Publications: Health Care Quality

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Medicare’s Policy to Limit Payment for Hospital-Acquired Conditions: The Impact on Safety Net Providers

September 21, 2011 - A Medicare policy limiting reimbursements to hospitals for treating certain avoidable hospital-acquired conditions will be expanded to Medicaid in 2011. Because safety-net hospitals have higher rates of hospital-acquired conditions than non–safety-net hospitals and therefore are more likely to face monetary penalties, the Commonwealth Fund-supported authors of this article find that policymakers should be cautious when expanding the policy in order to avoid harming these hospitals.

In Brief

The Veterans Health Administration: Implementing Patient-Centered Medical Homes in the Nation's Largest Integrated Delivery System

September 13, 2011 - In 2010, the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VA) launched a program to create patient-centered medical homes in more than 900 primary care clinics over a three-year period. This case study examines the VA's initiative and profiles implementation efforts in two clinics, one in Memphis, Tennessee, and another in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Case Study

Medical Group Responses to Global Payment: Early Lessons from the "Alternative Quality Contract" in Massachusetts

September 8, 2011 - In the new issue of Health Affairs, researchers report on a new alternative to fee-for-service payment being tried by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Starting in 2009, participating health care providers that sign up for the Alternative Quality Contract receive fixed payments for patient care, plus rewards based on savings generated and performance targets reached.

In the Literature

Mortality Amenable to Health Care in the United States: The Roles of Demographics and Health Systems Performance

August 29, 2011 - In a study in the Journal of Public Health Policy, former Commonwealth Fund executive vice president Stephen Schoenbaum and colleagues examined amenable mortality across the United States, finding associations between amenable mortality and poverty and race, as well as health system-related indicators like hospital readmission rates.

In the Literature

How Well Can We Identify the High-Performing Hospital?

August 24, 2011 - To better identify high-performing hospitals, Commonwealth Fund-supported examination researchers delved into composite measures of performance to see how hospitals performed on each of the individual component measures and on survey-based measures of patient care quality.

In Brief

Building Collaborative Capacity: Promoting Interdisciplinary Teamwork in the Absence of Formal Teams

August 23, 2011 - Focusing on nine hospitals and seven health systems in upstate New York, the authors surveyed a total 1,527 hospital staff about team structure and collaboration.

In Brief

Effect of Financial Incentives on Incentivized and Non-Incentivized Clinical Activities: Longitudinal Analysis of Data from the UK Quality and Outcomes Framework

August 23, 2011 - The authors of the Commonwealth Fund-supported study in BMJ compared changes in provider performance on measures that were part of the United Kingdom's Quality and Outcomes Framework incentive program.

In Brief

A Framework for Engaging Physicians in Quality and Safety

August 23, 2011 - This Commonwealth Fund-supported study sought to identify the strategies used by top-performing hospitals that have successfully engaged doctors in quality and safety programs.

In Brief

Quality of Care in the U.S. Territories

August 23, 2011 - This Commonwealth Fund-supported study found that in the U.S. territories, patients receive lower-quality care for the three conditions, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia, indicating there are substantial opportunities for improvement.

In Brief

Primary Health Care in Canada: Systems in Motion

August 23, 2011 - This Commonwealth Fund-supported study of primary care in Canada suggest that primary care can be transformed through a voluntary, incremental process in which government and private, professional leaders collaborate.

In Brief

Association Between Waiting Times and Short Term Mortality and Hospital Admission After Departure from Emergency Department: Population Based Cohort Study from Ontario, Canada

August 23, 2011 - This Commonwealth Fund-supported study found that patients who visited emergency departments during shifts with longer waiting times were at increased risk of death and admission in the subsequent seven days, regardless of their health status at the time of the initial visit.

In Brief

Scorecards for Health System Performance Assessment: The New Zealand Example

August 23, 2011 - The Commonwealth Fund-supported authors of this study developed a scorecard for assessing the performance of New Zealand’s health system.

In Brief

How Health Care Organizations Are Using Data on Patients' Race and Ethnicity to Improve Quality of Care

August 22, 2011 - In this study, former Harkness fellow Ruth Thorlby, M.Sc., and colleagues conclude that a lack of common standards governing the collection, analysis, and use of racial and ethnic data may hamper the ability of health care organizations to design programs that effectively address inequities in patient care.

In the Literature

Increasing EHR Use for Quality Improvement in Community Health Centers: The Role of Networks

August 22, 2011 - In this Commonwealth Fund issue brief, researchers describe how networks helped community health centers to use EHRs to improve chronic and preventive care and the barriers they faced.

Issue Brief

Key Design Elements of Shared-Savings Payment Arrangements

August 16, 2011 - For this Commonwealth Fund issue brief, the authors interviewed payer and provider organizations and state agencies involved in shared-savings arrangements about their approaches, including the populations and services covered, the assignment of providers, the use of risk adjustment, and the way savings are calculated and distributed.

Issue Brief