Publications: Vulnerable Populations

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Expanding Public Programs to Cover the Sick and Poor Uninsured

March 15, 2001 - In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis presented a case for expanding existing public health insurance programs to provide coverage for the most vulnerable segments of the nation's uninsured.


Experiences with Hospital Care: Perspectives of Black and Hispanic Patients

September 25, 2009 - Patient focus groups provide further evidence that many health care providers need to learn more about the expectations of their minority patients, these patient' specific needs and preferences, and their satisfaction with care received. In this Commonwealth Fund-supported Study, researchers at conducted focus groups with 37 black and Hispanic men and women to explore racial and ethnic differences in patients' experiences with hospital care.

Literature Abstract

Explaining Disparities in Access to High-Quality Cardiac Surgeons

July 28, 2004 - African Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery were treated by lower-quality surgeons than whites, a study of cardiac patients in New York State finds. Physician referral patterns may be important determinants of where minorities received treatment, the authors say.

In the Literature

Forging Community Partnerships to Improve Health Care: The Experience of Four Medicaid Managed Care Organizations

April 18, 2013 - This issue brief explores how four managed care organizations serving vulnerable populations are changing the way care is delivered by investing in a strong community presence.

Issue Brief

A Framework for Cultural Competency: Measurement and Accountability

October 18, 2006 - In this commentary, Robyn Y. Nishimi, Ph.D., chief operating officer of the National Quality Forum, says it's time to move the cultural competency agenda forward--and that the best way to do that is through measurement and public reporting of performance on this dimension of quality.


Gaining Ground: Care Management Programs to Reduce Hospital Admissions and Readmissions Among Chronically Ill and Vulnerable Patients

January 23, 2013 - Preventable hospital admissions and readmissions are indicators of health system fragmentation associated with suboptimal patient outcomes and avoidable costs of care. This synthesis report looks at three case studies that illustrate the potential of care management programs to address this problem by improving care coordination and transitions among high-risk patients.

Case Study

Getting and Keeping Coverage: States' Experience with Citizenship Documentation Rules

January 12, 2009 - A new Commonwealth Fund report examines the impact recent citizenship documentation rules have had on the stability of health insurance coverage for low-income children covered by state public programs. It finds that getting and keeping coverage has become more difficult for many families.

Fund Report

Guiding Transformation: How Medical Practices Can Become Patient-Centered Medical Homes

February 27, 2012 - The patient-centered medical home has been proposed as a model for transforming primary care and improving efficiency and effectiveness in the health care system. This report outlines and describes the changes that most medical practices would need to make to become patient-centered medical homes.

Fund Report

Health Care Disconnect: Gaps in Coverage and Care for Minority Adults: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey (2005)

August 1, 2006 - Uninsured rates for Hispanic and African American adults are up to three times greater than the rate for white adults, according to new analysis of the Fund's Biennial Health Insurance Survey.

Issue Brief

Health Care in the Two Americas: Findings from the Scorecard on State Health System Performance for Low-Income Populations, 2013

September 18, 2013 - The Commonwealth Fund's Scorecard on State Health System Performance for Low-Income Populations, 2013, identifies opportunities for states to improve their health systems for economically disadvantaged populations and provides state benchmarks of achievement.

Fund Report

Health Care Opinion Leaders' Views on Vulnerable Populations in the U.S. Health System

August 8, 2011 - Virtually all leaders in health care and health care policy believe traditional safety-net institutions such as community health centers, public hospitals, and faith-based and mission-driven organizations will still fulfill critical roles in the U.S. health system after implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to a Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey.

Data Brief

Health Concerns Across a Woman's Lifespan: The Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women's Health

May 5, 1999 - The Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women's Health reveals that while more women are receiving preventive care and taking better care of their health, they are still experiencing alarmingly high rates of violence and abuse, and many continue to have difficulties obtaining quality health care.

Fund Report

Health Insurance: A Family Affair

May 1, 2001 - This report suggests that expanding Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage to parents as well as children may not only decrease the number of uninsured Americans but may be the best way to cover more uninsured children.

Fund Report

Health Insurance Tax Credits: Will They Work for Women?

January 1, 2003 - This analysis of premium and benefit quotes for individual health plans offered in 25 cities finds that tax credits at the level of those in recent proposals would not be enough to make health insurance affordable to women with low incomes.

Fund Report

Health Literacy Practices in Primary Care Settings: Examples From the Field

January 11, 2008 - Low health literacy is widespread among U.S. patients. A new Commonwealth Fund report identifies a number of practical steps that health care providers can take to combat the problem.

Fund Report