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Newsletter Article


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

Squeezed: Why Rising Exposure to Health Care Costs Threatens the Health and Financial Well-Being of American Families. S. R. Collins, J. L. Kriss, K. Davis, M. M. Doty, and A. L. Holmgren. September 2006. This analysis of a Fund survey finds that workers often face unaffordable options in the individual insurance market, while families with employer coverage face ever-rising deductibles and other cost-sharing burdens.

U.S. Health System Performance: A National Scorecard. C. Schoen, K. Davis, S. K. H. How, and S. C. Schoenbaum. Health Affairs Web Exclusive, September 20, 2006. The authors document how the nation falls short on key indicators of health outcomes, quality, access, efficiency, and equity.

Why Not the Best? Results from a National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance. The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System. September 2006. This report discusses findings from the first-ever comprehensive means of measuring and monitoring health care outcomes, quality, access, efficiency, and equity.

Brief Maternal Depression Screening at Well-Child Visits. A. L. Olson, A. J. Dietrich et al. Pediatrics, July 2006. The authors report on the results of the first study to explore the feasibility, time requirements, and effects of regular and structured screening for maternal depression.

The Timing of Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Mothers' Parenting Practices with Young Children: Implications for Pediatric Practice. K. T. McLearn, C. S. Minkovitz et al., Pediatrics, July 2006. Mothers with depressive symptoms are less likely to initiate age-appropriate recommended safety and child development practices, such as using electric outlet covers, limiting television and video exposure, and following daily routines, and more likely to use harsh discipline with their toddlers.

Framework for a High Performance Health System for the United States. Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System. August 2006. In this consensus statement, the Commission defines "high performance," outlines the failures of our current system, and offers a strategic framework for addressing them through specific actions.

Health Care Disconnect: Gaps in Coverage and Care for Minority Adults. M. M. Doty and A. L. Holmgren. August 2006. Uninsured rates for Hispanic and African American adults are up to three times greater than the rate for white adults, according to new analysis of the Fund's Biennial Health Insurance Survey.

Promising Practices for Patient-Centered Communication with Vulnerable Populations: Examples from Eight Hospitals. M. Wynia and J. Matiasek. August 2006. This Fund report identifies "promising practices" that address language barriers and low health literacy to help hospitals and providers better communicate with their vulnerable patients.

Preventive Care for Children in the United States: Quality and Barriers. P. J. Chung, T. C. Lee, J. L. Morrison et al. Annual Review of Public Health, August 2006. In this literature review of well-child and preventive care studies, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and RAND find significant gaps in the health care many children and adolescents receive.

Obtaining Data on Patient Race, Ethnicity, and Primary Language in Health Care Organizations: Current Challenges and Proposed Solutions. R. Hasnain-Wynia and D. W. Baker. Health Services Research, August 2006. Health care organizations that collect data on patients' race, ethnicity, and primary language are more likely than those without such information to work toward reducing disparities in care. Yet, a new Fund-supported study finds data collection efforts are inconsistent across organizations.

State Behavioral Health Innovations: Disseminating Promising Practices. S. B. Perlman and R. H. Dougherty. August 2006. A Fund report identifies 17 promising practices—all related to purchasing and quality improvement—in the field of mental health and substance abuse.

Public Views on Shaping the Future of the U.S. Health Care System. C. Schoen, S. K. H. How, I. Weinbaum, J. E. Craig, Jr., and K. Davis. August 2006. Most U.S. adults think the nation's health system is in need of an overhaul, according to a survey from The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System.

Assessing Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in Four States: Balancing Cost and Access. E. Heaton, T. Carino, and H. Dix. August 2006. This issue brief examines Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in the four most populous Medicare states, finding that seniors face a dizzying array of benefit designs and formulary structures.

Medicare Physician Payment: Are We Getting What We Pay For? Are We Paying for What We Want? S. Guterman. July 2006. Invited testimony by the Fund's Stuart Guterman, for a U.S. House of Representatives hearing.

Help Me Grow Roundtable: Promoting Development through Child Health Services. Various authors. Supplement to the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Since 2002, Connecticut's Help Me Grow program has been reaching out to children who have, or are at risk for, developmental problems by matching families with a range of health, social, and educational services. Articles examine the program's success and explore its potential for replication.

Setting the Stage for Success: Implementation of Developmental and Behavioral Screening and Surveillance in Primary Care Practice. M. F. Earls and S. S. Hay. Pediatrics, July 2006. Researchers explain how North Carolina's Medicaid program, with Commonwealth Fund support, has managed to increase the percentage of children screened for developmental and behavioral problems.

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