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Commission Corner

Gearing up for a new administration and Congress, The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System released its call to action, The Time Has Come for Comprehensive Health Reform. In this new statement, the Commission urges President-elect Obama and the 111th Congress to move quickly to ensure access to health care for all while at the same time take bold action to improve the quality and efficiency of care so that we may 'bend the curve' of health care spending. The Commission emphasized four key elements for comprehensive health reform:

  • Providing all Americans with affordable health coverage.
  • Organizing our care delivery systems by moving from our current fragmented system to one where physicians and other care providers are rewarded for banding together into traditional or virtual organizations.
  • Reforming provider payment to drive innovations that save lives and improve the value of our health care dollars.
  • Government leadership in purchasing, coordinating multiple payers, developing national improvement priorities and targets, creating a system for monitoring and reporting, and issuing recommendations.

In November, the Commission held its final meeting of 2008 in Washington, D.C. where it finalized recommendations for the new presidential administration and Congress and set priorities for work in 2009. In addition to this work, the Commission heard thought-provoking presentations from two outside guests. Liz Fowler, senior counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, joined the group to talk about Congressional health reform efforts and how the Commission's recommendations can add value. Bill Roper, chairman of the National Quality Forum and chief executive officer of the University of North Carolina Health Care System, came to discuss the National Priorities Partnership's recently released recommendations for both public and private stakeholders on transforming the health system.

Also in November, the Commission and the Alliance for Health Reform hosted a briefing on Massachusetts' health reform efforts. The event featured Fund grantee Sharon Long's evaluations of the reforms and can be viewed on the Fund website as an E-Forum.

In January, the Commission and the Alliance for Health Reform will host the 11th annual Bipartisan Congressional Health Policy Conference, which offers members of Congress the opportunity to learn from experts in health policy and delivery and collaborate with their colleagues in an off-the-record setting. In February, in partnership with the Catholic Health Association and the Alliance for Health Reform, the Commission will host a similar conference for Congressional staffers.

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

Ohio Quality Improvement Summit
More than 180 health care leaders from various organizations and agencies throughout the state attended the Ohio Health Quality Improvement Summit from November 17-19, in Columbus. The summit resulted from Ohio's participation in the Commonwealth Fund/AcademyHealth State Quality Improvement Initiative (SQII), which aimed to develop 12 strategies and related tactics needed to transform Ohio's health care sector into a high-quality, cost-effective, high-performing system that will optimize the health of all Ohioans. Ohio was one of nine states to participate in SQII.

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