The Commonwealth Fund Connection

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

How Health Reform Will Help Women

The health reform law will expand health insurance coverage to nearly all uninsured women and make health care more affordable for millions of women through premium subsidies and new rules—some already in place—that will protect them from high costs, according to a Commonwealth Fund issue brief.

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act comes at a time when women are struggling to afford the health insurance and health care they need—an estimated 27 million women ages 19 to 64 were uninsured for all or part of 2010. Using data from The Commonwealth Fund 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey, the brief also found that women are skipping needed health care, with about half (48%) reporting they did not see a doctor when they were sick, didn't fill a prescription, or skipped a test, treatment or follow-up visit because they couldn't afford it. This is up from 34 percent in 2001.

You can also view and download the survey charts or read a related blog by The Commonwealth Fund's Ruth Robertson and Sara Collins.

Testimony: Getting What We Want from Medicare Physician Payment
This week in invited testimony before the health subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee, The Commonwealth Fund's Stuart Guterman called for new payment models that will pay physicians appropriately while also improving care for beneficiaries and adding value to the Medicare program.
Risk Adjustment Under the Affordable Care Act
A new Commonwealth Fund issue brief explores the challenges regulators will face in implementing the Affordable Care Act's risk adjustment provisions, analyzes the merits of different risk adjustment strategies, and offers recommendations for policymakers.
Developing Federally Qualified Health Centers into Community Networks
This Commonwealth Fund report finds that by fostering connections between federally qualified health centers and private primary care providers, states may be able to connect Medicaid beneficiaries with services needed to help them manage their health and reduce costly visits to hospitals.
Strengthening Health Systems: Lessons from High- and Low-Performing States
The authors of this Commonwealth Fund brief interviewed stakeholders in states with high- and low-performing health systems, as assessed by The Commonwealth Fund's State Scorecard on Health System Performance. Findings suggest there are market, political, and cultural characteristics that can help or hinder health system improvement.
How the Affordable Care Act Will Strengthen Primary Care
In a recent article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (May 3, 2011), Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis and her coauthors explore how the health reform law's combination of insurance expansions and payment and delivery system reforms can help achieve the goals of affordable coverage for all, better-quality care, and slower cost growth.
Video: Safety Net Medical Home Initiative
The Commonwealth Fund is sponsoring a five-year demonstration program to help 65 low-income or safety net clinics in five states transform into patient-centered medical homes. Three years into the program, administrators and participants discuss their progress thus far in this new video.
Webinar on the Community-Based Approach to Reducing Hospital Readmissions: Resources

Resources from the May 6 webinar on the community approach to reducing hospital readmissions are now available, including an audio recording with synched slides, the moderator's and speakers' presentations, and a transcript of the presentations and question-and-answer session.

For lessons from hospitals with exceptionally low readmission rates, see this overview report and case studies of McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah; Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center in Houston, Texas; Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, Missouri. Visit WhyNotTheBest.org to view comparative hospital performance data on 30-day readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia patients. And visit the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Web site to learn about an initiative, supported by The Commonwealth Fund and led by IHI, to reduce rehospitalizations in four states: Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington.

2012–13 Harkness Fellowships Open to Applicants
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. The fellowships are open to applicants from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The deadline for receipt of applications is September 12, 2011. For details and the application form, please visit http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Fellowships/Harkness-Fellowships.aspx.
Australian–American Health Policy Fellowship
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. The deadline for receipt of applications for the 2012–13 fellowship is August 15, 2011. For further information on the Australian–American Health Policy Fellowship and to obtain an application, please see http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Fellowships/Australian-American-Health-Policy-Fellowships.aspx
In Memoriam: James J. Mongan, M.D.
James J. Mongan, M.D., passed away on May 3, 2011, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Dr. Mongan joined The Commonwealth Fund Board in 2006, shortly after taking on the role of founding chairman of The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System. As a member of the Board, Dr. Mongan was never anything less than crisply insightful, constructive, and supportive of The Commonwealth Fund's mission. But it was in his role as chair of the Commission that Dr. Mongan's unique gift as a consensus builder, and his sparkling wit and wisdom, really shone. Read more.