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Higher Readmissions at Safety-Net Hospitals and Potential Policy Solutions

December 10, 2012 - This new Commonwealth Fund analysis uses publicly reported 30-day hospital readmission rate data to examine whether safety-net hospitals are more likely to have higher readmission rates, compared with other hospitals.

Issue Brief

Hospital Implementation of Health Information Technology and Quality of Care: Are They Related?

November 30, 2012 - This Commonwealth Fund-supported study found that when hospitals implement robust health information technology systems, they improved their performance on key quality-of-care measures.

In Brief

Electronic Health Records and Ambulatory Quality of Care

November 30, 2012 - Commonwealth Fund–supported researchers compared the quality of care provided by primary care physicians who used electronic medical records with those who relied instead on paper records.

In Brief

High-Performance Health Care for Vulnerable Populations: A Policy Framework for Promoting Accountable Care in Medicaid

November 16, 2012 - This report explores how state Medicaid agencies might align with and build on the Medicare Shared Savings Program, which rewards groups of providers that meet cost and quality benchmarks by working together to coordinate patients' care in accountable care organizations.

Fund Report

University of California, San Francisco Medical Center: Reducing Readmissions Through Heart Failure Care Management

November 14, 2012 - In 2008, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center embarked on a grant-funded program to reduce hospital readmissions for elderly patients with heart failure. This case study examines the factors that contributed to its success.

Case Study

Off the Hamster Wheel? Qualitative Evaluation of a Payment-Linked Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Pilot

November 13, 2012 - While there is broad agreement on the general concepts defining patient-centered medical homes, little is known about physician practices' on-the-ground experiences. In this Commonwealth Fund–supported study, researchers examined five practices engaged in efforts to become medical homes. All five practices received a risk-adjusted base payment per patient per month to support their efforts.

In Brief

The Influence of Hospice Use on Nursing Home and Hospital Use in Assisted Living Among Dual-Eligible Enrollees

November 13, 2012 - In this study, Commonwealth Fund–supported researchers examined over 12 months the outcomes of assisted living residents who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, seeking to determine the association of hospice use with nursing home and hospital admission.

In Brief

Interpretations of Integration in Early Accountable Care Organizations

November 13, 2012 - In this qualitative study, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, researchers interviewed 114 physicians and managers in four nascent accountable care organizations (ACOs), conducted site visits, and reviewed documents to explore how those forming ACOs envision integration with other provider groups.

In Brief

Insights from Transformations Under Way at Four Brookings–Dartmouth Accountable Care Organization Pilot Sites

November 6, 2012 - This study in Health Affairs examines the experiences of four early adopters of the accountable care organization (ACO) model.

In the Literature

Physicians with the Least Experience Have Higher Cost Profiles Than Do Physicians with the Most Experience

November 5, 2012 - With Commonwealth Fund support, the authors of this paper analyzed the cost profiles of physicians in Massachusetts to ascertain whether some physician types are more costly than others.

In Brief

A Framework for Evaluating the Formation, Implementation, and Performance of Accountable Care Organizations

November 5, 2012 - In their Commonwealth Fund–supported study, Dartmouth researchers analyzed early tracking data to identify the factors affecting ACOs' development and success and then proposed a model for structuring an evaluation framework for these new health care organizations.

In Brief

About Half of the States Are Implementing Patient-Centered Medical Homes for Their Medicaid Populations

November 5, 2012 - Half of state Medicaid programs are taking new approaches to provider payment—focusing on chronically ill populations, using shared teams, aligning payments with national quality standards, and implementing shared-savings programs—to help primary care practices become patient-centered medical homes for their low-income patients.

In the Literature

Can Sustainable Hospitals Help Bend the Health Care Cost Curve?

November 2, 2012 - Can the nation's hospitals "go green" and save money in the process? According to a new study, the adoption of a range of environmentally sustainable policies by the health care sector could yield in excess of $5.4 billion in savings over five years, and $15 billion over a decade.

Issue Brief

Health Care in the 2012 Presidential Election: How the Obama and Romney Plans Stack Up

October 2, 2012 - With President Obama and Governor Romney offering fundamentally different visions for the nation's health system, the presidential election provides a stark choice for U.S. voters. This analysis contrasts the potential impact of implementing the Affordable Care Act in full with Romney’s proposals to repeal the law, eliminate many of the new requirements for insurance markets, and make changes in Medicaid and Medicare.

Fund Report

Testimony—The Future of Medicare: Converting to Premium Support or Continuing as a Guaranteed Benefit Program

October 2, 2012 - In invited testimony before the House of Representatives Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis discussed two approaches to sustaining Medicare, the vital public insurance program for seniors and disabled Americans.