The Commonwealth Fund Connection

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

Pursuing the 'Triple Aim': New Case Studies from The Commonwealth Fund

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Triple Aim initiative seeks to help health care organizations achieve three objectives: improve the health of patients, enhance their experiences of care—including access to care, quality, and reliability—and reduce, or at least control, the per capita cost of care.

A new case study series from The Commonwealth Fund shows how three diverse organizations are transforming how they deliver care in pursuit of the Triple Aim. They include:

  • CareOregon, a nonprofit managed health care plan serving low-income Medicaid enrollees;
  • Genesys Health System, a nonprofit integrated delivery system in Flint, Michigan; and
  • QuadMed, a Wisconsin-based subsidiary of printer Quad/Graphics that develops and manages worksite health clinics and wellness programs.

In an overview of the series, Douglas McCarthy, coauthor of the case studies and senior research advisor to The Commonwealth Fund, explains that while the three organizations take different paths to the Triple Aim, they are building strong partnerships with individual care providers and community organizations to evaluate whether resources are being optimally deployed to meet population needs, including improved care coordination, chronic disease management, and preventive health.

Health Insurance Exchanges and the Affordable Care Act
Health insurance exchanges are the centerpiece of the private insurance reforms in the Affordable Care Act. If the exchanges function as planned, they will expand coverage to more Americans, reduce insurance costs, and improve the quality of coverage and perhaps of health care itself. In a new report and blog post, Timothy Jost, professor of law at Washington and Lee University, outlines key policy issues for administrators at the Department of Health and Human Services and state policymakers as they implement the law and seek to avoid the problems that have undermined exchanges in the past.
Case Studies of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Systems
A new report examines efforts in Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to develop mental health systems of early identification and intervention for children from birth to age 5. While each state is in a different stage of development, together they provide a picture of progress and opportunities for national change in this evolving area of health care.
State Roles in Delivery System Reforms
From prevention and wellness programs to payment reform and quality measurement, states can make their health care systems more efficient and effective, leading to cost containment and better outcomes for state residents. This report, published by the National Governors Association with support from The Commonwealth Fund, explores various ways in which governors can promote health system reforms.
Commonwealth Fund Blog: How the ACA Will Help Low- and Moderate-Income Families
In a new blog post, Commonwealth Fund vice president Sara Collins explores how the Affordable Care Act will bring affordable, comprehensive health coverage to low- and moderate-income families. Such families are often left out of the health insurance system: "While most people in the U.S. have health insurance through an employer," Collins says, "the chances of having job-based benefits decline dramatically with income." Beginning in 2014, many of these families will gain coverage through a substantial expansion in Medicaid eligibility and the availability of subsidized private insurance.
Hospital Infection Data Now Available on WhyNotTheBest.org
Users of The Commonwealth Fund's performance benchmarking site, WhyNotTheBest.org, can now search for and compare data from more than 900 hospitals on the incidence of central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs)—one of the most lethal hospital-acquired complications. The data show wide variation in CLABSI incidence, in spite of strong evidence on how to prevent them. They are available on WhyNotTheBest.org through a partnership among The Commonwealth Fund, The Leapfrog Group, and Consumers Union. Click here for information on how to locate hospitals reporting CLABSI data.
Annual Report
In The Commonwealth Fund's latest Annual Report, President Karen Davis discusses how the Fund marshaled its resources to produce timely and rigorous work that helped lay the groundwork for the historic Affordable Care Act. And in his essay, Executive Vice President and COO John E. Craig, Jr., explores the effects of the financial crisis on foundation endowments and offers lessons that could help boards and investment committees responsible for foundation endowments avoid mistakes going forward. Also learn about activities of the Commission on a High Performance Health System and recent projects supported by the Fund's programs.
2011–12 Harkness Fellowships Open to Applicants

The Commonwealth Fund's 2011–12 Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice are open to applicants from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The deadline for receipt of applications is September 13, 2010.

The Harkness Fellowships provide a unique opportunity for mid-career professionals—academic researchers, government policymakers, clinicians, managers, and journalists—to spend up to 12 months in the United States conducting a policy-oriented research study, working with leading U.S. health policy experts and gaining in-depth knowledge of not only the U.S. health care system, but also the health care systems in the fellows' home countries. For details and the application form, please visit http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Fellowships/Harkness-Fellowships.aspx.

2011–12 Australian-American Health Policy Fellowship Open to Applicants

On behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, The Commonwealth Fund is pleased to announce the 2011–12 Australian-American Health Policy Fellowship. The deadline for receipt of applications is August 15, 2010.

The fellowship offers a unique opportunity for outstanding, mid-career U.S. professionals—academics, government officials, clinical leaders, decision-makers in managed care and other private health care organizations, and journalists—to spend up to 10 months in Australia conducting research and working with leading Australian health policy experts on issues relevant to both countries. For further information and to obtain an application, please see http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Fellowships/Australian-American-Health-Policy-Fellowships.aspx.