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Innovation in Medicare and Medicaid Will Be Central to Health Reform's Success

June 8, 2010 - In this Health Affairs article, Commonwealth Fund experts offer a series of recommendations for the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which was established by the health reform law to develop innovative ways of providing and paying for care that have the potential to reduce costs while preserving or enhancing quality.

In the Literature

Enhancing the Capacity of Community Health Centers to Achieve High Performance: Findings from the 2009 Commonwealth Fund National Survey of Federally Qualified Health Centers

May 27, 2010 - Community health centers that are closely affiliated with hospitals have fewer difficulties getting their patients appointments for specialty procedures like X-rays, diagnostic tests, and visits with specialist physicians, according to this Commonwealth Fund survey of community health centers.

Fund Report

The Impact of Health Reform on Health System Spending

May 21, 2010 - This updated analysis, coauthored by Harvard University's David Cutler and The Commonwealth Fund's Karen Davis and Kristof Stremikis, projects the effect of national reform on total national health expenditures and the insurance premiums that American families would likely pay.

Issue Brief

The Vermont Accountable Care Organization Pilot: A Community Health System to Control Total Medical Costs and Improve Population Health

May 14, 2010 - An accountable care organization—a model of care being promoted through the new health reform law—is a provider organization that takes on responsibility for meeting the health needs of a defined population, including the total cost of care and the quality and effectiveness of services. This report describes the efforts of three health care provider organizations in Vermont that are planning pilot tests of accountable care organizations, to be launched next year as part of a national learning network.

Fund Report

Norman Regional Health System: A City-Owned Public Trust Dedicated to Improving Performance

April 22, 2010 - This case study describes the strategies and factors that appear to contribute to high adherence to “core” measures at Norman Regional Health System. It is based on information obtained from interviews with key hospital personnel, publicly available information, and materials provided by the hospital during June to October 2009.

Case Study

Lessons from a Health Information Technology Demonstration in New York Nursing Homes

April 13, 2010 - The New York State Nursing Home Health Information Technology Demonstration Project is a publicly subsidized initiative to implement comprehensive, point-of-care electronic medical records in 20 New York City nursing homes. This case study looks at the variations between homes regarding: 1) organizational aims for adapting HIT; 2) the technology’s perceived or real effects; and 3) implementation of quality improvement efforts as a result of newly available data.

Case Study

Walla Walla General Hospital: Setting Staff Up for Success in Pneumonia Care

April 12, 2010 - This case study describes the strategies and factors that appear to contribute to high performance on pneumonia process-of-care measures at Walla Walla General Hospital. It is based on information obtained from interviews with key hospital personnel, publicly available information, and materials provided by the hospital during October through November 2009.

Case Study

The Group Employed Model as a Foundation for Health Care Delivery Reform

April 9, 2010 - With a focus on delivering low-cost, high-quality care, several organizations using the group employed model—with physician groups whose primary and specialty care physicians are salaried or under contract—have been recognized for creating a culture of patient-centeredness and accountability.

Issue Brief

A Guide to Achieving High Performance in Multi-Hospital Health Systems

March 29, 2010 - Through the use of publicly available quality data, interviews with leaders of 45 multi-hospital health systems, and analysis, this report identifies three major themes, four major best practice categories, and 17 specific best practices that are associated with high performance.

Fund Report

Reforming Health Care Delivery Through Payment Change and Transparency: Minnesota's Innovations

March 25, 2010 - This report summarizes Minnesota’s efforts to transform its delivery system, focusing on landmark legislation passed in 2008, but also looking at the many public and private initiatives that preceded its passage. It describes Minnesota's experience to date with developing and implementing these reforms.

Fund Report

The Growing Financial Burden of Health Care: National and State Trends, 2001-2006

March 25, 2010 - The percentage of Americans facing high out-of-pocket health care expenses and insurance premiums continues to increase. In all income brackets, people with private insurance experienced an increase in their health care–related financial burden between 2004 and 2006, with the greatest increase occurring among middle- and higher-income individuals.

In the Literature

How Health Reform Legislation Will Affect Medicare Beneficiaries

March 17, 2010 - This issue brief examines the provisions in the pending legislation and how each one would work to improve benefits, extend the fiscal solvency of the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, reduce pressure on the federal budget, and contribute to moving the health care system toward better access to care.

Issue Brief

Transparency and Public Reporting Are Essential for a Safe Health Care System

March 17, 2010 - What will it take to motivate hospitals to do what we know works to make health care safer? Of the three major approaches to improving patient safety—regulation/accreditation, financial incentives, and public reporting—the most promising is public reporting of performance information and feedback to providers.

Perspectives on Health Reform Brief

Measurement Framework: Evaluating Efficiency Across Patient-Focused Episodes of Care

March 5, 2010 - This consensus report lays the groundwork for a measurement framework that evaluates efficiency, and ultimately value, across patient-focused episodes of care. This framework will help key stakeholders move toward a high-performing healthcare system that is patient-centered, focused on quality, mindful of costs, and vigilant against waste.

Literature Abstract

Medicare Savings Programs: Analyzing Options for Expanding Eligibility

February 25, 2010 - Medicare savings programs are designed to provide financial assistance to Medicare beneficiaries whose income and assets are too high to allow them to qualify for full Medicaid coverage. This article examines policy changes that would expand eligibility by either relaxing resource requirements or increasing the income limit.

In the Literature