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Newsletter Article


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

Insurance Design Matters: Underinsured Trends, Health and Financial Risks, and Principles for Reform. C. Schoen. Feb. 24, 2009. Testifying at a U.S. Senate hearing on health reform focused on the underinsured, Commonwealth Fund senior vice president Cathy Schoen made the case for redesigning health insurance so that it "provides affordable coverage for all in a manner that ensures access to health care and financial protection" as well as "a more secure foundation for payment and system reforms."

The Path to a High Performance U.S. Health System: A 2020 Vision and the Policies to Pave the Way. The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System. Feb. 2009. A comprehensive set of insurance, payment, and system reforms could guarantee affordable health insurance coverage, improve health outcomes, and slow the growth of health spending by $3 trillion by the end of the next decade.

Investing in Health Care Reform. K. Davis. New England Journal of Medicine, Feb. 26, 2009. Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis discusses recommendations from the Commission on a High Performance Health System’s Feb. 2009 report.

Special Needs Plans and the Coordination of Benefits and Services for Dual Eligibles. D. C. Grabowski. Health Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2009. Designed largely to improve care coordination, improve quality of care, and reduce the costs for treating high-risk, high-cost Medicare/Medicaid “dual eligible” beneficiaries, Special Needs Plans often do not coordinate their benefits with state Medicaid programs.

Patient Provider Communication About the Health Effects of Obesity. N. H. Durant, B. Bartman, S. D. Person et al. Patient Education and Counseling, Nov. 26, 2008. This study of overweight and obese patients found disparities in how patients of different racial and ethnic backgrounds perceive the health effects of their weight.

Searching for a Business Case for Quality in Medicaid Managed Care. S. B. Greene, K. L. Reiter, K. E. Kilpatrick et al. Health Care Management Review, Oct.–Dec. 2008. Medicaid managed care organizations can recoup the costs—and even earn a return on investment—for implementing quality-enhancing interventions that target high-risk, high-cost beneficiaries.

High Medical Cost Burdens, Patient Trust, and Perceived Quality of Care. P. J. Cunningham. Journal of General Internal Medicine, Dec. 20, 2008. Patients with higher medical costs have less faith in their physician's medical decision-making and more negative assessments of the quality of care they receive.

Patient Centeredness, Cultural Competence, and Healthcare Quality. S. Saha, M. C. Beach, and L. A. Cooper. Journal of the National Medical Association, Nov. 2008. A comparison of the histories of patient centeredness and cultural competence in health care delivery reveals that, despite some differences, these quality initiatives share many of the same core concepts.

Closing the Quality Chasm: Opportunities and Strategies for Moving Toward a High Performance Health System. K. Davis. Jan. 26, 2009. In her invited testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Karen Davis reviews how the nation can simultaneously address how we organize and deliver health services to ensure the best possible health outcomes and the best value.

Health Information Technology and Physician Perceptions of Quality of Care and Satisfaction. K. Davis, M. M. Doty, K. Shea, and K. Stremikis. Health Policy, Nov. 25, 2008. Findings from a Commonwealth Fund survey concludes that adoption of health information technology is highly variable across countries, with the United States lagging well behind.

Using Medicare Payment Policy to Transform the Health System: A Framework for Improving Performance. S. Guterman, K. Davis, S. C. Schoenbaum, and A. Shih. Health Affairs, Jan. 27, 2009. By using payment incentives, Medicare, the nation's largest health care payer, could lead the United States to higher health system performance and yield great benefits.

Clinical Information Technologies and Inpatient Outcomes: A Multiple Hospital Study. R. Amarasingham, L. Plantinga, M. Diener-West et al. Archives of Internal Medicine, Jan. 26, 2009. This cross-sectional study of urban hospitals in Texas found that those with automated clinical information systems had fewer complications, lower mortality rates, and lower costs.

The Federal Role in Promoting Health Information Technology. D. Blumenthal. Jan. 2009. A national expert on health IT argues that the federal government can help providers overcome the financial, technical, and logistical obstacles to adoption of these technologies.

Maintaining Health Insurance During a Recession: Likely COBRA Eligibility. M. M. Doty, S. D. Rustgi, C. Schoen, and S. R. Collins. As unemployment rates reach the highest levels in 16 years, an analysis shows that only 9 percent of laid-off workers took up coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) in 2006.

You Can Get There from Here: Mapping the Way to a Transformed U.S. Health System. K. Davis. Jan. 2009. Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis calls for federal leadership to move swiftly to change direction and put the U.S. health system on the path to high performance.

Health Care Opinion Leaders' Views on Priorities for the Obama Administration. K. Stremikis, S. R. Collins, K. Davis, and S. Guterman. Jan. 2009. President Obama's health care plan should expand coverage while also improving quality and efficiency and controlling costs, say the experts polled in the latest Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey. Participants strongly supported expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) immediately.

The Swiss and Dutch Health Insurance Systems: Universal Coverage and Regulated Competitive Insurance Markets. R. E. Leu, F. F. H. Rutten, W. Brouwer et al. Jan. 2009. This report provides an overview of the Swiss and Dutch insurance systems, which combine universal coverage with private insurance and regulated market competition.

A Tracking and Feedback Registry to Reduce Racial Disparities in Breast Cancer Care. N. A. Bickell, K. Shastri, K. Fei et al. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dec. 3, 2008. A patient tracking and feedback registry used by a group of New York City hospitals for treating breast cancer patients improved outcomes and eliminated racial disparities in treatment.

Readiness for the Patient-Centered Medical Home: Structural Capabilities of Massachusetts Primary Care Practices. M. W. Friedberg, D. G. Safran, K. L. Coltin et al. Journal of General Internal Medicine, Dec. 3, 2008. A survey of physicians at primary care practices in Massachusetts found that larger, network-affiliated practices are more likely than smaller, non-affiliated practices to meet standards for a patient-centered medical home.

Aiming High for the U.S. Health System: A Context for Health Reform. K. Davis, C. Schoen, K. Shea, and C. Haran. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Winter 2008. An overview of results from The Commonwealth Fund's 2008 National Scorecard on Health System Performance.

Getting and Keeping Coverage: States' Experience with Citizenship Documentation Rules. L. Summer. Jan. 2009. A new Commonwealth Fund report examines the impact recent citizenship documentation rules have had on the stability of health insurance coverage for low-income children covered by state public programs. It finds that getting and keeping coverage has become more difficult for many families.

An Analysis of Leading Congressional Health Care Bills, 2007–2008: Part I, Insurance Coverage. S. R. Collins, J. L. Nicholson, and S. D. Rustgi. Jan. 2009. An analysis of leading bills of the 110th Congress aimed at expanding and improving health insurance.

Expanding SCHIP: A Downpayment on Health Reform. S. A. Glied. Jan. 2009. In this essay, Columbia University's Sherry Glied, Ph.D., says the Children's Health Insurance Program could be used to achieve universal coverage for U.S. children.

What Works in Chronic Care Management: The Case of Heart Failure. J. Sochalski, T. Jaarsma, H. M. Krumholz et al. Health Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2009. Chronic care management programs that use multidisciplinary clinician teams and in-person communication can reduce hospital readmissions.

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