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Commission Corner

The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System is kicking off the summer with a series of exciting events and publications.

In partnership with the Alliance for Health Reform, the Commission hosted two briefings on Capitol Hill for congressional and administration staff. In May, a panel discussion considered potential actions by state and federal policymakers to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care access and quality. In June, a panel examined the benefits and drawbacks of expanding access to coverage through a Medicare-like program available for voluntary purchase by uninsured adults below the age of 65.

The Commission also sponsored a roundtable on the intersection of politics and policy in state health reform in coordination with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's State Coverage Initiatives. Discussion focused on the preliminary findings of a study examining the health reform experiences of California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania by grantee Walter Zelman of California State University, Los Angeles. The event drew researchers and policymakers from around the country and fostered a critical discussion that will guide future reforms.

Published in May, The North Dakota Experience: Achieving High-Performance Health Care Through Rural Innovation and Cooperation builds off of the Commission's site visit to North Dakota in July 2007. It highlights the state's support for primary care and medical homes, organization of care through networks of coordination and cooperation, and the innovative use of technology to meet patient needs and control costs. North Dakota's culture of cooperation and willingness to innovate make it a leading state in providing accessible, high-quality, and efficient health care services.

In July, look for the second edition of the Commission's National Scorecard, which will update the first iteration, published in 2006, and analyze time trends to assess the nation's progress or slippage in multiple dimensions of health care outcomes, quality, access, efficiency, and equity.

Finally, the Commission's chair, James J. Mongan, M.D., president and CEO of Partners HealthCare, is the recipient of a 2008 CEO IT Achievement Award from Modern Healthcare and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in recognition of his work in moving all 4,300 physicians in his physician network to electronic medical records.

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

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