The Commonwealth Fund Connection

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

  • November 6, 2009 Issue
International Survey: U.S. Lags in Access, Quality, Use of Health IT

A new Commonwealth Fund survey of primary care physicians in 11 countries reveals that the United States lags far behind other countries in key areas of access, quality, and use of health information technology—undermining doctors' efforts to provide timely, high-quality care.

Also visit the new Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Data Center, where you can browse content by country or topic and create custom tables and charts using data from our international health policy surveys from 2006 to 2009.

Health Care Opinion Leaders Views on Health Reform
In the latest Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey, experts in health care and health policy say they favor strengthening Medicare's ability to help control program costs and support broader health system reform. For two perspectives on the findings, read commentaries by former Medicare administrators Bruce Vladeck, Ph.D., a senior adviser at Nexera, a subsidiary of the Greater New York Hospital Association, and Gail Wilensky, Ph.D., a senior fellow at Project HOPE.
The Comprehensive Congressional Health Reform Bills of 2009: A Look at Health Insurance, Delivery System, and Financing Provisions
This Commonwealth Fund report—recently updated to reflect the merged House bill—analyzes the similarities, differences, potential impacts, and costs of the three comprehensive health reform bills passed by key U.S. congressional committees. Also see interactive tables for side-by-side comparisons of the system reform and insurance provisions.
Health Care Affordability and Quality on The Commonwealth Fund Blog
In an Oct. 28 blog post on affordability, Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis looked at the differences in the provisions of the bills that affect premiums and out-of-pocket costs for individuals, families, and employers.

In a Nov. 5 blog post, Commonwealth Fund senior research advisor Douglas McCarthy, the lead author of Aiming Higher: Results from a State Scorecard on Health System Performance, 2009, says the 2009 State Scorecard shows that in areas of health system performance where the nation has made a commitment to reporting and improving performance, we see dramatic improvements. McCarthy suggests ways to make such improvements the norm across all areas of health care.
Newsletters: Purchasing High Performance and States in Action
The second issue of Purchasing High Performance, a newsletter designed for employers and coalitions seeking value in health care and sponsored by the National Business Coalition on Health and The Commonwealth Fund, was published this week. The issue includes articles on health reform, defining the patient-centered medical home, designing effective copay plans, and more.

The October/November issue of States in Action, also released this week, explores the range of state health IT efforts, federal grants and other support for health IT, and challenges and lessons from state experiences.
Using Insurance Standards and Policy Levers to Build a High Performance Health System
This Commonwealth Fund issue brief examines an unprecedented use of state health insurance regulatory authority to promote health system reform. In Rhode Island, regulators have used this authority to implement a set of standards to promote affordability through requirements aimed at strengthening and expanding the state's primary care infrastructure.
State Hospital Rate-Setting Revisited
In an attempt to control rapid growth in hospital costs, beginning in the mid-1970s seven states implemented rate-setting programs to regulate hospital payments. Although all but two have since been discontinued, the states' experiences, highlighted in this Commonwealth Fund issue brief, offer lessons for policymakers as they continue searching for ways to control rising health care costs.
The Commonwealth Fund's Quality Improvement Resource
Go to to find easily accessible, up-to-date comparative data and resources on health care performance for providers, researchers, and other professionals.
Frontline's "Sick Around the World"
Four in five Americans say the U.S. health care system needs "fundamental" change. In a rebroadcast this week of a Commonwealth Fund-supported episode, Frontline correspondent T.R. Reid examines first-hand the health care systems of other advanced capitalist democracies—the U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and Taiwan—to see what tried and tested ideas might help us reform our broken health care system. See for local listings.

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