform. Washington DC Center for Studying Heatlh System Change: 2013.
  • Robert Mechanic and Christopher Tompkins. "Lessons Learned Preparing for Medicare Bundled Paymenbts." New England Journal of Medicine 367. 20 (2012): 1873 - 1875.
  • Robert Mechanic and Darren Zinner. "Many Large Medical Groups Will Need To Acquire New Skills And Tools To Be Ready For Payment Reform." Health Affairs 31. 9 (2012): 1984-1992.
  • Robert Mechanic, Jenifer Perloff, Darren Zinner, Moavenb Razavi, Michael Keane. Evaluation of HHS Delivery Sytem reform and Affordable Care Act Provisions: Consolidated Evaluation Design Recommendations. Washington DC Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of the Secretary, HHS: 2012.
  • Robert Mechanic, Stuart Altman and John McDonough. "The New Era Of Payment Reform, Spending Targets, And Cost Containment In Massachusetts: Early Lessons For The Nation." Health Affairs 31. 10 (2012): 2334-2342.
  • Zirui Song, Dana Gelb Safran, Bruce E. Landon, Mary Beth Landrum, Yulei He, Robert E. Mechanic, Matthew P. Day and Michael E. Chernew. "The ‘Alternative Quality Contract,’ Based On A Global Budget, Lowered Medical Spending And Improved Quality." Health Affairs 31. 8 (2012): 1885-1894.
  • Chernew Michael, Mechanic Robert, Landon Bruce, Safran Dana. "Private Payer Innovation in Massachusetts: The Alternative Quality Contract." Health Affairs 30. 1 (2011): 51-61.
  • Robert Mechanic Palmira Santos, Bruce Landon and Michael Chernew. "Medical Group Responses to Global Payment: Early Lessons from the Alternative Quality Contract in Massachusetts." Health Affairs 30. 9 (2011): 1734-42.
  • Robert Mechanic. "Opportunities and Challenges for Episode-Based Payment." New England Journal of Medicine 365. 9 (2011): 777-9.
  • Song Zuiri, Safran Dana, Landon Bruce, He Yu, Ellis Randall, Mechanic Robert, Day Matthew, Chernew Michael. "Health Care Spending and Quality in Year 1 of the Alternative Quality Contract." New England Journal of Medicine 365. 10 (2011): 909-18.
  • Altman Stuart and Robert Mechanic. "Advice to the Governor: Tough Medicine for Controlling Healthcare Spending.." Commonwealth Magazine October 2010.
  • Mechanic, Robert and Darren Zinner. Moving Towards a Robust Comparative Effectiveness Research Enterprise. Health Affairs Blog. Waltham, MA: 2010.
  • Mechanic, Robert and Stuart Altman. "Payment Reform Options: Episode Payments Are a Good Place to Start." Health Affairs, (Web Exclusives: January 27, 2009). 28. 2 (2010): w262–w271.
  • Robert Mechanic and Stuart Altman. "Medicare's Opportunity to Encourage Innovation in Health Care Delivery." New England Journal of Medicine 362. 9 (2010): 772-4.
  • Santos, Palmira and Robert Mechanic. Follow-on Biologic Competition. Proc. of Follow-on Biologic Competition. Washington DC: The Health Industry Forum, Brandies University, 2010.
  • Mechanic, Robert and Palmira Santos. Establishing a National Health Insurance Exchange System. Proc. of Establishing a National Health Insurance Exchange System. Washington DC: The Health Industry Forum, Brandeis University, 2009.
  • Mechanic, Robert. Accelerating High Value Healthcare Delivery. The Health Industry Forum, Brandeis University. Waltham, MA: 2009.