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James Stephens - Georgia Southern University. Statesboro, GA, US

James Stephens James Stephens

Associate Professor, Health Policy and Community Health | Georgia Southern University


James Stephens analyzes healthcare laws and works to find new healthcare delivery models.



Dr. Stephens earned a Doctoral of Health Administration at Central Michigan University’s School of Health Sciences, a Masters in Health Administration at Indiana University’s School of Medicine, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Indiana University’s School of Business. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and is Board Certified.

He has held senior executive positions in large medical centers and health systems for 25 years, with 18 years at the President and CEO level. Before joining the Georgia Southern University faculty, he held faculty/staff positions at University of Kentucky, Ohio University, University of Indianapolis, and Butler University.

Dr. Stephens has served on many healthcare and civic organizational governing boards to include the Kentucky and Indiana Hospital Associations, Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Boy Scouts, and the International Rotary Club.

He has been awarded Excellence in Teaching at Georgia Southern University, Excellence in Service Award at Ohio University, Sagamore of the Wabash (highest award from the Governor of Indiana), Kentucky Colonel (highest award from the Governor of Kentucky), Indiana Governor’s Award for Volunteerism, Indiana University Alumni Association President’s Award, Lincoln Trail Red Cross Award, and Equal Opportunity Award of Merit by the Urban League. He is also a Paul Harris Fellow in International Rotary. He and his wife have been recognized as Special Donations by International Rotary for their contribution to the Polio-Plus Program.

Dr. Stephens’ interests include healthcare systems, disparity issues in urban/rural communities, CEO leadership development and succession planning, healthcare governance, strategic planning, and new healthcare delivery models.

Currently, Dr. Stephens is an Associate Professor and Distinguished Fellow in Healthcare Leadership and the Director for the Master of Healthcare Administration Program within the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University. He teaches only doctoral and master’s courses to include Healthcare Finance, Healthcare Economics, Leadership and Strategic Planning, and Communication in Healthcare Organizations.

Dr. Stephens has published many articles, book chapters and case studies in additional to national and international academic presentations.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Community Relations

Healthcare Finance

Medical Staff Relations

Leadership Development

Strategic Planning & Business Policy

Organizational Behavior

Healthcare Economics

Human Resources Management

Accomplishments (5)

Award of Excellence in Service, JPHCOPH, Georgia Southern University


Nominated for the Gold Award by the American College of Healthcare Executives


Martha Williams Humanitarian Award


Certificate of Appreciation from JPHCOPH Public Health Student Association


Gamma Theta Chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health


Education (3)

Central Michigan University: D.H.A., Health Administration

Indiana University: M.H.A., Health Administration

Indiana University: B.S., Business Administration

Articles (3)

An Analysis of the Massachusetts Healthcare Law Hospital Topics

James H. Stephens, Gerald R. Ledlow, Michael V. Sach, Julie Reagan


Healthcare in the United States has been one topic of the debates and discussion in the country for many years. The challenge for affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare for most Americans has been on the agenda of federal and state legislatures. There is probably no other state that has drawn as much individual attention regarding this challenge as the state of Massachusetts. While researching the topic for this article, it was discovered that financial and political perspectives on the success or failure of the healthcare model in Massachusetts vary depending on the aspect of the system being discussed. In this article the authors give a brief history and description of the Massachusetts Healthcare Law, explanation of how the law is financed, identification of the targeted populations in Massachusetts for which the law provides coverage, demonstration of the actual benefit coverage provided by the law, and review of the impact of the law on healthcare providers such as physicians and hospitals. In addition, there are explanations about the impact of the law on health insurance companies, discussion of changes in healthcare premiums, explanation of costs to the state for the new program, reviews of the impact on the health of the insured, and finally, projections on the changes that healthcare facilities will need to make to maintain fiscal viability as a result of this program.

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Converting ICD-9 to ICD-10 Hospital Topics

James H. Stephens, Gerald R. Ledlow, Thomas V. Fockler


Implementing the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) to International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) conversion on October 1, 2015, in the United States has been a long-term goal. While most countries in the world converted more than 10 years ago, the United States was still using ICD-9. Many countries in the world have a single-payer healthcare system, while there are thousands of different healthcare organizations (providers and payers) that presently exist in the United States. With so many different software platforms for healthcare providers and payers, the conversion had become that much more complicated and capital intensive for all healthcare organizations in the country. A few of the present delay reasons to the ICD-10 conversion in past years were the concurrent timelines for meeting meaningful use requirements for the electronic health record, testing with external payers and upgrades from vendors which added complexities and extra costs. The authors examine the reasoning behind the conversion as well as the delays, before making the conversion on October 1, 2015, and review the question regarding whether the government's decision to push the date back a year would have been helpful.

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The Influence of Race on End-of-Life Choices Following a Counselor-Based Palliative Consultation American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Kathleen Benton, James H. Stephens, Robert L. Vogel, Gerald R. Ledlow, Carol Babcock, Georgia McCook


Black Americans are more likely than whites to choose aggressive medical care at the end of life. We present a retrospective cohort study of 2843 patients who received a counselor-based palliative care consultation at a large US southeastern hospital. Before the palliative consultation, 72.8% of the patients had no restrictions in care, and only 4.6% had chosen care and comfort only (CCO). After the consult, these choices dramatically changed, with only 17.5% remaining full code and 43.3% choosing CCO. Both before and after palliative consultation, blacks chose more aggressive medical care than whites, but racial differences diminished after the counselor-based consultation. Both African American and white patients and families receiving a counselor-based palliative consultation in the hospital make profound changes in their preferences for life-sustaining treatments.

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