The Commonwealth Fund Connection

The Commonwealth Fund Connection is as a roundup of recent Fund publications, charts, multimedia, and other timely content. 

Health Reform Proposals Have Potential to Help More Than 13 Million Uninsured Young Adults Gain Coverage
Comprehensive health reform proposals now before Congress could help the more than 13 million uninsured young adults ages 19–29 gain coverage, and such reforms would also help ensure that those who now have coverage would not lose it, according to a new Commonwealth Fund issue brief. Extending health insurance coverage to all Americans through expansions in Medicaid and a health insurance exchange with a choice of private and public plans would help guarantee stable, affordable coverage for young adults. Also listen to Keeping Young Adults Insured, the latest episode of "New Directions in Health Care: The Commonwealth Fund Podcast."
Karen Davis Honored by HFMA Board
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Board of Directors has honored Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis with its annual Board of Directors Award. The award was presented during the 2009 Annual National Institute: The Healthcare Finance Conference, held June 15–17 in Seattle.
The Commonwealth Fund on Facebook and Twitter
Stay in touch with The Commonwealth Fund. Become a Facebook fan at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Commonwealth-Fund/102047517918 or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/commonwealthfnd.
Comparative Effectiveness Research and Evidence-Based Decision-Making Across Four Countries: The U.K., Germany, France, and Australia

A new series of Commonwealth Fund issue briefs looks at the agencies that conduct evidence-based evaluations of health care benefits in four countries, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, and France. These institutes are designed to ensure countries are getting the best possible value for the money spent and to help health care providers improve their clinical practice. The issue briefs are: 

Also available is a series of videos featuring comparative-effectiveness experts from these four nations: former Harkness fellow Kalipso Chalkidou, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Policy Consulting, U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE); Sir Michael Rawlins, Chairman of NICE; Professor Emeritus Lloyd Sansom, AO, Chair, the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC); Laurent Degos, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, the French National Authority for Health (Haute Autorité de Santé, or HAS); and Peter Sawicki, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Germany's Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care.

Another Fund study released last month asks if the time has come for cost-effectiveness analysis in U.S. health care. It finds that three-quarters of key decision-makers from a diverse group of California-based health care organizations believe that cost-effectiveness criteria should be used when making insurance coverage decisions. However, payers and the legal and policy communities would need to explore ways of reducing the litigation risk associated with cost-effectiveness analysis, the authors say.

Emergency Department Operations in Top-Performing Safety-Net Hospitals
This Commonwealth Fund report profiles five safety-net hospitals that made improvements to curb emergency department crowding, reduce long waits, and lower the number of hours spent on ambulance diversion.
Health Care Opinion Leaders' Views on Health Reform
By a wide margin, health care leaders believe that individuals should have a choice of public and private health plans, finds the new Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey. The respondents also strongly support other central components of health reform, such as innovative provider payment reform and a national insurance health exchange with strong standard-setting authority. Read the data brief for more survey results. And for two perspectives on the findings, read the commentaries by Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Michael C. Burgess (R-Tex.).
High-Deductible Health Insurance Plans: Efforts to Sharpen a Blunt Instrument
Americans enrolled in deductible-based health insurance plans are more likely than those with no deductible to alter their care-seeking behavior, according to a Commonwealth Fund-supported survey. Complex benefits design plays a role, the authors say.