Gillings School Directory
Paula Song, PhD

Paula Song, PhD

Associate Professor
Health Policy and Management
Director, Residential Master's Program
Health Policy and Management
  • 1105A McGavran-Greenberg Hall
  • CB #7411
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7411

Paula H. Song, PhD, MHSA, MA, is an associate professor in the Health Policy and Management Department in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill, and a research fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. She also serves the director for the MHA and MSPH programs offered by the department of Health Policy and Management.

Dr. Song’s research expertise includes health care finance, accountable care organizations (ACOs), payment reform, community benefit, and utilization and access for vulnerable populations, including the underinsured and children with disabilities. Her current research interests focus on innovative financing and delivery mechanisms to improve the delivery of health care. She has expertise using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Dr. Song teaches graduate level courses in healthcare financial management and has co-authored several leading textbooks in healthcare finance.

Dr. Song received her Ph.D. in health services organization and policy, and master degrees in health services administration and applied economics, all from the University of Michigan. Prior to academia, Dr. Song work as a health care administrator in large health system.

Representative Courses

HPM 740 Healthcare Financial Accounting | Syllabus

HPM 742 Healthcare Finance | Syllabus

Research Activities

  • Health care financial management
  • Not-for-profit hospital investment decisions and strategies
  • Business case evaluation
  • Community benefit
  • Patient Centered Outcomes Research
  • Accountable Care Organizations

Key Publications

How does being part of a pediatric ACO impact health services use for children with disabilities? Song PH, Xu W, Chisolm D, Alexy E, Ferrari R, Hilligoss B, Domino M. Available online ahead of print August 6, 2019. (2019). Health Services Research.

Satisfaction with care coordination for families of children with disabilities. Sheftall A, Chisolm D, Alexy E, Chavez L, Mangione-Smith R, Ferrari R, Song PH. Available online ahead of print November 16, 2018. (2018). Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

Gender Differences in Hospital CEO Compensation: A National Investigation of Not-for-Profit Hospitals. P Song, S Lee, M Toth, S Singh, G Young (2018). Medical care research and review : MCRR.

Impact of Accountable Care Organizations on Utilization, Care, and Outcomes: A Systematic Review. B Kaufman, B Spivack, S Stearns, P Song, E O'Brien (2017). Medical care research and review : MCRR.

Private sector accountable care organization development: a qualitative study. A Scheck McAlearney, B Hilligoss, P Song (2017). The American journal of managed care, 23(3), 151-158.

“High-Tech Versus High-Touch: Components of Hospital Costs and Charges Vary Widely by Clinical Condition.”. P Song, K Reiter, W Yu (2017). Journal of Healthcare Management.

Hospital ownership and community benefit: looking beyond uncompensated care. J Alexander, S Lee, E Seiber, P Song (2013). Journal of healthcare management / American College of Healthcare Executives, 58(2), 126-41; discussion 141-2.

Trends in Asset Structure between Not-for-Profit and Investor Owned Hospitals. Song PH, Reiter KL.  (2010). Medical Care Research and Review, 67(6), 694-706.


BA, Biological Basis of Behavior, University of Pennsylvania, 1996

MHSA, Health Services Administration, University of Michigan, 1998

MA, Applied Economics, University of Michigan, 2004

PhD, Health Services Organization and Policy, University of Michigan, 2006

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