The Commonwealth Fund Connection

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

  • May 22, 2009 Issue
Webinar Today: How Physicians Can Help Achieve Health Reform
Health reform will be good for physicians and patients, say three leading experts in health reform and policy in a New England Journal of Medicine "Perspectives" column published online this week. Join the authors—Elliott S. Fisher, M.D., M.P.H., of the Darthmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Donald M. Berwick, M.D., M.P.P., of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and Karen Davis, Ph.D., of The Commonwealth Fund— today at 11 a.m., E.D.T., to hear them discuss in more detail health care policies that can improve quality, delivery, and payment, as well as cost-saving measures that can help finance coverage for the uninsured. A question-and-answer period will follow the panelists' presentations. To register for this free one-hour online meeting, go to
Women at Risk: Why Many Women Are Forgoing Needed Health Care
Rising health care costs coupled with eroding health care benefits are having a substantial effect on Americans' ability to get needed health care, with women particularly affected. This study finds that women experience cost-related access problems and medical bill problems more often than men. Also available is the latest episode of New Directions in Health Care: The Commonwealth Fund Podcast, "Why Women Aren't Getting the Health Care They Need."
Meeting Enrollees' Needs: How Do Medicare and Employer Coverage Stack Up?
A new Commonwealth Fund report creates profiles of those with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) during the three years before and after SSDI entry to illustrate changes in insurance status, health care access, and utilization. An accompanying "Perspectives on Health Reform" essay by Commonwealth Fund Assistant Vice President Stuart Guterman and Program Assistant Heather Drake examines how the two-year waiting period that disabled people must endure before they are eligible to begin receiving Medicare benefits can lead to difficulty accessing needed care and financial pressure.
Physicians Spend $31 Billion Annually on Interaction with Health Insurance Plans
A Commonwealth Fund-supported survey found that physician practices spent on average nearly three weeks annually interacting with health plans, at an estimated annual cost to practices of $31 billion, or $68,274 per physician, per year. Another Fund-supported study found that billing and insurance tasks in a large medical group practice consume $85,276 per full-time-equivalent physician—10 percent of operating revenue. Standardizing health plan benefits and billing procedures would reduce administrative complexity and costs, the authors said.
Transforming into a Medical Home
Early findings from a Commonwealth Fund-supported evaluation of a two-year demonstration conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians suggest that practices can successfully be transformed into patient-centered medical homes, but that such transformations require more money, time, and doctor and technology support than are currently invested by many demonstrations.
Making Care Coordination a Critical Component of the Pediatric Health System: A Multidisciplinary Framework
This Commonwealth Fund report proposes a framework for care coordination in a high-performing pediatric health care system. It defines care coordination, outlines key characteristics, competencies, and functions, and describes a detailed process for its delivery.
Valley Hospital: Leaders Set the Tone for Patient Service and Satisfaction
At Valley Hospital in New Jersey, hospital leaders exemplify on a daily basis the hospital's dedication to patient service. This case study looks at leadership strategies that contribute to high patient satisfaction.
Quality of Child Health: Expanding the Scope and Flexibility of Measurement Approaches
This Commonwealth Fund issue brief proposes a measurement framework for comprehensive well-child care to capture a richer view of children's health care and take a more efficient approach to data collection.
Long-Term Care Health Information Technology Summit
Join this leading conference on health IT from June 8 to 9 at the Baltimore Airport Marriott Hotel. On June 8, at 11:15 a.m., Assistant Vice President Mary Jane Koren, M.D., M.P.H., will participate in "The Current State—An Update on Key Priorities and Progress," a session summarizing long-term care and health IT standards, certification, and research milestones, and more.
Building Bridges: Making a Difference in Long-Term Care 2009 Colloquium
Join the sixth annual colloquium, sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund and conducted by AcademyHealth, on Saturday, June 27, at the Hilton Chicago. The event will feature presentations by Howard Gleckman of The Urban Institute and Haiden Huskamp, Ph.D., and David Stevenson, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School. Both presentations will be followed by a panel discussion featuring distinguished long-term care practitioners and policy experts, as well as table discussions among participants.
Health Services Impact Award

AcademyHealth has issued a call for nominations for the fourth annual Health Services Research Impact Award, which recognizes outstanding research that has been successfully translated into health policy, management, or clinical practice and, as a result, has had a positive impact on health and health care.

The lead researcher of the winning impact will receive $2,000, and the research will be disseminated widely as part of AcademyHealth's ongoing efforts to promote the field of health services research. The deadline for nominations is July 30, 2008. For more information on eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and application details, visit AcademyHealth at

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