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Archive for March, 2010




The Maine Health Access Foundation: How It Has Used Facebook


March 30th, 2010
by Len Bartel

Earlier this month at Grantmakers In Health’s Annual Meeting, my presentation was titled “The Promise. The Tool. The Bargain: Maine Health Access Foundation’s Use of Facebook.” Clay Shirky, in his book Here Comes Everybody, uses this wording and reminds us that these social media platforms are only tools—they are not an end, but a means […]

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Moving Toward a Robust Comparative Effectiveness Research Enterprise


March 30th, 2010
 
by Robert Mechanic and Darren Zinner

Editor’s Note: Most health policy analysts believe that better evidence about quality and value, obtained through comparative effectiveness research (CER), can drive better clinical decision making and could potentially slow the rate of growth in health care spending.  But the success of any national CER initiatives will depend on how evidence is developed, whether it […]

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Reflections on GIH’s “Web 2.0: New Tools for Engagement” Session


March 29th, 2010

Those who have worked in the health field for any length of time have surely encountered the “stages of change” model, which posits that individual behavior change goes through five stages: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. It is my observation that foundations go through a similar process as they enter the realm of social […]

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Eight Rules From The Heart Of Power: How Did Obama Do?


March 29th, 2010
by Jeff Goldsmith

Last fall, David Blumenthal and James Morone published a timely history of the presidential handling of health reform from Franklin Roosevelt onward, called The Heart of Power (see my review in Health Affairs). At the end of the book, they offered eight rules for presidential management of health reform distilled from the experience of the past […]

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CMS Nominee Berwick On Empowering Patients And Improving Quality


March 28th, 2010
by Chris Fleming

Don Berwick, President Obama’s reported nominee to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has been a leading voice for improving clinical quality and empowering patients, themes he has discussed in the pages of Health Affairs. Patient-Centered Care. In “What ‘Patient-Centered’ Should Mean: Confessions Of An Extremist,” a Health Affairs Web Exclusive article published last […]

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Social Media and Philanthropy: First Signs of Spring?


March 26th, 2010
by Larry Blumenthal

I noticed something a little unusual at a workshop earlier this month. I’ve been doing a lot of speaking recently on social media and philanthropy, and I often start presentations with some questions to gauge the mindset of the group. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to uncover a lot of skepticism among foundation folks–especially program staff–about […]

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Mary Jane Koren Receives Grantmakers In Health Award


March 25th, 2010
by Lee-Lee Prina

Mary Jane Koren, an assistant vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, received the Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy at an 11 March 2010 luncheon during Grantmakers In Health’s (GIH’s) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. Koren, an internist and geriatrician, heads Commonwealth’s Quality of Care for Frail Elders Program and manages the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University […]

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Does Displaying Calorie Counts Lead To Healthier Eating?


March 24th, 2010
by Chris Fleming

One of the lesser-known provisions of the newly passed health reform legislation will require restaurant chains to post calorie counts on menus and drive-through signs. Will people consume fewer calories as a result? Here’s what Brian Elbel and coauthors reported in Health Affairs last year about the effect of a calorie-count display law already in effect in New […]

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How Would Health Reform Affect The Uninsured?


March 24th, 2010
by Chris Fleming

In an appearance on the PBS NewsHour last night, Health Affairs Editor in Chief Susan Dentzer broke down the composition of America’s uninsured population and discussed how health reform is expected to extend coverage to 32 million uninsured people. Dentzer described the planned expansion of Medicaid and the creation of state-based exchanges for individuals and small businesses that would feature […]

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Health Care In Haiti: The Foundation Response


March 23rd, 2010
by Lee-Lee Prina

After the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, many foundations have stepped forward with a wide range of funding and assistance. The Council on Foundations lists more than 100 diverse grantmakers who have helped in Haiti. The site describes efforts by various types of foundations, as well as by corporate donors, including Amgen, Baxter International, […]

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Health Reform Is Here: What Happens Now?


March 23rd, 2010
by Chris Fleming

Now that the President has signed health reform legislation, what happens next? Health Affairs editor-in-chief Susan Dentzer addressed that question in an appearance last night on the PBS NewsHour. In an interview with Jeffrey Brown, Dentzer discussed reform’s impact on the private insurance market, touching on how the new law will affect both insurers and […]

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Private-Payer Hospital Profits Can Lead To Negative Medicare Margins


March 23rd, 2010
by Chris Fleming

In an article published March 18 by Health Affairs, researchers at the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission challenge a common assumption about Medicare patients and hospital profit margins. The study finds that hospitals with strong market power lose money on Medicare patients because these hospitals tend to have high cost structures. In contrast, hospitals less able to […]

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Abortion Agreement Clears Way For Health Reform (Updated)


March 21st, 2010
by Chris Fleming

The passage of health reform legislation, which once seemed inevitable, then seemed far less likely with the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, now seems close to inevitable again. By agreeing to issue an executive order continuing current policy against the use of public funds for abortion, the White House won the support of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) […]

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All High-Risk Pools Are Not Equal: Examining The Minnesota Model


March 19th, 2010
 
by Courtney Burke and Lynn Blewett

As House Democrats are attempting to move a health reform bill forward this week, it is worth noting that at least one part of the plan before Congress has support from Republicans, many Democrats in the House and Senate, and President Obama: high-risk pools for people with expensive or preexisting medical conditions. High-risk pools can help hard-to-insure […]

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The Health Care Reform Reconciliation Bill (Updated)


March 19th, 2010
by Timothy Jost

**An update added the afternoon of March 20 at the end of this post provides a brief summation of the manager’s amendment to the health reform reconciliation bill being considered by the House.** The House began its last step in the health reform legislative process early in the afternoon of Thursday, March 18, when it […]

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Foundations Striving to Prevent Obesity


March 19th, 2010
by Lee-Lee Prina

Health Affairs focuses on child obesity in its March 2010 issue and is publishing related content throughout the month of March, including a Web First article and Health Affairs Blog posts from Sen. Tom Harkin and Sen. Mike Enzi. For the GrantWatch Blog, we offer here a round-up of obesity funding news. RWJF Program Director Testifies at Senate […]

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New Health Wonk Review Is Up


March 18th, 2010
by Chris Fleming

It’s March Madness, and over at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s blog, “The Users’ Guide to the Health Reform Galaxy,” Minna Jung serves up the madness of both the basketball court and the health care reform process in this week’s Health Wonk Review.

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CBO Gives Democrats Good News On Health Reform


March 18th, 2010
by Chris Fleming

Breaking news this morning provides some cheer for Democrats on health reform. The Congressional Budget Office reportedly will release this afternoon a preliminary analysis of the Senate-passed health reform bill as modified by a separate “reconciliation” measure, and the numbers look favorable for Democrats. According to reports, CBO estimates that the combined package will cost $940 billion over the […]

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Individual Market Premium Increases: The Debate Continues


March 17th, 2010
 
by Jonathan Kolstad and Neeraj Sood

Editor’s Note: Anthem Blue Cross of California, the largest health insurance company in California, recently announced plans to increase insurance premiums by as much as 39 percent for people insured in their non-group health insurance plans. There are two competing narratives about this dramatic and unprecedented premium increase, wrote Jonathan Kolstad and Neeraj Sood in a […]

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Helping States Enhance Health Care Quality


March 16th, 2010
by Lee-Lee Prina

As health spending in the United States tops 17 percent of GDP, policymakers are asking for higher quality outcomes in health care. A GrantWatch article in the March 2010 issue of Health Affairs, discusses the State Quality Improvement Institute, which was created by the Commonwealth Fund and AcademyHealth, “to assist states in implementing sustainable quality […]

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