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September 5, 2003, Issue No. 108
AHRQ News and Numbers
In 2001, average health insurance premiums were $2,889 for single coverage and $7,509 for family coverage. Premiums increased 8.8 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively, over 2000, continuing a trend of increasing premiums each year since 1996. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #23, Employer-Sponsored Single, Employee-Plus-One and Family Health Insurance Coverage: Selection and Cost, 2001 (PDF File, 161 KB; PDF Help).]
- Special note to AHRQ LISTSERV® subscribers
- AHRQ study identifies key symptoms differentiating inhaled anthrax from flu
- Grants awarded to help health care providers promote healthy behaviors among their patients
- AHRQ-HRSA Web-assisted audioconference on Monitoring the Health Care Safety Net set for September 23-25
- Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day is September 16
- Community pharmacists' interventions conference set for September 19
- Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services scheduled for September 20-23
- International Child Health Services Research meeting set for September 20
- AHRQ in the professional literature
1. Special Note to AHRQ LISTSERV® Subscribers
AHRQ asks for your patience as the technology community continues to deal with this latest virus outbreak. Many of you have received hundreds or even thousands of E-mails from seemingly legitimate mail addresses such as list.ahrq.gov. AHRQ has investigated the root causes of the E-mail complaints we have received, and none of these E-mail messages are originating from AHRQ-maintained equipment. These E-mails are being generated from systems that are infected with a virus and have "spoofed" our address. In essence, these machines are masquerading as a legitimate AHRQ E-mail account.
Here is how it works: W32.Sobig.F@mm uses a technique known as "spoofing," by which the worm randomly selects an address it finds on an infected computer. The worm uses this address as the "From" address when it performs its mass-mailing routine. Numerous cases have been reported in which users of uninfected computers received complaints that they sent an infected message to another individual.
For example, Linda Anderson is using a computer infected with W32.Sobig.F@mm. Linda is neither using an antivirus program nor has the current virus definitions. When W32.Sobig.F@mm performs its E-mail routine, it finds the E-mail address of Harold Logan. The worm inserts Harold's E-mail address into the "From" portion of an infected message, which it then sends to Janet Bishop. Then, Janet contacts Harold and complains that he sent her an infected message; however, when Harold scans his computer, Norton AntiVirus does not find anything because his computer is not infected.
The messages you may have received are most likely not infected with a virus. These SPAM/SPOOFED messages are a symptom of an infected machine. We ask your patience as these viruses are eliminated from around the Internet.
2. AHRQ Study Identifies Key Symptoms Differentiating Inhaled Anthrax From Flu
In a new study partially funded by AHRQ, researchers have identified key symptoms that may help distinguish inhalational anthrax from the flu and other common respiratory conditions in the event of a bioterrorist attack. Results of the study, which was published in the September 2 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, are being used to create the first evidence-based pre-hospital screening protocol designed for response to future anthrax attacks. By helping emergency management and public health authorities rapidly and accurately identify both potential cases and likely non-cases, this protocol, once fully tested, will help to preserve scarce hospital capacity while ensuring that patients receive appropriate advanced medical care. Select to access our press release.
3. Grants Awarded To Help Health Care Providers Promote Healthy Behaviors Among Their Patients
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AHRQ announced the first round of grants awarded through Prescription for Health, a research initiative supported by both organizations. The new multiyear projects are designed to develop effective, practical strategies that primary care providers can use to help Americans change their unhealthy behaviors. In the first phase of the new program, 17 primary care practice-based research networks (PBRNs)—groups of medical practices that affiliate to improve health care quality though research—received grants to design and test innovative projects to help primary care providers help patients become more physically active, eat healthier foods, avoid or quit smoking, and moderate alcohol use. Each project must identify strategies that can be applied in routine primary care practice that address at least two risky behaviors. Select to access our press release and the grantee list.
4. AHRQ-HRSA Web-Assisted Audioconference on Monitoring the Health Care Safety Net Set for September 23-25
AHRQ and HRSA will conduct a series of three free 90-minute national Web-assisted audioconferences September 23, 24, and 25. The purpose of these audioconferences is to inform state and community health officials about the AHRQ Safety Net Data Books and Tool Kit and teach them how they can use these new instruments to assess the performance and needs of their local safety nets. The calls will be held each day from 2:00-3:30 p.m. EDT. Select to register.
5. Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day is September 16
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson announced that HHS, ABC Radio Networks, and Radio Unica are working together to get the word out about Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day, scheduled for Tuesday, September 16. Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day is part of a national campaign that aims to close the health gap between the health of communities of color and the general population. The campaign, "Closing the Health Gap," was launched in November 2001. By encouraging individuals to visit a health care professional or make an appointment to do so on or near September 16, HHS hopes to help generate a greater understanding of the importance of regular health screenings.
6. Community Pharmacists' Interventions Conference Set for September 19
AHRQ, in partnership with the FDA, the National Quality Forum, the National Business Coalition on Health, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association, is co-sponsoring a 1-day conference to examine the growing body of research measuring the impact of community pharmacists' interventions on the public's health and safety. The conference, Providing Quality Care—Examining the Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness of Community Pharmacist Intervention, will be held on September 19 at the Loews L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC. Researchers will discuss current research and practice models and identify partnerships for the dissemination and adoption of best practices and future research. The program is designed for public and private purchasers of care, their consultants and researchers, federal and state policymakers, agency representatives and health care practitioners who can establish collaborative practices with community pharmacists. There is no registration fee for the conference, but pre-registration is required due to limited seating. For more information, call the registration department of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores at (703) 837-4300.
7. Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services Scheduled for September 20-23
The "Fifth International Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services" will be hosted by AHRQ and AcademyHealth September 20-23 in Washington, DC. This series of conferences has provided an international forum for the exchange of research findings and experiences in the use of health services research to improve access to and the quality of health care. The 2003 conference is organized around the following five themes:
- National Strategies for Organizing Health Services Research.
- Using Evidence to Improve Clinical Practice.
- Using Evidence to Improve Health Services Management.
- Using Evidence to Improve Policymaking.
- Using Evidence to Alleviate the Burden of Specific Diseases.
Select for more information and to register.
8. International Child Health Services Research Meeting Set for September 20
AHRQ is sponsoring the meeting "International Child Health Services Research: Advancing Knowledge, Informing Action, Improving Child Health Care," on Saturday, September 20, in Washington, DC. This first-ever, 1-day affiliate meeting of the "Fifth International Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services" will focus on how child health services research seeks to advance children's health care and health through the establishment of a strategic focus for international child health services research activities. By bringing together leaders from many countries, it will address the current underemphasis on children in the international dialogue on health care quality and health services improvement.
9. AHRQ in the Professional Literature
We are providing the following hyperlinks to journal abstracts through PubMed® for your convenience. Unfortunately, some of you may not be able to access the abstracts because of firewalls or specific settings on your individual computer systems. If you are having problems, you should ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.
Egede LE, Bonadonna, RJ. Diabetes self-management in African Americans: an exploration of the role of fatalism. Diabetes Educ 2003 Jan-Feb;29(1):105-15. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.
Schafermeyer RW, Asplin BR. Hospital and emergency department crowding in the United States. Emerg Med 2003 Feb;15(1):22-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.
Saag KG. Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am 2003 Mar;32(1):135-57. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.
Mukamel DB, Spector WD. Quality report cards and nursing home quality. Gerontologist 2003 Apr;43 Spec No 2:58-66. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.
Lamb RM, Studdert DM, Bohmer RM, et al. Hospital disclosure practices: results of a national survey. Health Aff 2003 Mar-Apr;22(2):73-83. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.
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Current as of September 2003