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August 10, 2001, Issue No. 32

AHRQ News and Numbers

Hispanics account for one-fourth (24.9 percent) of the uninsured non-elderly population, even though they represent only 12.9 percent of the entire population under 65.

Today's Headlines:

  1. Video clip of Dr. Eisenberg discussing evidence report on patient safety practices
  2. Statistics for health insurance coverage from the 2000 MEPS
  3. Two HCUP databases available for purchase
  4. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law
  5. AHSRHP seminar
  6. AHRQ'S new Quality Indicators LISTSERV®
  7. Do you listen to audiotapes?
  8. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  9. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  Video Clip of Dr. Eisenberg Discussing Evidence Report on Patient Safety Practices

In case you missed it in the last issue, AHRQ has released a new evidence report, Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices, developed by the University of California, San Francisco/Stanford Evidence-based Practice Center. The report, which has been covered widely in the general and trade press, examines the current medical literature on patient safety practices.

2.  Statistics for Health Insurance Coverage from the 2000 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

We announced the availability of a Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) public use data file that provides information on health insurance coverage for the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population for the first half of 2000. This is the first release that provides data to produce national health insurance estimates for 2000. The file also contains information pertaining to survey administration, demographics, employment, and health status. Go to /news/press/pr2001/meps00pr.htm to see our press release and to download the data section from the MEPS Web site.

3.  Two Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Databases Available for Purchase

AHRQ announced that two of its Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) databases containing 1998 and 1999 State data are available for purchase. The 1998 and 1999 State Inpatient Databases (SID) and State Ambulatory Surgery Databases (SASD) are available for purchase through the HCUP Central Distributor, a service provided by AHRQ to facilitate access to these uniform-format, all-payer databases. The SID cover inpatient care in community hospitals in participating States that represent more than half of all U.S. hospital discharges. The SASD contain data from ambulatory care encounters. For more details, select to access the AHRQ Press Release.

4.  Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law

A recent issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law is dedicated to commissioned papers and commentaries from the AHRQ/IOM 2000 expert meeting "Evidence: Its Meaning and Uses in Law, Medicine and Health Care." An article by AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., "What Does Evidence Mean? Can the Law and Medicine Be Reconciled?" appears in the journal. Select for the journal overview. Print copies of the article and limited copies of the journal are available by sending an E-mail to

5.  AHSRHP Seminar

The Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy (AHSRHP) will present its fall seminars in health services research methods November 5-7 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Rockville, MD. AHRQ will be sponsoring two 1-day sessions on MEPS (November 5 and 7) and on HCUP (November 5 and 6).

6.  AHRQ'S New Quality Indicators LISTSERV®

We have a new LISTSERV® that will allow you to begin receiving a series of Web-based, user-friendly indicators for improving the quality of inpatient and ambulatory health care this fall. The first to be announced will be AHRQ's prevention/access indicators, followed by mortality/utilization indicators and patient safety/complications indicators. These indicators resulted from a refinement and expansion of the original HCUP Quality Indicators by the UCSF-Stanford Evidence-based Practice Center. Select for more information and to sign up for the LISTSERV®.

7.  Do You Listen to Audiotapes?

AHRQ's User Liaison Program, which conducts workshops for State and local health officials, has audiotapes of its 2- to 3-day workshops. Recent topics include "Health Care Costs: Why are They Increasing? What Can We Do?"," Brushing Up on Issues Related to Medical Errors and Patient Safety," and "Strategies for Reducing Health Disparities." "The Role of Informatics in Improving Health Care: A Series of Three Web-assisted Teleconferences," will be available soon. Call the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse, 1-800-358-9295; or E-mail them at

8.  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. Organ donations increase when families have good information about the donation process.
  2. Newborns weighing 2.2 pounds or less have long-term behavior problems related mostly to social and attention deficits.
  3. Outpatient geriatric evaluation and management programs slow functional decline of the elderly.
  4. AHRQ funds new projects, including a study of care for living organ donors.

Select for these articles and others.

9.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Buchbinder SB, Wilson M, Melick CF, et al. Primary care physician job satisfaction and turnover. Am J Man Care 2001 Jul; 7(7):701-13.

Hogan C, Lunney J, Gabel J, et al. Medicare beneficiaries' costs of care in the last year of life. Health Aff 2001 Jul-Aug; 20(4):150-58.

Scanlon DP, Darby C, Rolph E, et al. The role of performance measures for improving quality in managed care organizations. Health Serv Res 2001 Jul; 36(3):619-41.

Meredith S, Feldman PH, Frey D, et al. Possible medication errors in home healthcare patients. J Amer Geriatr Soc 2001; 49(6):719-24.

Baine WB, Yu W, Weiss KA. Trends and outcomes in the hospitalization of older Americans for cardiac conduction disorders or arrhythmias, 1991-1998. J Amer Geriatr Soc 2001; 49(6):763-70.

Fortess EE, Soumerai SB, McLaughlin TJ, et al. Utilization of essential medications by vulnerable older people after a drug benefit cap: importance of mental disorders, chronic pain, and practice setting. J Amer Geriatr Soc 2001; 49(6):793-97.

Pourat N, Anderson R, Wallace S. Postadmission disparities in nursing home stays of whites and minority elderly. J Health Care Poor Underserved 2001 Aug; 12(3):352-66.

Contact Information

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Current as of August 2001


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