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Commission Corner

In April, The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System held its first meeting of 2008 in San Antonio, Texas. Taking advantage of the city's unique setting, the group learned a great deal about the special opportunities and challenges the state and community face. This included a site visit to learn about the integration of San Antonio Metro Health clinics into the University Hospital System, examining the relocation of public health clinical and preventive services into a hospital setting to create a seamless and higher-performing health system for a community of 1.5 million people. Members also had the opportunity to visit the Center for the Intrepid, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to restoring health and function to disabled military personnel.

The Commission also used the meeting in San Antonio to further delve into detailed policy recommendations for achieving a high performance health system, which will be unveiled in early 2009 to provide guidance for the next presidential administration and Congress.

In partnership with the Alliance for Health Reform, the Commission sponsored a briefing for congressional staffers in March that featured advocates for the health reform plans of the presidential candidates, Senators Clinton, McCain, and Obama.

Published in April, States' Roles in Shaping High Performance Health Systems found that states are pursuing health system improvements across the full spectrum of their authority. The report describes their efforts in health care purchasing, regulating providers, reporting of performance data, integrating public health with health care approaches, and improving the availability and affordability of health insurance. It is based on findings from the State Health Policies Aimed at Promoting Excellent Systems (SHAPES) project undertaken by the National Academy of State Health Policy with support from The Commonwealth Fund. Commissioners Fernando Guerra, Dallas Salisbury, Sandra Shewry, and Mary Wakefield, along with Arkansas Surgeon General Joseph Thompson, served as advisors on the project.

Additionally, The Commonwealth Fund developed Health Policy Reform: Beyond the 2008 Elections, a resource guide for journalists published in the Columbia Journalism Review. The report draws on the Commission's work and other research to provide journalists with an evidence-based context for understanding the problems plaguing our current health system, as well as policy options under consideration for addressing these problems.

For more information, please visit the Commission page on the Fund's Web site.

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