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Newsletter Article


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

Beyond Our Walls: Impact of Patient and Provider Coordination Across the Continuum on Outcomes for Surgical Patients. D. B. Weinberg, J. Hoffer Gittell, R. W. Lusenhop et al. Health Services Research. February 2007. Knee surgery patients who reported breakdowns in communication with their providers experienced greater pain, lower functioning, and decreased satisfaction following their procedure.

Caring for an Aging America, Invited Testimony: U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. M. J. Koren. February 15, 2007. The Commonwealth Fund's Mary Jane Koren describes the challenges the health care system faces as society ages and makes recommendations for strengthening the system for America's seniors.

Enhancing Value in Medicare: Demonstrations and Other Initiatives to Improve the Program. S. Guterman and M. P. Serber. January 2007. Medicare is undertaking a number of demonstrations aimed at improving the quality and coordination of services provided to its beneficiaries. This Fund report examines Medicare's efforts to play a more active role in ensuring that it purchases appropriate, high-quality, and efficient health care for its beneficiaries.

State Strategies to Expand Health Insurance Coverage: Trends and Lessons for Policymakers. A. Burton, I. Friedenzohn, and E. Martinez-Vidal. February 2007. Frustrated by the lack of federal response to the nation's growing uninsured crisis, state leaders are taking matters into their own hands. This Fund report describes the latest round of state coverage expansions efforts, including those in California, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Physician–Patient Communication About Prescription Medication Nonadherence: A 50-State Study of America's Seniors. I. B. Wilson, C. Schoen, P. Neuman et al. Journal of General Internal Medicine. January 2007. Many seniors are not talking to their physicians about problems they are having with prescription medications, including side effects and costs.

The State Children's Health Insurance Program: Past, Present, and Future. J. M. Lambrew. February 2007. At the end of the 2007 fiscal year, congressional authorization for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is set to expire. This report examines the array of policy options that Congress is likely to consider.

Uninsured in America: Problems and Possible Solutions. K. Davis. BMJ. February 17, 2007. Fund president Karen Davis examines current roadblocks to universal health coverage in the U.S. and offers possible pathways to a health system in which affordable care is accessible to every American.

Public Reporting and Transparency. J. M. Colmers. February 2007. Interest in collecting and publicly reporting information about the cost and quality of health care has been growing. A new Fund report provides a short history of efforts to report information on health system performance, explores the key policy issues in play, and offers lessons from the experience of public reporting efforts to date.

State Pharmacy Assistance Programs: A Chartbook—Updated and Revised. J. Rizzo, K. Fox, T. Trail et al. January 2007. A newly updated and revised Fund chartbook documents the pre-Part D landscape of state pharmacy assistance programs, providing an important baseline for assessing states' evolving role and the impact of future policy choices.

Slowing the Growth of U.S. Health Care Expenditures: What Are the Options? K. Davis, C. Schoen, S. Guterman, T. Shih, S. C. Schoenbaum, and I. Weinbaum. January 2007. This report illuminates factors contributing to high health care expenditures and examines strategies that have the potential to achieve savings, slow spending growth, and improve U.S. health system performance.

Providing Language Services in State and Local Health-Related Benefits Offices: Examples from the Field. M. Youdelman, J. Perkins, J. D. Brooks, and D. Reid. January 2007. Many benefits offices, which help people apply for Medicaid and other public programs, lack knowledge and resources about language services. The National Health Law Program evaluated these offices and offers strategies.

Do Integrated Medical Groups Provide Higher-Quality Medical Care Than Individual Practice Associations? A. Mehrotra, A. M. Epstein and M. B. Rosenthal. Annals of Internal Medicine. December 5, 2006. Researchers find that on selected measures of care, integrated medical groups deliver higher quality to their patients than individual practice associations.

Health Care Opinion Leaders' Views on Priorities for the New Congress. A. L. Holmgren, K. Davis, S. Guterman, and B. Scholl. January 2007. Covering the uninsured tops experts' list of priorities for the new Congress, according to the ninth Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey.

Health Care Spending: An Encouraging Sign? S. C. Schoenbaum, K. Davis, and A. L. Holmgren. January 2007. This Data Brief from the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System offers perspective on the latest national health expenditure data.

Enhancing Public Hospitals' Reporting of Data on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Care. B. Siegel, M. Regenstein, K. Jones. January 2007. A Fund report assesses whether safety net hospitals treating large minority populations can use measures adopted by the Hospital Quality Alliance to collect quality data by patients' race and ethnicity.

From High Performance Health Systems Around the Globe, Invited Testimony: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. K. Davis. January 10, 2007. Fund president Karen Davis details how the U.S. health care system lags behind several other industrialized nations—and how innovations in those countries offer options for improving heath care delivery in the U.S.

Toward More Effective Use of Research in State Policymaking. J. A. Meyer, T. T. Alteras, and K. B. Adams. December 2006. Putting innovative research to work in the policymaking process takes tenacity and understanding on the part of both researchers and lawmakers. A new report presents practical lessons and communication strategies, as well as a case study of Massachusetts' groundbreaking health care reform legislation.

The Collection and Use of Funds From Civil Money Penalties and Fines From Nursing Homes. T. Tsoukalas, C. Rudder, R. J. Mollot, Esq. et al. The Gerontologist. December 2006. States could do much more with the fines they collect from nursing homes that provide substandard care, a Fund-supported study finds.

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