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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: Dec. 2, 2008
RWJF Announces $300-Million Commitment To Improve Quality of U.S. Healthcare

With increasing reports of dangerous deficiencies in the quality of healthcare, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) launched a $300-million commitment to improve quality in regions across the United States.

Underscoring the scope of the problem, RWJF also released new research showing that the quality of care people receive can vary dramatically depending on their race and where they live.

The $300-million commitment to improve healthcare in 14 communities, that together cover 11 percent of the U.S. population, is the largest effort of its kind ever undertaken by a U.S. philanthropy, RWJF said.

Known as Aligning Forces for Quality, the community-focused program will lift the overall quality of healthcare, reduce racial and ethnic disparities and provide models for national reform.

"Across America, there are serious gaps between the healthcare that people should receive and the care they actually receive," said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of RWJF. "Despite having the most expensive healthcare system in the world, patients are subject to too many mistakes, too much miscommunication and too much inequity. As a result, too many Americans aren’t receiving the care they need and deserve. This unprecedented commitment of resources, expertise and training will turn proven practices for improving quality into real results in communities across America."

The new research, conducted by the Dartmouth Atlas Project at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice for the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative, analyzes Medicare claims to illustrate staggering variations in healthcare quality across the country. Researchers examined five different measures of care at the state level and in the 14 Aligning Forces for Quality communities.

Researchers found significant differences by race and by region in whether patients lost a leg to amputation, a complication of peripheral vascular disease and diabetes, RWJF said.

The report also demonstrates significant differences in whether people get basic recommended care — such as women getting regular mammography tests or patients with diabetes getting essential blood tests.

About one in seven patients with diabetes are not getting crucial blood tests.

Aligning Forces for Quality will concentrate its resources in 14 communities across the country:

  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Detroit, Mich.
  • Humboldt County, Calif.
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • Maine
  • Memphis, Tenn.
  • Minnesota
  • Seattle, Wash.
  • South Central Pennsylvania
  • Western Michigan
  • Western New York
  • Willamette Valley, Ore.
  • Wisconsin

They were selected as part of a highly competitive process to find communities that were positioned to make fundamental and cutting-edge changes to rebuild their healthcare systems.

Address: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Route 1 and College Road East, P.O. Box 2316, Princeton, NJ 08543; (877) 843-7953,

  This article was taken from:
The Executive Report on Managed Care

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