In Remembrance: Robert B. Fetter Died on July 15 2018

Robert B. Fetter passed away on July 15, 2018, at the age of 94. He taught at Yale for 31 years and was the Harold H. Hines Jr. Professor of Health Care Management. Fetter is widely recognized (with John Thompson of the Yale School of Public Health) for conceiving, developing, and implementing Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), for which he was awarded the Baxter Foundation Prize in Health Service Research. He was the author of many publications, including the seminal textbook (with E. H. Bowman) in operations research. 

DRGs were adopted as a payment system for acute hospitals by Medicare in 1983. This patient classification system gave hospitals financial incentives to increase their efficiency and improve quality. Since then, twelve European countries and Australia have developed their own versions of DRGs. 

Fetter and his colleagues extended their research into other sectors such as ambulatory care and skilled nursing. Their efforts led to numerous other prospective payment systems that are used by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers. 

Fetter was an early advocate for the Yale School of Management in the 1970s, whose MBA program began in 1999.

He leaves as survivors his wife Audrey ’80MPH, his daughter Sarah Fetter Robinson, and another daughter, Martha Fetter Austin ’88MBA.

—Submitted by the family.

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