The Commonwealth Fund Connection

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

U.S. Continues to Far Outspend Other Nations on Health Care
For more than a decade, The Commonwealth Fund has analyzed data on comparative health system performance compiled annually by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In a new issue brief, Fund researchers report on a range of OECD health data from 12 industrialized countries, including the U.S. The analysis found that the U.S. spent far more on health care than any other country studied, while quality of care was mixed. To find out more about how the U.S. compares in health care spending, utilization, and quality, read the brief and view our PowerPoint chartbook.
Analysis of the State Health Insurance Exchange Regulations

Several recent posts on The Commonwealth Fund Blog looked at the new state health insurance exchange regulations. In her two-part series highlighting select aspects of the exchange rule, The Commonwealth Fund's Sara Collins, Ph.D., says it provides states maximum flexibility, within the boundaries established by the health reform law, to tailor the exchanges to their particular insurance markets, employer communities, and populations. In another post, Mark Hall of Wake Forest University examines a companion rule that addresses risk adjustment, a necessity for ensuring a level playing field in individual and small-group markets both within and outside the exchanges.

Sara Collins and Tracey Garber also updated their blog post and map showing where states stand in establishing the legal authority for their insurance exchanges. Also available is a link to all Commonwealth Fund resources on the exchanges.

Alliance for Health Reform/Commonwealth Fund Briefing on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation
In a recent blog post, the Fund's Rachel Nuzum and Stu Guterman report on a July 18 briefing focused on the key issues facing the Innovation Center, including the need to balance the testing of innovative ideas for delivering higher-quality care at lower cost with their rapid-cycle deployment.
The Influence of Nurse Staffing Levels on Quality of Care in Nursing Homes
This Commonwealth Fund-supported study in the Gerontologist finds that by increasing nurse staffing hours, nursing homes may be able to lower their deficiency scores, raise their quality of care, and improve their marketability.
Promising Payment Reform: Risk-Sharing with Accountable Care Organizations
The new Medicare Shared Savings Program is designed to accelerate the creation of accountable care organizations (ACOs), payer–provider alliances for delivering high-quality health care at lower cost through new payment models that reward efficiency. A Commonwealth Fund study reports on the implementation of eight private ACOs that use, or are planning to deploy, a shared payer–provider risk payment model. Still in an early developmental phase, these payment models vary in their design and in how they define shared risk.
England's Approach to Improving End-of-Life Care: A Strategy for Honoring Patients' Choices
This issue brief describes England's End of Life Care Strategy, a 10-year plan adopted in 2008 by the country's Department of Health and National Health Service. In a recent ranking of "quality of death" in 40 countries, the U.K. and Australia ranked first, while the U.S. tied with Canada for ninth.
Assessing and Addressing Legal Barriers to the Clinical Integration of Community Health Centers and Other Community Providers
Collaborations that integrate community health centers with hospitals, providers, and/or public health agencies have yielded substantial benefits for patients. This report outlines the laws and policies that govern clinical collaborations and profiles health centers that have worked within the law to develop partnerships.
Updated Data on WhyNottheBest.org

WhyNotTheBest.org, The Commonwealth Fund's quality improvement resource, has been updated with the most recently available data for the following:

  • the incidence of central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs)
  • hospital quality data at the county level

CLABSI data are available on WhyNotTheBest.org through a partnership among The Commonwealth Fund, The Leapfrog Group, and Consumers Union. The hospital quality data, which is publicly reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is available though the "Maps" tab on WhyNotTheBest.org.

New Initiative to Generate Real-Time Evidence to Improve Health Outcomes
AcademyHealth, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and The Commonwealth Fund have announced a new initiative, the Beacon Evidence and Innovation Network (BEIN). This initiative is designed to maximize the value, volume, and timeliness of relevant findings emerging from the Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program, with the ultimate goal of generating actionable, rigorous evidence that can inform the development of strategies for leveraging health IT to improve patient care and reduce costs. Read the complete release on the AcademyHealth Web site.
New Commonwealth Fund News Feeds and Widget

The Commonwealth Fund has made available new topic-based RSS feeds and the ability to select topics, such as Affordable Health Insurance and Patient-Centered Care, to create a custom feed. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a format for sharing and distributing Web content. Using an RSS reader or aggregator, you can view data feeds from sites such as The Commonwealth Fund that offer headlines, summaries, and links to the full text.

You can also now embed a Commonwealth Fund news widget on your blog or Web site to display the latest Fund releases on your site.

Explore My Commonwealth Fund
Through My Commonwealth Fund, you can manage your subscriptions, publicly comment on Web content, and save content to your personal library for easy reference. Visit your Profile page.
Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis Made Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London
At a ceremony in London on July 13, Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London. It is rare for a non-physician, and a non-U.K./U.K. Commonwealth country citizen, to be honored in this way. About a hundred distinguished physicians from the U.K. and other Commonwealth countries were inducted as fellows, as were four honorary fellows, Dr. Davis included.
Blumenthal Chairs Commission, Bisognano Joins Board
The Commonwealth Fund is pleased to announce new members of its Commission on a High Performance Health System and Board of Directors. David Blumenthal, M.D., former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and a recognized health policy expert with extensive leadership experience in medicine, government, and academia, has been named chairman of the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System. And Maureen Bisognano, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and a leading authority on improving health care systems, has been elected to the Commonwealth Fund Board of Directors.
Health Care Delivery in the United States
Douglas McCarthy, M.B.A., senior research adviser to The Commonwealth Fund and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, contributed a chapter to the newly published 10th edition of Jonas & Kovner's Health Care Delivery in the United States (Springer Publishing). The chapter is called "Integrative Models and Performance."