The Commonwealth Fund Connection

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

Recommendations for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation
Commonwealth Fund experts offered a series of recommendations this week for the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which was established by the Affordable Care Act to develop innovative ways of providing and paying for care that have the potential to reduce costs while preserving or enhancing quality. In a Health Affairs article, the Fund's Stuart Guterman, Karen Davis, Kristof Stremikis, and Heather Drake stress that the new agency should be inclusive and flexible in developing and implementing payment initiatives and should continuously monitor their impact and rapidly disseminate models that appear to be successful. A related report from the Commonwealth Fund’s Commission on a High Performance Health System recommends several payment innovations that the Center should introduce, such as medical homes, accountable care organizations, and bundled payment.
Small Physician Practices Can Share Resources to Provide Patients with a Medical Home
Patients who have a medical home that ensures easy access to care, open communication with providers, and efficient, well-coordinated services are more likely to receive better care. However, for many small practices, providing all medical home services in-house can be a challenge. In a new Health Affairs article, The Commonwealth Fund's Melinda K. Abrams, Edward L. Schor, and Stephen C. Schoenbaum, present examples of shared resources, recommend ways to ensure their development and dissemination, and suggest organizational and structural changes to practices.
The Future of Patient-Centered Medical Homes
The Journal of General Internal Medicine recently published a series of articles on the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) written with support from The Commonwealth Fund, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. In the articles, leading researchers and thought leaders discuss the key issues that need to be resolved if the PCMH is to gain wider currency in U.S. primary care. The articles include: 

Visit The Commonwealth Fund Blog
Recent blog posts include Karen Davis on the need to test a variety of accountable care organization configurations—from large integrated delivery systems and multispecialty group practices to smaller independent practice organizations and naturally occurring networks—and highlights of Commonwealth Fund survey findings on the capacity of community health centers to serve as medical homes.
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Proposed Changes to NCQA Medical Home Standards Open for Public Comment

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) invites all parties to comment on proposed changes to the Physician Practice Connections–Patient-Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) 2011 standards until June 28. The PCMH 2011 standards build on the strengths of PPC-PCMH. They apply to the full spectrum of practice configurations, from small to large, and from electronically enabled to paper-based, in a variety of practice locations and for newly applying practices, as well as for those seeking renewal of recognition.

Go to http://www.ncqa.org/tabid/1196/Default.aspx to comment on the PCMH 2011 update.

AHCJ Media Fellowships on Health Performance

The Commonwealth Fund is pleased to announce the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) Media Fellowships on Health Performance, a 10-month program enabling mid-career journalists to pursue a significant reporting project examining health care systems. With Commonwealth Fund support, reporters attend seminars on health system performance and consult with AHCJ fellowship leaders and experts. Fellows may also receive financial support for field reporting, health data, or other research needs.

The fellows continue working their regular jobs and pursue the project with the support of their newsrooms, which will publish or air the projects. Freelance reporters are also welcome to apply.

To learn more about the fellowships or to apply, visit the AHCJ Web site.
2011–12 Harkness Fellowships Open to Applicants

The 2011–12 Harkness Fellowships 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 Commonwealth Fund's Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice 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 Australian-American Health Policy 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.