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Call for Papers for HSR Theme Issue on Payment Reform

Research Activities, June 2009, No. 346

In 2008, Health Services Research (HSR) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) partnered to introduce a new feature at the journal—a Theme Issue—in which we publish groundbreaking health services research on a topic of major significance to the Nation. The call for papers on "Improving Efficiency and Value in Health Care" brought submissions on ways to improve the value of health care and resulted in a body of work that substantially advanced the science and informed the dialogue on measuring and improving efficiency.

This year, HSR and AHRQ are again partnering to publish a Theme Issue on a second critically important topic: Payment Reform.

As the country struggles to find a way out of the perfect storm of rising costs, falling access, and uncertain quality, there is widespread agreement that changes in the payment system must be part of the solution. Public and private payers have been experimenting for several years by tweaking the way they pay for care, but so far there has been little comparable evidence about the intended and unintended consequences of different approaches.

A major goal of the Theme Issue on Payment Reform is to collect and present solid evidence about this experimentation to inform future payment initiatives. In addition, we hope to provide a strong basis in theory and evidence to ground the thinking of those in the public and private sectors considering more comprehensive or radical changes in payment that go beyond the current experiments. In sum, the goal of this second theme issue with AHRQ is to produce the best science possible to inform the future of payment reform. Given the salience and urgency of this theme to health care reform, HSR plans to highlight this set of papers by using the Theme Issue peer review strategy to identify the best papers and then to collaborate with AHRQ on an ambitious dissemination plan for selected papers.

We are soliciting the following types of submissions:

  • Research, evaluations, or policy analyses using rigorous methods to assess the impact of efforts to improve health care by changing the way we pay for care (such as pay-for-performance, noncoverage of healthcare-acquired conditions, bundled payments, and shared savings) or by encouraging consumers to use evidence-based, high-quality services (for example, through evidence-based benefit design or provider tiering). Research can include experience outside the United States, provided the applicability of lessons to the United States is clear.
  • Models, simulations, and related theoretical work to provide scientific grounding for consideration of more comprehensive or ambitious payment models for the future.
  • Comparative evidence is of particular interest, e.g., comparing patient-oriented reform to provider-oriented schemes, and evidence about intended and unintended consequences or short- and long-term impact.

The deadline for initial submission of manuscripts is June 23, 2009. Criteria for selection of manuscripts include:

  1. Quality, rigor, and originality.
  2. Significance and usefulness for informing public and private sector payment strategies.
  3. Clarity of writing and presentation.

For this Theme Issue, HSR welcomes research using large and well-validated datasets as well as well-done qualitative or mixed-methods research. AHRQ datasets and measures, such as the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), Quality Indicators, and CAHPS are also welcome and encouraged. All manuscripts must follow the "Instructions for Authors," (

Manuscripts submitted for the Theme Issue will first undergo the same HSR peer review process as all regular manuscripts and will be evaluated using HSR's usual high standards for publication. Manuscripts that are accepted for HSR typically undergo several cycles of revisions. However, because of the timeline for publishing the Theme Issue, HSR will monitor their progress through review cycles and authors should expect to be especially timely in returning revisions for these manuscripts. At this stage, all manuscripts accepted will be guaranteed to appear either in a regular issue of HSR or may be selected for the Theme Issue, as described below. All will be processed by Blackwell-Wiley using the usual procedure for regular manuscripts accepted at HSR including being published electronically within a few weeks of acceptance using Blackwell-Wiley's Early View process. Articles published through Early View are fully published and can be cited as such.

Accepted articles submitted for the Theme Issue will undergo an additional selection process and approximately 8 to 10 articles will be selected, based on the most original and significant work addressing this theme. Accepted manuscripts that are not selected for the Theme Issue will be automatically scheduled for print publication in a regular issue and their place in the queue will be determined solely on date of acceptance, as for regular manuscripts.

The anticipated publication date in print for the Theme Issue is August 2010.

Key dates for authors:

June 23, 2009 (5 p.m., P.S.T.): Submission deadline of manuscripts for the Theme Issue.
May 5, 2010: Notification of assignment of accepted manuscripts to the Theme Issue or Regular Issue
August 2010: Print Publication Date for Theme Issue

Current as of June 2009
Internet Citation: Call for Papers for HSR Theme Issue on Payment Reform: Research Activities, June 2009, No. 346. June 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.