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January 7, 2005, Issue No. 157

AHRQ News and Numbers

Nearly 88 percent of people between 16 and 64 years of age were reported to always or nearly always use seat belts while driving or riding in a car. However, men between the ages of 19 and 29 are the group least likely to wear a seat belt and are three times as likely not to use their seat belt as women of the same age. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #62: Characteristics of Persons Who Seldom or Never Wear Seat Belts, 2002 (PDF File, 167 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. New AHRQ diabetes care resource guide offers help to States
  2. Telephone briefing on hospital patient safety culture survey set for February 15
  3. Percentage of poor children with a regular source of medical care increases significantly
  4. Children with special health care needs account for 42 percent of children's medical costs
  5. Abstracts for June AcademyHealth meeting due January 14
  6. Calling all AHRQ researchers! "Help us to help you."
  7. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  New AHRQ Diabetes Care Resource Guide Offers Help to States

AHRQ, in partnership with the Council of State Governments, released Diabetes Care Quality Improvement: A Resource Guide for State Action and its companion workbook, both of which are designed to help States assess the quality of diabetes care and develop quality improvement strategies. The guide and workbook provide an overview of the factors that affect quality of care for diabetes, present the core elements of health care quality improvement, assist State policymakers in using the data from AHRQ's 2003 National Healthcare Quality Report for planning State-level quality improvement activities, and provide a variety of best practices and policy approaches that national organizations, the Federal government, and States have implemented related to diabetes quality improvement. Select to read our press release and select to read the guide. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

2.  Telephone Briefing on Hospital Patient Safety Culture Survey Set for February 15

AHRQ, in partnership with Premier, Inc., the Department of Defense, and the American Hospital Association, will host a technical assistance telephone briefing on February 15, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., EST, to discuss the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. The purpose of the call is to arm those interested in adopting this tool with tips and techniques for administering the survey. This toll-free conference call will include the faculty responsible for the development of the survey and feature the experiences of users who have successfully adopted and implemented the survey. You may participate by calling 1-877-918-3008 and using "8310257" as the passcode. To guarantee a spot, please dial in by 1:45 p.m., EST. Callers will be placed on a listen-only status during the event, and there will be time allowed for questions. The survey is currently available online. Print copies may be ordered by calling 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an E-mail to

3.  Percentage of Poor Children with a Regular Source of Medical Care Increases Significantly

AHRQ released new data showing that after 1 year of enrollment in a State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), between 88 percent and 98 percent of children in New York, Florida, and Kansas could count on a regular source of medical care when needed—an increase from 78 percent to 92 percent before enrollment. The number of children with preventive health care visits rose from 8 percent to 13 percent. However, Hispanic children did not experience as large an increase as did other children. Families of new SCHIP enrollees were more satisfied with the health care their children were receiving compared with before. Overall, fewer children had unmet health care needs (reductions of 12 percent to 43 percent), but about one-third of those with special health requirements still had unmet health needs compared with one-sixth of children without special health needs. Disparities were eliminated between the long-term uninsured children (i.e., enrollees who had been uninsured for at least 12 months prior to SCHIP enrollment) and other children in these programs. Select to read the CHIRI™ Issue Brief: Does SCHIP Benefit All Low-Income Children? A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

4.  Children with Special Health Care Needs Account for 42 Percent of Children's Medical Costs

A new study funded in part by AHRQ and published in the January 3 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine examines out-of-pocket medical costs attributed to children with special health care needs. The study found that 15.6 percent of all children under 18 had special health care needs in 2000, but they accounted for over 42 percent of total medical care costs attributed to children and 52.5 percent of children's hospital days. Overall, these children's health care expenditures were three times that of other children, $2,009 annually versus $628 on average for children who used health care services. Researchers Paul W. Newacheck, Dr.P.H., and Sue E. Kim, Ph.D., both at the Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California San Francisco, used data from AHRQ's 2000 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to study the first nationally representative data on total health care use and expenses for children with special health care needs who live at home. Select to read the abstract in PubMed®.

5.  Abstracts for June AcademyHealth Meeting Due January 14

The AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting will be held on June 26-28 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA. The meeting brings together health services researchers, providers, and key decisionmakers to address the critical challenges confronting the health care delivery system. The meeting provides opportunities to present and hear about cutting-edge research, debate timely policy issues, and learn about new methods and funding sources. The deadline for abstract submission is January 14.

6.  Calling All AHRQ Researchers! "Help Us to Help You."

As you may know, AHRQ can help you promote the findings of your research, but we can't do it without you. AHRQ has been successful in working with our grantees and contractors to promote findings to the media and to transfer knowledge based on the research to appropriate audiences in the health care community. However, we know that we can do better. We need you to notify us when you have an article accepted for publication. Please send a copy of the manuscript, anticipated publication date, and contact information for the journal and your institution's PR office to your AHRQ project officer and to AHRQ Public Affairs at Your manuscript will be reviewed to determine what level of marketing we will pursue. Please be assured that AHRQ always honors the journal embargo. Thank you for your cooperation.

7.  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.

Handa VL, Harvey L, Fox HE, et al. Parity and route of delivery: does cesarean delivery reduce bladder symptoms later in life? Am J Obstet Gynecol 2004 Aug;191(2):463-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Cooper, WO, Hickson GB, Fuchs C, et al. New users of antipsychotic medications among children enrolled in TennCare. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2004 Aug;158(i):753-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Jones ER, Fink R, Pepper G, et al. Improving nursing home staff knowledge and attitudes about pain. Gerontologist 2004 Aug;44(4):469-78. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Chapman RH, Berger M, Weinstein MC, et al. When does quality-adjusting life-years matter in cost-effectiveness analysis? Health Econ 2004 May;13(5):429-36. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Kachalia A, Studdert DM, Professional liability issues in graduate medical education. JAMA 2004 Sep 1;292(9):1051-6. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

Please address comments and questions regarding the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter to Nancy Comfort at or (301) 427-1866.

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Current as of January 2005


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