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New publications available from AHRQ

The following publications are now available from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Copies are available at AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Best Practice Network: Showcase for Innovation and Best Practices. AHRQ Conference Summary Report (Contract No. 290-95- 2000 to Health Systems Research, Inc.). (AHRQ Publication No. OM00-0007), Kingston, L.

This report summarizes an October 1998 conference organized by the Best Practice Network of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. The Showcase for Innovation and Best Practices was designed to highlight innovative approaches to redesigning health care, with a focus on the role of benchmarking (comparison with best-quality programs). Among the presentations were case studies of how to benchmark care for specific health problems, as well as discussion of six strategies to implement benchmarking and clinical improvement.

Making the Link: Strategies for Coordinating Publicly Funded Health Care Coverage for Children. AHRQ Research Report (Contract 290-98-0009 to the National Academy for State Health Policy). (AHRQ Publication No. 00-0014), Mann, C., Cox, L., and Ross, D.C.

This report was developed for AHRQ's User Liaison Program, which gives State and local health care policymakers the information they need to make sound policy decisions. Burdensome application procedures have been shown to be major barriers to enrollment in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This report discusses administrative strategies that promote coordination between Medicaid and separate SCHIP-funded programs. Strategies reviewed include: one program/one name, a single agency to determine eligibility, simplified joint application and single point of entry, ending age-based eligibility rules, simplified verification requirements, alignment of income and asset rules, easy transition when eligibility is redetermined, continuous eligibility, and a common service delivery system.

Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)

Several new reports are now available from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). MEPS is the third in a series of nationally representative surveys of medical care use and expenditures sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. MEPS is cosponsored by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The first survey, the National Medical Care Expenditure Survey (NMCES), was conducted in 1977; and the second survey, the National Medical Expenditure Survey (NMES) was carried out in 1987. MEPS, which began in 1996, collects detailed information on health care use and expenses, sources of payment, and insurance coverage of individuals and families in the United States. MEPS comprises four component surveys: The Household Component, the Medical Provider Component, the Insurance Component, and the Nursing Home Component. The following three reports are newly released from the MEPS program.

Design, Methods, and Field Results of the 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Medical Provider Component. MEPS Methodology Report No. 9 (AHRQ Publication No. 00-0028), Machlin, S.R., and Taylor, A.K.

The MEPS Medical Provider Component (MPC) is a survey of medical professionals and institutions that provided care to sample individuals in the MEPS Household Component. The MPC's primary focus is to collect data on expenditures for medical services provided to MEPS respondents. MPC data are critical in the development of MEPS national medical expenditure estimates because household respondents are not always a reliable source of information on medical expenditures. This report describes the design of and methods used in the 1996 MEPS MPC. In addition, information is included on the MPC objectives, instruments, and procedures for data collection, sample sizes, and response rates.

Health Insurance Status of the Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population: 1998. MEPS Research Findings No. 11 (AHRQ Publication No. 00-0023), Rhoades, J., Brown E., and Vistnes, J.

This report from the MEPS Household Component provides preliminary estimates of the health insurance status of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population during the first half of 1998, including the size and characteristics of all population with private health insurance, with public insurance, and without any health care coverage. During this period, 84.2 percent of Americans of all ages were covered by private or public health insurance, leaving 15.8 percent of the population, some 42.3 million people, uninsured. Among those younger than age 65, 82.2 percent had either private or public coverage and 17.8 percent (42 million people) lacked health care coverage. Among the elderly population, there was a significant drop in private health insurance coverage and a significant increase in coverage by only public health insurance when compared with 1997 estimates. The probability that an individual would be uninsured during this period was especially high for young adults aged 19-24 and members of racial and ethnic minorities (especially Hispanic males).

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