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Newsletter Article


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

Evidence-Informed Case Rates: A New Health Care Payment Model. F. de Brantes and J. A. Camillus. April 2007. To address the flaws of traditional payment methods, like fee-for-service and capitation, the authors suggest a new payment model, based on evidence-informed case rates.

Language Proficiency and Adverse Events in U.S. Hospitals: A Pilot Study. C. Divi, R. G. Koss, S. P. Schmaltz et al. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, April 2007. Researchers have found that hospital patients with limited English proficiency are more likely than their English-speaking counterparts to experience adverse events that result in harm--and the severity of that harm is often greater.

Pay-for-Performance in State Medicaid Programs: A Survey of State Medicaid Directors and Programs. K. Kuhmerker and T. Hartman. April 2007. More than half of all state Medicaid programs offer health care providers financial incentives to deliver better quality of care, and nearly 85 percent of states plan to have pay-for-performance programs within five years, researchers at IPRO say.

Too Sick to Work, Too Soon for Medicare: The Human Cost of the Two-Year Medicare Waiting Period for Americans with Disabilities. R. M. Hayes, D. Beebe, and H. Kreamer. April 2007. Americans under age 65 who have severe and permanent disabilities must wait two years after receiving their first disability benefit check before they are eligible for Medicare coverage. Twenty-one individuals struggling to survive the waiting period tell their stories of financial hardship, pain, and suffering.

Hospital Performance Improvement: Trends on Quality and Efficiency-A Quantitative Analysis of Performance Improvement in U.S. Hospitals. E. Kroch, M. Duan, S. Silow-Carroll et al. April 2007. This analysis finds significant improvements across U.S. hospitals in reducing mortality and increasing efficiency, with mixed results in reducing complications and morbidity. Improvements are evident at both small and large hospitals.

Hospital Quality Improvement: Strategies and Lessons from U.S. Hospitals. S. Silow-Carroll, T. Alteras, and J. A. Meyer. April 2007. How hospitals achieve and sustain improved performance in quality and effiiciency is the focus of this report. Four U.S. hospitals are profiled in depth.

Effect of Quality Improvement Organization Activities on Outpatient Diabetes Care in Eastern New York State. W. Y. Wu, J. J. Chen, A. Shih, Medical Care, December 2006. Medicare's Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) can improve outpatient diabetes care for beneficiaries, researchers say.

The Commonwealth Fund Performance Scorecard. J. Craig. March 2007. In his essay for The Commonwealth Fund Annual Report 2006, Executive Vice President and COO John E. Craig, Jr., presents a multi-indicator performance scorecard for the foundation.

The Best Health System in the World. K. Davis. March 2007. In her "President's Message" for The Commonwealth Fund Annual Report 2006, Karen Davis highlights where our current health system falls short; discusses the central messages that emerge; and, aided by real examples of high-performance health care, outlines a blueprint for change.

Medicaid: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for School Readiness. E. L. Schor, M. K. Abrams, and K. Shea. Health Affairs, March/April 2007. The debate in Congress over renewal of the State Children's Health Insurance Program has brought children's health coverage to the forefront of the political agenda. A new Health Affairs article by Fund researchers provides a timely reminder that attention needs to be paid to the scope and quality of that coverage.

An Analysis of Leading Congressional Health Care Bills, 2005-2007: Part I Insurance Coverage. S. R. Collins, K. Davis, and J. L. Kriss. March 2007. This report, the first of a two-part series, compares leading congressional bills and Administration proposals to expand health insurance coverage introduced over 2005-2007.

Improving the Management of Chronic Disease at Community Health Centers. B. E. Landon, L. S. Hicks, A. J. O'Malley et al. New England Journal of Medicine, March 1, 2007. A large federal initiative to improve chronic disease care for community health center patients has "significantly improved" processes of care for asthma and diabetes, say researchers at Harvard Medical School.

Paying for Care Episodes and Care Coordination. K. Davis. New England Journal of Medicine, March 15, 2007. In a recent editorial, Fund president Karen Davis explores alternatives to the current fee-for-service payment system, which she says is a barrier to effective, coordinated, and efficient care.

Quality Matters: Patient-Centered Care, March/April 2007. In this issue: Can centering care on the needs and preferences of patients actually help to improve quality? Plus, a case study of how Bronson Methodist Hospital is putting patients and families at the center of its strategy to improve clinical outcomes, patient experience, and corporate performance.

Fundamental Reform of Payment for Adult Primary Care: Comprehensive Payment for Comprehensive Care. A. H. Goroll, R. A. Berenson, S. C. Schoenbaum, et al. Journal of General Internal Medicine, March 2007. A group of leading health policy experts propose replacing the current encounter-based system with a per-patient payment system--and offering new incentives for physicians to provide effective and efficient primary care.

States in Action: A Bimonthly Look at Innovations in Health Policy. S. Silow-Carroll and T. Alteras. March/April 2007. In this issue: States seek to strengthen the overall performance of the health system, in addition to expanding coverage. Plus, the first statewide health data network, in Delaware; Pennsylvania hospitals improve control of hospital infections; Washington State integrates physical and behavioral health services; and more.

Administrative Costs for Advance Payment of Health Coverage Tax Credits: An Initial Analysis. S. Dorn. March 2007. New federal initiatives to cover the uninsured include many proposals to use fully refundable federal income tax credits to subsidize uninsured individuals' purchase of coverage. This issue brief points out that policymakers can learn from the country's only current use of tax credits to cover the uninsured-the federal Health Coverage Tax Credit program.

How Stable Is Medicaid Coverage for Children? G. L. Fairbrother, H. Park Emerson, and L. Partridge. Health Affairs, March/April 2007. A Fund-supported examination of Medicaid enrollment data in Health Affairs shows that while Medicaid provides long-term, continuous coverage for millions of children, it creates a "revolving door" for others through breaks in coverage caused by periodic eligibility checks.

Transforming the U.S. Child Health System. N. Halfon, H. DuPlessis, and M. Inkelas. Health Affairs, March/April 2007. In this Health Affairs article, UCLA researchers working with Fund support look at the problems plaguing the child health system and propose an agenda for radical system change. Instead of a patchwork of programs and funding, the authors recommend integrated care that takes a more comprehensive approach to optimizing health development.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's 2006 National Healthcare Quality Report. S. C. Schoenbaum, D. McCarthy, and C. Schoen. March 2007. A new Data Brief from the Fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System analyzes some of the state variation in performance described in a recent federal report.

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