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Newsletter Article


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

Achieving Person-Centered Primary Care: The Patient-Centered Medical Home. M. K. Abrams. July 23, 2008. Commonwealth Fund assistant vice president Melinda Abrams testified before the Special Senate Committee on Aging on the importance of the medical home for older Americans.

A Survey of Hospital Quality Improvement Activities. A. B. Cohen, J. D. Restuccia, M. Shwartz et al. Medical Care Research and Review, August 2008 (first published online May 28, 2008). U.S. hospitals are strongly committed to the goals of quality improvement, but there appears to be great variation in the implementation and effectiveness of hospital reforms, a Commonwealth Fund-supported survey finds.

Quality Matters: Quality Improvement or Research? July/August 2008. The current issue of this bimonthly newsletter includes a feature article on how clinicians are responding to a recent federal action taken against a large quality improvement project in Michigan.

Health Care Opinion Leaders' Views on the Future of Long-Term Care. M. Doty, M. J. Koren, and K. Davis. July 2008. Among the results of the latest Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey, two-thirds of experts feel it is important that the health reform plans of the presidential candidates address the quality and financing of long-term care.

Why Not the Best? Results from the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2008. The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System. July 2008. The United States continues to fall well short of benchmarks of access, quality, efficiency, and other key measures of health system performance, according to the second edition of this health system scorecard.

Colocating Health Services: A Way to Improve Coordination of Children's Health Care? S. Ginsburg. July 2008. Colocating services, from mental health to nutritional counseling, in the same setting can enhance a pediatric practice's ability to address the multiple needs of families; this issue brief shows how.

Health Spending in OECD Countries in 2004: An Update. G. F. Anderson, B. K. Frogner, and U. E. Reinhardt. Health Affairs, September/October 2007. Obesity-related chronic disease is more prevalent in the U.S. than in other industrialized nations, according to this analysis.

Monitoring and Assessing the Use of External Quality Review Organizations to Improve Services for Young Children: A Toolkit for State Medicaid Agencies. T. Krissik, H. T. Ireys, A. Markus, and S. Rosenbaum. June 2008. This report shows state officials how they can work with external quality review organizations to evaluate and improve the quality of preventive and developmental services delivered to children enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans.

Improving the Use of Medicines for Older People in Long-Term Care: Contrasting the Policy Approach of Four Countries. Carmel M. Hughes, Elizabeth Roughead, and Ngaire Kerse. Healthcare Policy, Vol. 3, No. 3. Compared with nursing homes in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, U.S. nursing homes have been more successful in preventing or reducing the unnecessary use of psychotropic medications, but less so in promoting best practices of overall appropriate medication use.

States in Action: A Bimonthly Look at Innovations in Health Policy. June/July 2008. The current issue of the newsletter focuses on pursuing value in health care, with articles exploring new tools for measuring returns on investments, initiatives for managing high-cost and chronic care patients, and collaboratives implementing value-driven initiatives.

Evidence-Informed Case Rates: Paying for Safer, More Reliable Care. F. de Brantes and A. Rastogi. June 2008. This issue brief discusses the promise of "evidence-informed case rates," an alternative provider payment model designed to create fair payments for all health care providers treating a patient for a particular condition.

Public Programs: Critical Building Blocks in Health Reform. Karen Davis. June 16, 2008. In her invited testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis said that public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid "should be considered building blocks in a system of seamless coverage for America's 47 million uninsured people."

How Many Are Underinsured? Trends Among U.S. Adults, 2003 and 2007. C. Schoen, S. R. Collins, J. L. Kriss, M. M. Doty. Health Affairs Web Exclusive, June 10, 2008. The number of underinsured U.S. adults—people who have health coverage that does not adequately protect them from high medical expenses—rose 60 percent between 2003 and 2007, Commonwealth Fund staff report.

Does the Leapfrog Program Help Identify High-Quality Hospitals? A. K. Jha, E. J. Orav, A. B. Ridgway et al. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, June 2008. Hospitals that have implemented patient safety practices endorsed by the Leapfrog Group had better quality of care and lower mortality rates, this study shows.

Physician Leadership, Public Reporting, and Teamwork in the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality. A. L. Greer. June 2008. A case study of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, a voluntary consortium of health care organizations that uses public reporting as a tool to jumpstart the learning and quality improvement process.

On the Road to Universal Coverage: Impacts of Reform in Massachusetts at One Year. S. K. Long. Health Affairs Web Exclusive, June 3, 2008. There have been dramatic improvements in insurance coverage in Massachusetts, this widely reported study finds. In the first year after the state instituted an ambitious health care reform plan, the rate of uninsured working-age adults dropped by almost half.

Medicare Part D: Simplifying the Program and Improving the Value of Information for Beneficiaries. J. Hoadley. May 2008. This issue brief considers options for simplifying Part D in several areas: standardizing the benefit descriptions and procedures used by plans and the Medicare program; further standardization of the plan's benefit parameters, particularly the rules for cost-sharing; and changes to the rules governing plan formularies.

Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help, 2008 Update. J. L. Kriss, S. R. Collins, B. Mahato, E. Gould, and C. Schoen. May 2008. Young adults, ages 19 to 29, are one of the largest segments of the U.S. population without health insurance: 13.7 million lacked coverage in 2006. This issue brief outlines several policy changes to help uninsured young adults gain coverage and prevent others from losing it.

U.S. Variations in Child Health System Performance: A State Scorecard. K. Shea, K. Davis, and E. Schor. May 2008. The first-ever state-by-state health system "scorecard" to focus on children's health care finds wide differences across the country in the quality of care delivered, as well as disparities in access to services, insurance costs, and health outcomes, among other areas.

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