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New IOM report focuses on funding health improvement rather than financing health system reform

” . . . it is no longer sufficient to expect that reforms in the medical care delivery system (for example, changes in payment, access and quality) alone will improve the public’s health.”

The Institute of Medicine has issued the third and final report of a series on public health that focuses on how altering the fundamental physical and social environment will lead to improved health in the general population, an essential requirement of any effective reform of the system that delivers health care services.

For the Public’s Health: Investing in a Healthier Future addresses its thesis in four chapter:

  • Introduction and Context
  • Reforming Public Health and Its Financing
  • Informing Investment in Health
  • Funding Sources and Structures to Build Public Health

The committee responsible for the report also propose ten recommendations, among which are the following:

  • Greater legislative/regulatory flexibility in the allocation of funds by state and local health agencies in pursuit of public health improvement initiatives;
  • Reduction in the provision of clinical care services by public health agencies so that they can focus on the delivery of population-based services, such as nurse home visits and health promotion activities;
  • Development of  a model chart of accounts for use by public health agencies to improve their tracking of funds and measuring program effectiveness;
  • Doubling the current federal appropriation for public health, with periodic adjustments to ensure public health agencies’ ability to deliver a minimum package of services;
  • Reallocation of state and local funds from paying for services currently reimbursed through Medicaid or state health insurance exchanges to financing population-based prevention and health promotion initiatives conducted by public health departments. 

Source: Institute of Medicine.  For the Public’s Health: Investing in a Healthier Future.  Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2012.  Free online edition at: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13268.

The two previous reports are also available online.

For the Public’s Health: Revitalizing Law and Policy to Meet New Challenges.  2011.  http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13093

or the Public’s Health: The Role of Measurement in Action and Accountability. 2010.  http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13005

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