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January 23, 2001, Issue No. 20

AHRQ News and Numbers

Today's Headlines:

  1. MEPS Data Center
  2. AHRQ study shows Hispanics' medical care differs from that of non-Hispanic whites
  3. HCUP chart on conditions most common among the uninsured
  4. Cataract clinical highlight
  5. HCUP fact sheet on databases
  6. Evidence report on efficacy of interventions to modify dietary behavior related to cancer risk
  7. Job openings at AHRQ
  8. Guidelines added to National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)
  9. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  10. AHRQ in the news
  11. Factoid

1.  MEPS Data Center

AHRQ announces the opening of the Center for Cost and Financing Studies' (CCFS) Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (MEPS) Data Center, where researchers with approved projects can access files not available for public use. Researchers with such approved projects will be allowed to access only the information required to complete their projects, and micro data files will not be released. Summary data (tables, regression equations) will be released subject to review by AHRQ staff. Select for more information.

2.  AHRQ Study Shows Hispanics' Medical Care Differs from that of Non-Hispanic Whites

AHRQ researchers found that Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanic whites hospitalized for the same conditions to receive major therapeutic procedures for 38 percent of 63 illnesses studied, after controlling for disease severity, insurance plan type, and other factors. The study was based on hospital discharge data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases (SID) for California, Florida and New York, which account for roughly half of the U.S. Hispanic population. This is the first study to examine this issue on a wide range of conditions. The study entitled, "Use of Major Therapeutic Procedures: Are Hispanics Treated Differently than Non-Hispanic Whites?" by Roxanne Andrews and Anne Elixhauser was published in Ethnicity & Disease. Reprints of the article are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295.

3.  HCUP Chart on Conditions Most Common Among the Uninsured

On January 11, AHRQ issued a press release with a chart showing the top 10 diagnoses for uninsured patients treated in U.S. hospitals. According to an AHRQ report, there are about 135,000 hospital stays a year for treatment of depression, alcohol-related mental disorders, and substance-related mental disorders that are not covered by either private insurance or public insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The report provides a general overview of hospital inpatient care based on data from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS). Select to access the AHRQ Press Release and other HCUP data.

4.  Cataract Clinical Highlight

AHRQ has available a clinical highlight entitled Routine Preoperative Testing Before Cataract Surgery. The publication is based on findings from an AHRQ-funded study conducted as part of the Cataract Patient Outcomes Research Team (PORT). The authors of the study conclude that routine preoperative testing before cataract surgery does not improve clinical outcomes. Print copies of the highlight are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295.

5.  HCUP Fact Sheet on Databases

AHRQ released a fact sheet listing databases and products from its Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). Select for more information.

6.  Evidence Report on Efficacy of Interventions to Modify Dietary Behavior Related to Cancer Risk

AHRQ released on January 19 the summary of an evidence report on the Efficacy of Interventions to Modify Dietary Behavior Related to Cancer Risk. The report looked at behavioral interventions designed to promote changes in diet that may reduce cancer risk. It did not look at research about the actual rates of risk reduction due to those dietary changes. The report concluded that there is some evidence that certain interventions will influence dietary change, but the studies are not very detailed. The studies on the intake of fruit and vegetables and dietary fat were conducted in such disparate ways as to make analyses of their impact difficult. The evidence report indicated that future research should assess dietary intake at the individual level and should collect detailed process and psychosocial data to help identify determinants of dietary change. Select to access the summary. Print copies of the summary are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295. Copies of the full report will be available late in 2001.

7.  Job Openings at AHRQ

AHRQ is seeking applicants for the position of Grants Management Specialist. Select to access a complete list of vacancy announcements.

8.  Guidelines Added to National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)

During the month of December, 21 guidelines were added to the NGC. There are now 914 guidelines in the NGC. Select to access these guidelines and others.

  • APIC guideline for infection prevention and control in flexible endoscopy.
  • APIC guideline for selection and use of disinfectants.
  • Pertussis vaccination: use of acellular pertussis vaccines among infants and young children.
  • Use of diphtheria toxoid-tetanus toxoid-acellular pertussis vaccine as a five-dose series.
  • Prevention and control of meningococcal disease.
  • Meningococcal disease and college students.
  • An evidence-based analysis of the effect of busulfan, hydroxyurea, interferon, and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation in treating the chronic phase of chronic myeloid leukemia.
  • Hallux abductovalgus.
  • Ingrown toenails.
  • Hammertoe syndrome.
  • Intermetatarsal neuroma.
  • Hallux limitus and hallux rigidus.
  • Heel spur syndrome.
  • Metatarsalgia/intractable plantar keratosis/Tailor's bunion.
  • Clinical practice guidelines for nutrition in chronic renal failure.
  • Primary angle closure.
  • Primary open-angle glaucoma.
  • Primary open-angle glaucoma suspect.
  • Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with eating disorders.
  • Prevention of pneumococcal disease: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
  • Public Health Service Task Force recommendations for the use of antiretroviral drugs in pregnant HIV-1 infected women for maternal health and interventions to reduce perinatal HIV-1 transmission in the United States.

9.  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. Releasing medical study findings early has a downside.
  2. Enhanced access to care for rural and disadvantaged patients may be a by-product of the high cost of a medical education.
  3. Effects of Medicare fee reductions vary by specialty and procedure.
  4. New checklist enables nursing assistants to effectively monitor the health of nursing home residents.

Select to access the December issue of Research Activities.

10.  AHRQ in the News

Chesley FD, Rudzinski KA, Eisenberg JM. Building a community of health services research training. Health Serv Res 2000 Dec; 35(5 Pt 1):xi-xvii.

Lieberman DA. Management of chronic pediatric diseases with interactive health games: theory and research findings. J Ambulatory Care Manag 2001 Jan; 24(1):26-38.

Sawaya GF, Grady D, Kerlikowske K, et al. The positive predictive value of cervical smears in previously screened postmenopausal women: the Heart and Estrogen/progestin Replacement Study (HERS). Ann Intern Med 2000 Dec19; 133(12):942-950.

Siegel JE, Clancy CM. Community-based interventions: taking on the cost and cost-effectiveness questions. Health Serv Res 2000 Dec; 35(5 Pt 1):905-909.

Spranca M, Kanouse DE, Eliott M, et al. Do consumer reports of health plan quality affect health plan selection? Health Serv Res 2000 Dec; 35(5 Pt 1):933-947.

Stryer D, Tunis S, Hubbard H, et al. The outcomes of outcomes and effectiveness research: impacts and lessons from the first decade. Health Serv Res 2000 Dec; 35(5 Pt 1):977-982.

11.  Factoid

Medicaid pays for the delivery of over one-third of the 1.3 million babies born in hospitals in the United States every year. Hospitalization in the United States, 1997. HCUP Fact Book No. 1, AHRQ Publication No. 00-0031. May, 2000.

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Current as of January 2001


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