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Newsletter Article


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

Maternal Depressive Symptoms at 2 to 4 Months Post Partum and Early Parenting Practices
K. Taaffe McLearn, C. S. Minkovitz, D. M. Strobino et al. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, March 2006. Mothers with depressive symptoms are less likely to engage in important developmental behaviors with their infant, such as playing, talking, and following daily routines, according to this study.

Evidence into Policy and Practice? Measuring the Progress of U.S. and U.K. Policies to Tackle Disparities and Inequalities in Health and Health Care
M. Exworthy, A. Bindman, H. T. O. Davies, and A. E. Washington. Milbank Quarterly, March 2006. The authors discuss efforts under way in the U.S. and U.K. to address disparities, from national public health goals to report cards compiled at every level of the health system.

Will Physician-Level Measures of Clinical Performance Be Used in Medical Malpractice Litigation?
A. S. Kesselheim, T. G. Ferris, and D. M. Studdert. Journal of the American Medical Association, April 19, 2006. Physicians' fears that clinical performance data could be used as evidence in malpractice claims are likely unfounded.

Medicare Beneficiary Out-of-Pocket Costs: Are Medicare Advantage Plans a Better Deal?
B. Biles, L. H. Nicholas, and S. Guterman, May 2006. Costs for Medicare beneficiaries in good or fair health are lower in most of the Medicare Advantage plans studied, compared with fee-for-service Medicare. But in 19 out of 88 plans examined, beneficiaries in poor health would spend more in annual out-of-pocket costs for their care than if they had traditional Medicare plus Medigap.

Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help
S. R. Collins, C. Schoen, J. L. Kriss, M. M. Doty, and B. Mahato, May 2006. This update of an earlier report finds that 13.7 million young adults in the U.S. lack health insurance, an increase of 2.5 million from 2000.

Quality Matters: Improving Quality for All
The Commonwealth Fund, May 2006. In this issue: efforts to reduce health care disparities for underserved racial and ethnic groups; news briefs; and publications of note.

The Changing Face of Race: Risk Factors for Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia
A. C. Beal, S.-C. Chou, R. H. Palmer et al. Pediatrics, May 2006. Significant disparities exist between the race assigned to mothers of newborns by hospital staff and mothers' self-described race, potentially undermining efforts to identify and treat an acute form of neonatal jaundice.

Instability of Public Health Insurance Coverage for Children and Their Families: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies
L. Summer and C. Mann, June 2006. Coverage instability for children and families can largely be averted by adopting key policies and procedures, like limiting the frequency of required renewals; developing easy, seamless transitions among public coverage programs; and setting affordable limits on premium costs.

Automatically Enrolling Eligible Children and Families Into Medicaid and SCHIP: Opportunities, Obstacles, and Options for Federal Policymakers
S. Dorn and G. M. Kenney, June 2006. This study assesses the potential impact of automatically enrolling children and parents in Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) based on determinations of other means-tested programs.

Facilitating Implementation of Evidence-Based Guidelines in Hospital Settings: Learning From Trauma Centers
A. March, June 2006. The Commonwealth Fund and the Brain Trauma Foundation supported this examination of the challenges of translating guidelines for management of severe brain injury into practice--and shows how some hospital trauma centers have overcome them.

Quality Matters: Implementing Clinical Guidelines
The Commonwealth Fund, June 2006. Artemis March, Ph.D., M.B.A., examines the roles of clinical guidelines, protocols, and pathways in quality improvement; news briefs; and publications of note.

Health Savings Accounts: Why They Won't Cure What Ails U.S. Health Care
S. R. Collins, June 28, 2006. In invited testimony before the House Ways & Means Committee, the Fund's assistant vice president said there is no evidence backing the claim that Americans spend too much on health care because they are protected from its real cost--one of the principal justifications put forth by those promoting HSAs coupled with high-deductible health plans.

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. The authors present strategies for integrating developmental screening into pediatric offices, drawing from the experience of North Carolina, which has in place a comprehensive system to increase screening rates.

States in Action: A Quarterly Look at Innovations in Health Policy
S. Silow-Carroll and F. Pervez, Summer 2006. In this issue: a profile of Wisconsin's public-private partnership to promote transparency, snapshots of coverage expansion efforts in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont, and more.

How Much More Cost-Sharing Will Health Savings Accounts Bring?
D. K. Remler and S. A. Glied. Health Affairs, July/Aug. 2006. The tax subsidy associated with health savings accounts actually helps reduce out-of-pocket costs for people who spend the least and the most on health care, while increasing cost-sharing for those in the midrange of spending.

Special Issue: Technology for Patient-Centered, Collaborative Care
D. Berwick, J. H. Wasson, D. J. Johnson et al. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, July/Sept. 2006. In this special issue of the journal, articles supported by The Commonwealth Fund discuss key issues central to achieving fundamental changes in patient-centered, collaborative care.

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