Putting Patients First: Developing and Maintaining Patient-Centered Medical Practices

Source: Martha Ross and Kathy Patrick, Brookings Institution, October 24, 2007

Focus groups of low-income Washington, DC residents conducted by the DCPCA Medical Homes DC project identified multiple barriers to health care access and problems within the system. The identified barriers are common across the country, especially among low-income and minority populations, and the paper recommends several promising practices that health centers can enact to improve access to care and the patient experience.

2007-2008 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard

Source: Corporation for Enterprise Development, 2007

From the summary:
The 2007-2008 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard contains evidence that even profound and enduring ownership patterns can change and change fast. In the two years since the release of the 2005 Scorecard, median net worth jumped 20% nationwide, while it jumped 68% for women and more than doubled for minorities. Most of these gains have come as a result of increasing homeownership and home values, and are therefore at risk that as interest rates rise and grace periods end, foreclosure rates will also rise. The results underscore the efficacy of housing finance and credit innovation and the need for policing and reigning-in predatory lending.

Yet, the most important message of the 2007-2008 Scorecard, like its two predecessors, is the disparity in asset ownership – and, consequently, economic opportunity–among states, and by race, gender and income.

Guide to the Scorecard

The Alternative Minimum Tax: Assault on the Middle Class

Source: Leonard E. Burman, Urban Institute, October 29, 2007

From the abstract:
In a tax code with no shortage of ironies, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) stands out. Created by Congress in 1969, it was aimed at millionaires, but relatively few millionaires pay it. It is billed as a low-rate levy, but most of its victims face higher taxes because of it. It undermines two widely lauded reforms of the income tax–restoring both bracket creep and the marriage penalty. And though nobody favors keeping this Frankenstein alive, it will be very difficult to kill. Welcome to the tax policy twilight zone.

Breaking the Code of Silence: Correctional Officers’ Handbook on Identifying and Addressing Sexual Misconduct with Offenders

Source: Brenda V. Smith and Jaime M. Yarussi, National Institute of Corrections, American University Washington College of Law Project on Addressing Prison Rape

This handbook is based on training we have conducted on staff sexual misconduct over the past eight years, and the feedback and comments that we have received from correctional professionals who have attended those trainings and implemented changes in their system to prevent sexual abuse of individuals under custodial supervision.

This publication is a critical step in reaching out to rank-and-file correctional staff in order to address the code of silence that surrounds staff sexual misconduct with offenders. We hope that it will deepen the dialogue between line staff, administrators, community leaders, and criminal justice advocates about strategies to eliminate staff sexual misconduct with individuals under custodial supervision.

This handbook aims to educate correctional professionals at all levels on:
• why correctional staff and administrators need to be concerned about staff sexual misconduct with offenders
• how agency culture and the workplace environment influence staff sexual misconduct
• the tools that will help identify and address staff sexual misconduct
• the consequences of staff sexual misconduct with offenders
• the investigative process that should follow an allegation of staff sexual misconduct
• how correctional staff members can keep the workplace safe

Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants in the United States

Source: Aaron Terrazas, Jeanne Batalova, Velma Fan, Migration Policy Institute, October 2007

The US debate over immigration policy has raised many questions about immigrants — their origins, numbers and characteristics, as well as who has settled in which states.

This Spotlight provides answers to many of these frequently asked questions by bringing together resources from the Migration Policy Institute, the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Decennial Census, US Departments of Homeland Security and State, and Mexico’s National Population Council.

Honoring the Call to Duty: Veterans’ Disability Benefits in the 21st Century

Source: Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission, October 2007

From the press release:
The Commission’s report provides 113 recommendations that would help to ensure that the benefit fairly compensates the service-disabled veterans and their families, as well as help them live with dignity as they rehabilitate and reintegrate into civilian life.

Lobbyists Get Local

Source: Julia Pflaum, Center for Responsive Politics, October 4, 2007

Professional Washington lobbyists are increasingly becoming middlemen between the federal government and cities and states–so much so that the amount of money spent by city and state governments to lobby Washington has doubled since 2000, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
• Includes a chart: Top 15 City and State Entities to Spend Money on Federal Lobbying in 2007

Health Care Cost and Access Challenges Persist

Source: Debra A. Draper and Paul B. Ginsburg, Center for Studying Health System Change, Issue Brief No. 114, October 2007

From press release:
Little has changed in local health care markets since 2005 to break the cycle of rising costs, declining insurance coverage and widening access inequities, according to initial findings from the Center for Studying Health System Change’s (HSC) 2007 site visits to 12 nationally representative metropolitan communities.

Two years ago, HSC researchers identified several troubling trends warning of growing cost and access problems, including a hospital building boom; intense competition among hospitals and physicians to expand profitable specialty services; growing stress on community safety nets; and few cost-control strategies on the part of employers and health plans.