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Newsletter Article


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

Slowing the Growth of Health Care Costs--Learning from International Experience. K. Davis. New England Journal of Medicine, Oct. 23, 2008. In this commentary, Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis points out lessons the U.S. could learn from other countries to stem health care spending and improve value.

Improving Child Health Care Through Federal Policy: An Emerging Opportunity. C. Bruner C. Fitzgerald, and C. Plaza. Oct. 2008. The authors review recent legislative proposals focusing on child health care coverage and quality and propose a set of provisions that would specifically strengthen primary, preventive, and developmental health care services.

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation: Transforming a Public Safety Net Delivery System to Achieve Higher Performance. D. McCarthy and K. Mueller. Oct. 2008. New York City's public hospital authority has undertaken a series of improvement initiatives that appear to be transforming the organization's culture, systems, and care processes.

Medicaid Re-Enrollment Policies and Children's Risk of Hospitalizations for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions. A. B. Bindman, A. Chattopadhyay, and G. M. Auerback. Medical Care, Oct. 2008. Less frequent Medicaid eligibility redeterminations for children can result in fewer hospitalizations for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions.

The Impact of Health Reform on Underinsurance in Massachusetts: Do the Insured Have Adequate Protection? S. K. Long. Oct. 2008. This analysis focuses on a recent study that assesses the impact of the Massachusetts health reform on the number of underinsured state residents.

The 2008 Presidential Candidates' Health Reform Proposals: Choices for America. S. R. Collins, J L. Nicholson, S. D. Rustgi, and K. Davis. Oct. 2008. A side-by-side analysis of the key differences and areas of agreement in the health system reform proposals of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama.

Shifting Health Care Financial Risk to Families Is Not a Sound Strategy: The Changes Needed to Ensure Americans' Health Security. K. Davis. Invited testimony before the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health. Sept. 23, 2008. Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis said that federal action is needed "to guarantee affordable coverage that provides adequate financial protection and ensures that individuals can obtain needed care--the two essential functions of health insurance."

Iowa's 1st Five Initiative: Improving Early Childhood Developmental Services Through Public-Private Partnerships. S. Silow-Carroll. Sept. 2008. An innovative program in Iowa is helping pediatric providers screen young children for developmental delay and refer families to community-based services.

Quality Matters: Health Care Process Improvement. Sept./Oct. 2008. The latest issue of this bimonthly newsletter looks at trends in health care process improvement, and a case study of an ophthalmology practice that applied manufacturing techniques to streamline work processes and improve access to care.

Using What Works: Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program as a Base for Health Care Reform. K. Davis and C. Schoen. Invited testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. Sept. 18, 2008. Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program "warrant serious consideration as building blocks for a new system of seamless coverage for America's 46 million uninsured people."

Retiree Health Benefits After Medicare Part D: A Snapshot of Prescription Drug Coverage. J. Gabel, H. Whitmore, and J. Pickreign. Sept. 2008. Based on employers' responses to two national surveys in 2005 and 2007, fears that the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit would "crowd out" existing retiree health benefits have not been realized. However, most employers indicate they will reconsider their current decision if coverage costs continue to rise.

A House Is Not a Home: Keeping Patient at the Center of Practice Redesign. R. A. Berenson, T. Hammons, D. N. Gans et al. Health Affairs, Sept./Oct. 2008. A look at ways in which medical homes could address problems facing the health care system, such as reimbursement inequities, and the prerequisites for medical home implementation.

Continuous Innovation in Health Care: Implications of the Geisinger Experience. R. A. Paulus, K. Davis, and G. D. Steele. Health Affairs, Sept./Oct. 2008. Through innovations like patient-centered medical homes and chronic disease management, Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania is improving its quality of care, achieving better outcomes, and lowering costs.

Measuring the Medical Home Infrastructure in Large Medical Groups. D. R. Rittenhouse, L. P. Casalino, R. R. Gillies et al. Health Affairs, Sept./Oct. 2008. A Commonwealth Fund–supported study of 291 large medical group practices finds that adoption of medical home infrastructure is low, with very large groups having the highest levels of adoption.

Continuing Cost of Privatization: Extra Payments to MA Plans in 2008. B. Biles, E. Adrion, and S. Guterman. Sept. 2008. Private health plans serving Medicare beneficiaries will be paid an average 12.4 percent more per enrollee in 2008 compared to what the same enrollee would have cost in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program.

States in Action: A Bimonthly Look at Innovations in Health Policy. S. Silow-Carroll and G. Moody. Aug./Sept. 2008. A examination of the new State Quality Improvement Institute and leading states' innovative efforts to redesign their health care systems.

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