The Commonwealth Fund Connection is a roundup of recent Fund publications, charts, multimedia, and other timely content.
One year ago, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation was launched to find new ways to reduce costs and improve the quality of health care. In a new blog post, Mark Zezza, Melinda Abrams, and Stuart Guterman of The Commonwealth Fund review the Innovation Center's performance to date and point to areas for future development. "The Innovation Center is off to a good start, but it needs to build on its momentum as it attempts to move the country toward a new health care delivery system," the authors write.
You can also view the archive of a Nov. 30 webinar on the Innovation Center, cosponsored by The Commonwealth Fund and AcademyHealth, which looked at the Innovation Center’s priorities, explored how it can best conduct rigorous, rapid-cycle evaluation, and examined the role of health care providers in identifying and rolling out innovations.
Accountable care organizations (ACOs)—groups of health care providers that work together to provide coordinated, efficient care—are an important part of the effort to reform health care delivery. This fall, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its final rule for implementing a new program that will enable ACOs to share in Medicare savings. A new paper by Mark Zezza, Ph.D., senior policy analyst for Health Care Delivery Policy at The Commonwealth Fund, offers a detailed summary of the final rule, which grants more flexibility to participating health care providers.
Visit the ACO Resource Page, which offers a wide range of blog posts and publications about ACOs.
One of the most common types of infections acquired in health care settings is the central line–associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI), which can develop when a central venous catheter is not inserted or maintained properly. About 43,000 CLABSIs occurred in hospitals in 2009—and nearly one of five infected patients died as a result. A new case study series examines the strategies and procedures adopted by hospitals that reported no CLABSIs in their intensive care units in 2009. Among the lessons identified were: the importance of following evidence-based protocols to prevent infection; the need for dedicated teams to oversee all central line insertions; the value of participation in statewide, national, or regional CLABSI collaboratives or initiatives; and the necessity for close monitoring of infection rates, giving feedback to staff, and applying internal and external goals.
Read the case studies from the four hospitals—Bronson Methodist Hospital of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Englewood Hospital and Medical Center of Englewood, N.J.; Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital of Whittier, Calif.; and Southern Ohio Medical Center of Portsmouth, Ohio. You can also view comparative performance data for these and other hospitals on WhyNotTheBest.org.
Enhancements to the WhyNotTheBest.org interactive map enable robust explorations of health system performance at the national, state, county, and regional levels. Using new map overlays, users can zoom in on communities involved in key delivery system reform efforts, such as the Beacon Communities or areas where patient-centered medical homes have taken hold, as well as flag health care providers that have been recognized for delivering high-quality care.
New performance data have also been added to the map, including:
Applications for the 2012–13 Harkness Fellowships remain open to individuals from the Netherlands and Canada. 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.
Deadlines for receipt of applications are as follows:
Note that the application process for Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom is now closed.