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Escape Fire: Lessons for the Future of Health Care

November 1, 2002 - In this 2002 book, Don Berwick, M.D., the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, outlines the problems with the health care system--medical errors, confusing and inconsistent information, and a lack of personal attention and continuity in care--and then sketches an ambitious program for reform.


Multinational Comparisons of Health Systems Data, 2002

October 1, 2002 - This chartbook uses data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to compare the performance of health care systems in eight countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


Reasons and Strategies for Strengthening Childhood Development Services in the Healthcare System

October 1, 2002 - Low-income children are far more likely than their counterparts to be at-risk for poor developmental outcomes. Fortunately, early investments in young children and their families can make a significant and long-term impact on child well-being and academic success and can reduce the need for more costly interventions.

Fund Report

Cultural Competence in Health Care: Emerging Frameworks and Practical Approaches

October 1, 2002 - This field report spotlights a diverse group of health care organizations striving to improve access to and quality of care for a growing minority and immigrant population through innovative programs that develop minority leadership, promote community involvement, and increase awareness of the social and cultural factors that affect health beliefs and behaviors.

Fund Report

The Role of the Asset Test in Targeting Benefits for Medicare Savings Programs

October 1, 2002 - This report outlines steps that states are taking to modify the Medicare Savings Programs asset tests to ensure that the neediest beneficiaries receive financial assistance.

Fund Report

Medicare vs. Private Insurance: Rhetoric and Reality

October 1, 2002 - Findings from The Commonwealth Fund 2001 Health Insurance Survey show that Medicare outperforms private sector plans in terms of patients' satisfaction with quality of care, access to care, and overall insurance ratings.

In the Literature

Medicare+Choice After Five Years: Lessons for Medicare's Future

September 30, 2002 - This field report argues that, five years later, Medicare+Choice has not become what program proponents had envisioned. While it was originally forecast that program enrollment would rise to 34 percent of total Medicare enrollment by 2005, the enrollment has now fallen from its 1997 level of 14 percent to just 13 percent.

Fund Report

Primary Care Services: Promoting Optimal Child Development from Birth to Three Years

September 1, 2002 - This report defines and examines the evidence for the effectiveness of health services specifically targeted at promoting optimal development in children from birth to three years of age. The services reviewed are provided in general pediatric settings as part of routine well-child care and health supervision.

Fund Report

Medicare's Disabled Beneficiaries: The Forgotten Population in the Debate Over Drug Benefits

September 1, 2002 - The nation's 5 million disabled Medicare beneficiaries under age 65 face a daunting combination of low income, poor health status, heavy prescription drug use, and high medication bills.

Fund Report

Partnering with Parents to Promote the Healthy Development of Young Children Enrolled in Medicaid

September 1, 2002 - This report presents results from a survey assessing the quality of preventive and developmental services for young children enrolled in Medicaid in three states—Carolina, Vermont, and Washington.

Fund Report

Financial Performance of Academic Health Center Hospitals, 1994-2000

September 1, 2002 - According to the authors, in 2000, academic health center (AHC) hospitals and major teaching hospitals ran at an operating loss, with margins of -1.4 percent and -2.6 percent, respectively. Moreover, the financial performance of AHC hospitals and major teaching hospitals has declined more sharply since 1996 than at other hospitals.

Fund Report

Employer Health Coverage in the Empire State: An Uncertain Future

September 1, 2002 - According to this report, the combination of a weak economy, higher unemployment, and rising health care costs is placing pressure on New York State employers to eliminate or scale back health benefits for workers, their dependents, and retirees.

Fund Report

Medicare+Choice in New York City: So Far, So Good?

September 1, 2002 - The relatively successful five-year track record of the M+C program in New York City is due both to payment rates to health plans that are among the highest in the nation and plans' ability to negotiate favorable rates from the city's large supply of competing physicians and hospitals that continue to contract with HMOs. According to the authors, however, four factors indicate that these conditions are likely to change, suggesting future instability in New York City's M+C market.

Fund Report

Geographic Inequity in Medicare+Choice Benefits: Findings from Seven Communities

September 1, 2002 - This field report compares the 2002 benefit packages of Medicare+Choice plans to assess the degree of regional disparities among benefit packages. The authors find wide variations in out-of-pocket costs for Medicare+Choice enrollees depending on where beneficiaries live.

Fund Report

Teaching Hospitals and Quality of Care: A Review of the Literature

September 1, 2002 - The authors review major studies that compare the quality of care in teaching and nonteaching hospitals and conclude that teaching hospitals generally offer better care for common conditions, particularly for conditions affecting elderly patients.

In the Literature