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April 16, 2004, Issue No. 131

AHRQ News and Numbers

In 2000, for people living at home, approximately 32 percent of the $627.8 billion spent on health care was for services by office-based medical providers, hospital outpatient departments, emergency rooms, and other ambulatory care. Prescription medicine purchases accounted for about 16 percent of total health care spending for this population. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,MEPS Statistical Brief #27: National Health Care Expenses in the U.S. Community Population, 2000 (PDF File, 259 KB; PDF Help).

Today's Headlines:

  1. HHS solicits input on priorities for research under Medicare Modernization Act
  2. Task Force recommends that primary care clinicians prescribe fluoride supplements to prevent cavities in preschool children
  3. AHRQ announces booklet to help older adults stay healthy
  4. New AHRQ study shows early surgery reduces hip fracture pain
  5. Article in U.S. Medicine discusses AHRQ's continuing emphasis on Translating Research Into Practice
  6. Calls for State and regional demonstrations—Health Information Technology RFP
  7. New report on the state of children's health care available
  8. AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting and affiliate meetings set for June 3-9
  9. Register now for Third Annual Patient Safety Research Conference
  10. Job openings at AHRQ
  11. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  HHS Solicits Input on Priorities for Research Under Medicare Modernization Act

HHS is soliciting input on research priorities under Medicare reform legislation signed by President Bush in December. Section 1013 of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 authorizes HHS to support research that provides information on the outcomes, comparative clinical effectiveness, and appropriateness of health care items and services, including prescription drugs, and outlines strategies for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP programs, including how their services are organized, managed, and delivered. The new law requires the initial priority list for research to be developed by June 2004 and initial research to be completed in December 2005. Written suggestions for the priority list can be submitted online by May 7 at the Web site where the exact language of Section 1013 of the statute also can be found. In addition, a town hall meeting to solicit additional input from stakeholders is tentatively scheduled for mid- to late May in Washington, DC.

2.  Task Force Recommends that Primary Care Clinicians Prescribe Fluoride Supplements to Prevent Cavities in Preschool Children

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force today recommended that primary care clinicians who practice in areas where the water supply is deficient in fluoride prescribe oral fluoride supplements to preschool children over the age of 6 months. The recommendation appears in the May 2004 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Select to access our press release and select to access the recommendation.

3.  AHRQ Announces Booklet to Help Older Adults Stay Healthy

AHRQ has just released a booklet for older adults called The Pocket Guide to Staying Healthy at 50+. This guide incorporates new research-based recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The guide was developed in partnership with AARP, and it updates the original Staying Healthy at 50+ published in 2000. The Pocket Guide, available in English and Spanish, includes tips and recommendations on good health habits, screening tests, and immunizations. It provides easy-to-use charts to help track personal health information and includes questions to ask health care providers, as well as resources to contact for additional information. Select to read our press release. Printed copies are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse by calling (800) 358-9295 or sending an E-mail to

4.  New AHRQ Study Shows Early Surgery Reduces Hip Fracture Pain

A new AHRQ-funded study shows hip fracture patients should be operated on within 24 hours of hospital admission because it reduces pain, shortens hospital stays, and may limit the probability of major complications such as pneumonia and irregular heartbeat. The study, "The Association of Timing of Surgery for Hip Fracture and Patient Outcomes," led by Albert L. Siu, M.D., of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, was published in the April 14 issue of JAMA. Select to access our press release.

5.  Article in U.S. Medicine Discusses AHRQ's Continuing Emphasis on Translating Research Into Practice

An article by AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., entitled "Evidence-Based Research Ensures Quality" was published in the January issue of U.S. Medicine. Dr. Clancy's article highlights the Agency's continuing emphasis on translating research into practice and outlines AHRQ's 10 research portfolios.

