Publications: Medicare

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Medicare's Quality Improvement Organization Program Value in Nursing Homes

August 2, 2007 - A new study looking at QIOs' work with nursing homes suggests that, based on measurable improvements in residents' quality of life, the QIO program is a sound investment of health care dollars.

In the Literature

The Commonwealth Fund/National Opinion Research Center Survey of Retiree Health Benefits, 2005: A Chartbook

July 19, 2007 - A chartbook from The Commonwealth Fund and the National Opinion Research Center offers a window into the state of retiree health benefits in the U.S.


The Inverse Relationship Between Mortality Rates and Performance in the Hospital Quality Alliance Measures

July 16, 2007 - If the lowest-performing U.S. hospitals performed as well as top-performers on specific quality measures, 2,200 fewer Americans would die each year, according to a new Fund-supported study.

In the Literature

Use of Health Services by Previously Uninsured Medicare Beneficiaries

July 12, 2007 - A new Commonwealth Fund-supported study by Harvard Medical School researchers finds that chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries who were previously uninsured used health services more intensively and required costlier care compared with their previously insured counterparts.

In the Literature

Estimating the Effects of Prescription Drug Coverage for Medicare Beneficiaries

June 20, 2007 - Medicare Part D was enacted to subsidize the costs of prescription drugs for millions of Medicare beneficiaries. But, in doing so, the new benefit raises serious questions about costs and utilization--namely, how prescription drug coverage affects drug use and what the impact is on subsequent costs.

In the Literature

Testimony on Enhancing Value in Medicare: Chronic Care Initiatives to Improve the Program

June 11, 2007 - In his May 2007 testimony before the U.S. Senate, the Fund's Stuart Guterman reviewed Medicare's initiatives to improve care for beneficiaries with chronic conditions.


Improving the Medicare Part D Program for the Most Vulnerable Beneficiaries

May 24, 2007 - A new Commonwealth Fund report looks at some of the challenges faced by vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries and makes specific recommendations to strengthen Part D.

Fund Report

Too Sick to Work, Too Soon for Medicare: The Human Cost of the Two-Year Medicare Waiting Period for Americans with Disabilities

April 11, 2007 - Americans under age 65 who have severe and permanent disabilities must wait two years after receiving their first disability benefit check before they are eligible for Medicare coverage. In a new Fund report by researchers at the Medicare Rights Center, 21 individuals struggling to survive the waiting period tell their stories of financial hardship, pain, and suffering.

Fund Report

Language Barriers to Health Care Access Among Medicare Beneficiaries

February 27, 2007 - There has been relatively little research documenting the health-related language barriers facing older adults. This Fund-supported study finds that Medicare beneficiaries with limited English proficiency are less likely than those who are proficient in English to have access to a consistent source of care and less likely to receive important preventive care.

In the Literature

Physician-Patient Communication About Prescription Medication Nonadherence: A 50-State Study of America's Seniors

February 13, 2007 - According to survey results published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, many seniors are not talking to their physicians about problems they are having with prescription medications, including side effects and costs.

In the Literature

State Pharmacy Assistance Programs: A Chartbook--Updated and Revised

February 1, 2007 - A newly updated and revised Fund chartbook documents the pre-Part D landscape of state pharmacy assistance programs, providing an important baseline for assessing states' evolving role and the impact of future policy choices.


Enhancing Value in Medicare: Demonstrations and Other Initiatives to Improve the Program

February 1, 2007 - Medicare is undertaking a number of demonstrations aimed at improving the quality and coordination of services provided to its beneficiaries. A new Commonwealth Fund report examines Medicare's efforts to play a more active role in ensuring that it purchases appropriate, high-quality, and efficient health care for its beneficiaries.

Fund Report

Medicare Physician Group Practices: Innovations in Quality and Efficiency

December 1, 2006 - Medicare's first pay-for-performance initiative for physicians, the Physician Group Practice Demonstration, is showing promise, a new Fund report finds. Participating practices are responding to financial incentives for both quality improvement and cost containment.

Fund Report

The Cost of Privatization: Extra Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans--Updated and Revised

November 30, 2006 - Payments to private Medicare Advantage plans in 2005 averaged 12.4 percent more per enrollee compared to what it would have cost in the fee-for-service program. The authors of a new Fund issue brief say these extra payments could instead be used to close the prescription drug coverage gap or reduce premiums.

Issue Brief

Developing a Center for Comparative Effectiveness Information

November 7, 2006 - Creating a center to compare the effectiveness of drug treatments and medical procedures could stem the rising tide of health care costs and help health plans, hospitals, and public health programs "spend smarter" on health care, a new Fund-supported study finds.

In the Literature