The Commonwealth Fund Digest Archive

The Commonwealth Fund Digest, now archived, was a bimonthy roundup of Fund and Fund-supported publications.

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Recent Commonwealth Fund reports and Fund-supported studies in the professional literature

Diagnostic Scope of and Exposure to Primary Care Physicians in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. B. Bindman, C. B. Forrest, H. Britt et al. BMJ, June 16, 2007. Patients in the United States get far less face time with primary care physicians than do patients in Australia and New Zealand.

Closing the Divide: How Medical Homes Promote Equity in Health Care. A. C. Beal, M. M. Doty, S. E. Hernandez, K. K. Shea, and K. Davis. June 2007. When adults have health insurance coverage and a medical home, racial and ethnic disparities in access and quality are reduced or even eliminated.

Universal Health Insurance: Why It Is Essential to Achieving a High Performance Health System and Why Design Matters. S. R. Collins. June 26, 2007. In her invited testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, the Fund's Sara Collins said the nation's failure to provide adequate health insurance to millions is a major factor in the inconsistent performance of the U.S. health system.

Disparities in Health Care Are Driven by Where Minority Patients Seek Care. R. Hasnain-Wynia, D. W. Baker, D. Nerenz et al. Archives of Internal Medicine, June 25, 2007. Where minority patients get health care can influence the quality of care they receive and may be a major underlying cause of health care disparities.

Estimating the Effects of Prescription Drug Coverage for Medicare Beneficiaries. D. G. Shea, J. V. Terza, B. C. Stuart et al. Health Services Research, June 2007. The Medicare Part D was enacted to subsidize the costs of prescription drugs for millions of Medicare beneficiaries. But in doing so, the new benefit raises serious questions about costs and utilization—namely, how prescription drug coverage affects drug use and what the impact is on subsequent costs.

National Survey of Physician-Industry Relationships. E. G. Campbell, R. L. Gruen, J. Mountford et al. New England Journal of Medicine, April 26, 2007. Ninety-four percent of physicians in the U.S. have some type of relationship with the pharmaceutical industry—from receiving drug samples or food in the workplace, to being reimbursed for professional meetings, to receiving consulting fees.

Aiming Higher: Results from a State Scorecard on Health System Performance. J. C. Cantor, C. Schoen, D. Belloff, S. K. H. How, and D. McCarthy. June 2007. This report, prepared for the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, is the first-ever, comprehensive comparison of health system performance in all 50 states.

Enhancing Value in Medicare: Chronic Care Initiatives to Improve the Program. S. Guterman. May 9, 2007. In invited testimony before the Senate's Special Committee on Aging, the Fund's Stuart Guterman reviewed Medicare's initiatives to improve care for beneficiaries with chronic conditions.

Improving the Medicare Part D Program for the Most Vulnerable Beneficiaries. L. Summer, P. Nemore, and J. Finberg. May 2007. This report looks at some of the challenges faced by vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries and makes specific recommendations to strengthen Part D.

Coordination Between Formal Providers and Informal Caregivers. D. B. Weinberg, R. W. Lusenhop, J. Hoffer Gittell et al. Health Care Management Review, April–June 2007. Better communication prepares caregivers to effectively provide and manage care—leading, in turn, to better outcomes for patients.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: An International Update on the Comparative Performance of American Health Care. K. Davis, C. Schoen, S. C. Schoenbaum, M. M. Doty, A. L. Holmgren, J. L. Kriss, and K. K. Shea. May 2007. Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the United States ranks last compared with five other nations on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes.

Multinational Comparisons of Health Systems Data, 2006. J. Cylus and G. F. Anderson. May 2006. This updated Fund chartbook uses data collected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to compare the health care systems and performance in nine industrialized countries.

A Quality-Based Payment Strategy for Nursing Home Care in Minnesota. R. L. Kane, G. Arling, C. Mueller et al. The Gerontologist, February 2007. This study reviews a proposed quality-based payment system for nursing home care in Minnesota.

Resident Physicians' Preparedness to Provide Cross-Cultural Care: Implications for Clinical Care and Medical Education Policy. J. R. Betancourt, J. S. Weissman, M. K. Kim et al. May 2007. Based on a national survey of resident physicians, this report finds that while few residents said they felt unprepared to care for patients from racial and ethnic minorities and from diverse cultures, many were unprepared to deal with specific situations, like treating patients with religious beliefs that affect care or limited English proficiency.

Health Care Opinion Leaders' Views on Priorities for the State Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization. K. K. Shea, K. Davis, A. Gauthier, R. Nuzum, B. Scholl, and E. L. Schor. April 2007. As the debate over reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) continues, a diverse group of leaders in health policy and health care praise the program for increasing low-income children's access to affordable health care.

Women and Health Coverage: The Affordability Gap. E. M. Patchias and J. Waxman. April 2007. Women are more likely than men to have problems accessing health care because of costs. The primary reasons: women's comparatively greater health care needs and lower incomes.

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