6.  State and Regional Demonstrations in Health Information Technology RFP

AHRQ has issued a new Request for Proposals (RFP) to establish and implement state and regional demonstrations of interoperable health information systems. It is anticipated that up to five awards will be made, $25 million over 5 years. The demonstrations will identify and support statewide data sharing and interoperability activities aimed at improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for patients and populations on a state or regional level. The primary contractor must be either a state government or an agent of one or more state governments that has a formal Memorandum of Understanding specifying the involvement of state entities such as the state department of public health or health policy commission. The deadline is June 15 at 12:00 noon EDT. Select to access the RFP for more information.

7.  New Report on the State of Children's Health Care available

A new chartbook on children's health released by The Commonwealth Fund incorporates some of AHRQ's publications and data sources, including HCUP, MEPS, CAHPS®, and USPSTF recommendations. The chartbook, Quality of Health Care for Children and Adolescents, illustrates the state of preventive care and chronic care services and the extent of medical mistakes in children and youth. The chartbook finds dramatic progress in some areas—such as reductions in hospital—acquired infections in pediatric intensive care units—and serious challenges in many others—such as gaps in preventive care and developmental services. It also identifies geographic, racial, and ethnic disparities in care for children and provides examples of quality improvement programs that have successfully improved care. Former AHRQ Deputy Director Lisa Simpson, M.B., B.Ch., and AHRQ Senior Advisor for Child Health Denise Dougherty, Ph.D., participated in an April 15 Commonwealth briefing to launch the report.

8.  AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting and Affiliate Meetings Set for June 3-9

The AcademyHealth Annual Research meeting and affiliate meetings will be held June 3-9 in San Diego. The theme for this year's meeting is "The Premier Forum for Health Services Research." The meeting provides opportunities to present and hear about cutting-edge research, debate timely policy issues, and learn about new methods and funding sources. Select to access the AcademyHealth Web site to register and for more information. In conjunction with the annual meeting, AHRQ is co-sponsoring several affiliate meetings: the Sixth Annual Child Health Services Researchers meeting on June 5; the AHRQ Enhanced Emphasis on Translating Research Into Practice and Policy meeting on June 7; and the MEPS Data: What Every Researcher Should Know and HCUP: Data and Tools to Support Improvement in Health Care seminars on June 9.

9.  Register Now for Third Annual Patient Safety Research Conference

Register now for AHRQ's "Third Annual Patient Safety Research Conference: Making the Health Care System Safer" to be held September 26-28 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.

10.  Job Openings at AHRQ

AHRQ is seeking applicants for two Senior Service Fellow positions in the Center for Outcomes and Evidence. Select to read these vacancy announcements and others.

11.  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.

Strauss R, Mofidi M, Sandler ES, et al. Reflective learning in community-based dental education. J Dent Educ 2003 Nov;67(11):1234-42. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hargraves JL, Hays RD, Cleary PD. Psychometric properties of the Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Study (CAHPS) 2.0 adult core survey. Health Serv Res 2003 Dec;38(6 Pt 1):1509-27. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Sices L, Feudtner C, McLaughlin J, et al. How do primary care physicians identify young children with developmental delays? A national survey. J Dev Behav Pediatr 2003 Dec;24(6):409-17. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Aita V, McIlvain H, Susman J, et al. Using metaphor as a qualitative analytic approach to understand complexity in primary care research. Qual Health Res 2003 Dec;13(10):1419-31. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

King DE, Egan BM, Geesey ME. Relation of dietary fat and fiber to elevation of C-reactive protein. Am J Cardiol 2003 Dec 1;92(11):1335-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Surks MI, Ortiz E, Daniels GH. Subclinical thyroid disease: scientific review and guidelines for diagnosis and management. JAMA 2004 Jan 14;291(2):228-38. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Schneider EC, Zaslavsky AM, Epstein AM. Use of high-cost operative procedures by Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in for-profit and not-for-profit health plans. N Engl J Med 2004 Jan 8;350(2):143-50. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of April 2004


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