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May 12, 2000, Issue No. 7


AHRQ News and Numbers

Today's Headlines:

  1. Fiscal Year 2001 Appropriations Bill Markup
  2. Study Released in Health Affairs
  3. Differences in Hospital Admission Rates Leveling Off
  4. Nursing Home Charts
  5. Release of American Academy of Pediatrics New Guidelines for Diagnosis of ADHD
  6. Are You Using AHRQ Research?
  7. AHRQ New Publications
  8. Highlights from the Most Recent Edition of our Monthly Newsletter
  9. Did You Miss the Medical Expenditure Publication?
  10. Check Out the Job Openings at AHRQ
  11. AHRQ in the news
  12. Do You Listen to Audiotapes?
  13. Factoid

1.  Fiscal Year (FY) 2001 Appropriations Bill Mark Up

On May 10, the House and Senate Subcommittees on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies marked up their FY 2001 appropriations bills, which fund AHRQ. The House provided $223.6 million, with $20 million designated for reducing medical errors. This is an increase of $24.8 million over AHRQ's FY 2000 funding.

The Senate provided AHRQ $269.9, with $50 million earmarked for reducing medical errors. This represents an increase of $71.1 million over the FY 2000 level. Select for information from the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

On May 11, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Subcommittee's recommendation for AHRQ. The bill now moves to Senate floor for consideration. The full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the House Subcommittee's recommendations on May 24.

2.  Study Released in Health Affairs

Based on the findings of focus groups of owners and business managers of small firms, a study led by Mark W. Legnini, Dr. P.H., concluded that price and satisfying employees who want to keep their current physicians may be far more important to small businesses when negotiating health care coverage than plans' quality performance or accreditation status. When asked to rate the importance of six features of plans, owners and business managers ranked accreditation status last and clinical quality next to last. Price, physician availability, benefits and employee satisfaction scored first, second, third and fourth, respectively. The study was funded as a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant. For more information, read the May-June 2000 issue of Health Affairs for the full story.

3.  Differences in Hospital Admission Rates Leveling Off

AHRQ released a new study that shows that people enrolled in managed care plans are no longer less likely to be admitted to hospitals than are individuals covered by nonmanaged care plans. The study, which compares data from AHRQ's 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and MEPS's 1987 predecessor, the National Medical Expenditure Survey, indicates that falling hospitalization rates among non-managed care plans account for much of the change. The study found less change in hospital length of stay between the two groups over the same period. For more information, read "Leveling the Playing Field: Managed Care Enrollment and Hospital Use, 1987-1996" in the May-June 2000 issue of Health Affairs for the full story.

4.  Nursing Home Charts

AHRQ released two charts on nursing home trends that show changes in the racial and gender composition of nursing home populations from 1987 to 1996. The data are from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (www.meps.ahrq.gov).

5.  Release of American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) New Guidelines for Diagnosis of ADHD

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a May 1 press release and disseminated its new guidelines for diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In the release, they recognized AHRQ as providing significant research and background information for the new recommendations. For more information, access the AAP Web site. Exit Disclaimer

6.  Are You Using AHRQ Research?

We really want to know what kind of impact AHRQ's research is having on the health care system. Please contact us if you are using our research or if you know others who may be using our research.

7.  AHRQ New Publications

We have just released the following new publications:

  1. Fact Sheet on Reducing Errors in Health Care
  2. CAHPS® Consumer Assessment of Health Plans

8.  Highlights from the Most Recent Edition of our Monthly Newsletter

The new issue of Research Activities is in the mail. The key articles are:

  1. Hysterectomy substantially improves symptoms, physical functioning, and quality of life for some women.
  2. Newer antidepressants are as effective as older tricyclic agents.
  3. Improved nursing home quality does not necessarily have to cost more.

Select http://www.ahrq.gov/research/apr00/ to access the entire April issue.

9.  Did You Miss the Medical Expenditure Publication?

Copies of the new book recently released by Jossey-Bass are available free by calling 1-800-358-9295. The book, Informing American Health Care Policy: The Dynamics of Medical Expenditure and Insurance Surveys, 1977-1996, provides a critical perspective on national medical expenditure surveys from AHRQ. The surveys are the National Medical Care Expenditure Survey, conducted in 1977; the National Medical Expenditure Survey, conducted in 1987; and the ongoing Medical Expenditure Panel Survey that began in 1996.

10.  Check Out the Job Openings at AHRQ

Select http://www.ahrq.gov/about/vacancy.htm to see the complete list.

11.  AHRQ in the News

Bureau of National Affairs. AHRQ hospitalization data now available in central location. BNA's HCPR 2000 Apr 17;8(16):624. (Part of AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project [HCUP] State Inpatient Databases [SID].)

Cutler CM and Sherwood K. Prevention in managed care: examples and opportunities. Prev Med Managed Care 2000 Mar-Apr; 1(1):17-23. (Cites U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines.)

Eisenberg JM. Reporting medical errors [Editorial]. Intern Med News 2000 Mar 13;13.

F-D-C Reports. AHRQ patient safety center adopted in Senate medical errors bill. Blue Sheet 2000 April 12;43(15):6. (Bill implements Institute of Medicine recommendations, authorizes an additional $105 million in AHRQ funding from Fiscal Year 2001 to 2003.)

Gresenz CR, Stockdate SE, and Wells KB. Community effects on access to behavioral health care. Health Serv Res 2000 Apr; 35(1,Pt2):293-306. (Cites article by former AHRQ researchers Cunningham PJ, 1999; and Cunnigham PJ and Kemper P, 1998.)

Levenson D. Prescriptions for safety. Tips to patients. AHA News 2000 Apr 10;36(14):7. (Describes AHRQ fact sheet on preventing medical errors.)

Pichichero ME. Acute otitis media: Part I. Improving diagnostic accuracy. Am Fam Physician 2000 Apr 1;61(7):2051-56. (Cites otitis media guidelines supported by AHRQ.)

Schoen C and DesRoches C. Uninsured and unstably insured: the importance of continuous insurance coverage. Health Serv Res 2000 Apr;35(1, Pt 2):187-206. (Cites articles by past/present AHRQ researchers Cunningham PJ, 1999; Farley P, 1985; and Short PF and Banthin J, 1995.)

12.  Do You Listen to Audiotapes?

AHRQ's User Liaison Program, which conducts workshops for State and local health policy officials, has audiotapes of its 2-3-day workshops. The most recent workshop is "How Safe Is Our Health Care System? What States Can Do to Improve Patient Safety and Reduce Medical Errors?" Call the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295; or E-mail them at AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.

Factoid

The hospital admission rate of non-managed care plans declined 27 percent from 7.8 percent in 1987 to 5.7 percent in 1996, a rate roughly equivalent to that of managed care plans. (Source: Weinick RM and Cohen JW. "Leveling the Playing Field: Managed Care Enrollment and Hospital Use, 1987-1996." Health Affairs 2000;19(3):178-84.)

Contact Information

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Current as of May 2000

 

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