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April 27, 2006, Issue No. 198

AHRQ News and Numbers

Only 41.7 percent of the 14 million American adults diagnosed with diabetes reported having been checked within the past year for hemoglobin A1C blood sugar levels, diabetic retinopathy or other eye damage caused by diabetes, and foot sores and irritation. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief No. 105: Diabetes Management: Tests and Treatments Among 18 and Older U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population in 2003. (PDF File, 117 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. New AHRQ study shows Medicaid spending on outpatient drugs more than doubled in recent years
  2. AHRQ director participated in Kaiser Family Foundation forum on health disparities
  3. Special journal issue features articles on women, gender, and health care disparities
  4. Call for abstracts for 2006 Critical Issues in eHealth Research Conference
  5. AHRQ's Annual PBRN Research Conference set for May 15-17
  6. Translating Research Into Practice 2006 Conference set for July 10-12
  7. Do you know how AHRQ's research is being used?
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  New AHRQ Study Shows Medicaid Spending on Outpatient Drugs More Than Doubled in Recent Years

A new AHRQ-funded shows Medicaid spending for outpatient prescription drugs increased by 20 percent per year on average from 1997 to 2002, jumping from $11.6 billion to $23.7 billion during that period. The increase reflects a rise in both the number of prescriptions written for Medicaid enrollees—from 301 million in 1997 to 429 million in 2002—and the rapid uptake of newer classes of drugs, which are often more expensive than older ones.

In addition, annual Medicaid spending on drugs for disabled adults aged 19 to 64 grew 97 percent during the period—from $5.3 billion in 1997 to $10.3 billion in 2002—while drug spending for all Medicaid enrollees 65 and older rose 81 percent, from $3.5 billion to $6.3 billion. Furthermore, disabled adults accounted for 47 percent of the Medicaid enrollees who were prescribed antidepressants—an increase of 37 percent between 1997 and 2002. The data do not include spending on drugs given to Medicaid patients while hospitalized or those in nursing homes. Select to read our press release.

2.  AHRQ Director Participated in Kaiser Family Foundation Forum on Health Disparities

AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., participated in an April 24 forum hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation to discuss what has been learned following the release of AHRQ's 2005 National Healthcare Disparities Report and how that information can guide us going forward. During the forum, Dr. Clancy and other panelists and the audience discussed how the report can inform policy, research, and efforts by health plans and provider groups to improve quality and reduce disparities. Select to access a video Webcast or an audio podcast of the event. Select to access the AHRQ National Healthcare Disparities Report.

3.  Special Journal Issue Features Articles on Women, Gender, and Health Care Disparities

The March-April issue of the Journal of Women's Health features seven articles on women, gender, and health care disparities coauthored by AHRQ's Director of Women's Health and Gender-Based Research, Rosaly Correa-de-Araujo, M.D. The included articles:

  1. Introduction to the theme issue: Women, gender, and health care disparities, by Correa-de-Araujo R.
  2. Commentary: Catalyzing quality of care improvements for women, by Correa-de-Araujo R, Clancy C.
  3. Gender differences across racial and ethnic groups in the quality of care for acute myocardial infarction and heart failure associated with comorbidities, by Correa-de-Araujo R, Stevens B, Moy E, Nilasena D, Chesley F, McDermott K.
  4. Gender differences across racial and ethnic groups in the quality of care for diabetes, by Correa-de-Araujo R, McDermott K, Moy E.
  5. Women's health care utilization and expenditures, by Taylor AT, Larson S, Correa-de-Araujo R.
  6. Preventive health examinations: A comparison along the rural-urban continuum, by Larson S, Correa-de-Araujo R.
  7. Quality of health care for older women: What do we know? by Kosiak B, Sangl J, Correa-de-Araujo R.

A copy is available by sending an E-mail to Limited copies are available.

4.  Call for Abstracts for 2006 Critical Issues in eHealth Research Conference

Abstracts are being sought for "Critical Issues in eHealth Research Conference: Toward Quality Patient-Centered Care" to be held on September 11-12 in Bethesda, MD. This free conference is cosponsored by AHRQ, NIH, and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in collaboration with the American Medical Informatics Association and the Health e-Technologies Initiative.

The conference will convene scientists from government, academia, survey research, and the private sector, practitioners from the private and public sectors, and students to discuss the methodological, technological, and conceptual aspects of research on patient-centered care and e-health. Abstracts are due electronically by June 12.

5.  AHRQ's Annual PBRN Research Conference Set for May 15-17

The 2006 annual Primary Care Practice-based Research Networks (PBRN) meeting will be held May 15-17 in Bethesda, MD. Proposals to present papers, posters, and workshops related to work conducted in a PBRN are welcome from researchers, network directors, clinician members, and network staff working within a PBRN.

Additionally, AHRQ will award a limited number of $750 scholarships to general conference participants and presenters to offset travel and other costs, especially in cases of demonstrated financial need.

6.  Translating Research Into Practice 2006 Conference Set for July 10-12

AHRQ and NIH's National Cancer Institute are cosponsoring the fourth annual Translating Research Into Practice and Policy (TRIPP) conference on July 10-12, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. This year's conference will highlight strategies and tools for designing interventions to reach and influence different audiences and to promote change in different settings where evidence-based practices might be implemented.

The conference will also provide an opportunity to share innovative TRIPP research and implementation methods, case studies and other experiences. Health care provider organizations, clinicians, patients, purchasers, researchers, innovators, knowledge transfer experts and others from across the public and private sectors will share experiences, insights, collaborations and initiatives for moving research into sustained changes in health care practice and policy.

7.  Do You Know How AHRQ's Research Is Being Used?

We are always looking for ways in which AHRQ-funded research, products, and tools have changed people's lives, influenced clinical practice, improved policies, and affected patient outcomes. These impact case studies describe AHRQ research findings in action. These case studies are used in testimony, budget documents, and speeches. We would like to know if you are aware of any impact your AHRQ-funded research has had on health care policy, clinical practice, or patient outcomes. Contact AHRQ's Impact Case Studies Program at or (301) 427-1243 with your impact stories.

8.  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.

Bhandari VK, Kushel M, Price L, et al. Racial disparities in outcomes of inpatient stroke rehabilitation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2005 Nov;86(11):2081-6. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Beach MC, Gary, TL, Price EG, et al. Improving health care quality for racial/ethnic minorities: A systematic review of the best evidence regarding provider and organization interventions. BMC Public Health 2006 Apr 24;6(1):104. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Reynolds PP, Kamei RK, Sundquist J, et al. Using the PRACTICE mnemonic to apply cultural competency to genetics in medical education and patient care. Acad Med 2005 Dec;80(12):1107-13. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Katz DA, Williams GC, Brown RL, et al. Emergency physicians' fear of malpractice in evaluating patients with possible acute cardiac ischemia. Ann Emerg Med 2005 Dec;46(6):525-33. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Scott-Cawiezell J, Main DS, Vojir CP, et al. Linking nursing home working conditions to organizational performance. Health Care Manage Rev 2005 Oct-Dec;30(4):372-80. Select to access the abstract in PubMed®.

Spertus J, Safley D, Garg M, et al. The influence of race on health status outcomes after an acute coronary syndrome. J Am Coll Cardiol 2005 Nov 15;46(10):1838-44. Select to access the abstract in 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 April 2006


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