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September 10, 2001, Issue No. 33

AHRQ News and Numbers

There was a large shift in the source of nursing home payments between 1987 and 1996. Medicare payments increased from 1.9 percent of total payments in 1987 to 18.9 percent in 1996. The greatest change occurred in the West, where Medicare's share increased from 4.1 percent in 1987 to 34.7 percent in 1996. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Nursing Home Expenses, 1987-1996, MEPS Chartbook No. 6.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. Survey of medication errors education during internal medicine clerkships
  2. Timeliness of medical care for HIV symptoms
  3. NCQA 2001 state of managed care quality report
  5. MEPS nursing home expenses chartbook
  6. Medicaid managed care seminar
  7. Interested in using federal and state databases?
  8. Evidence report on the diagnosis and management of specific breast abnormalities
  9. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter

1.  Survey of Medication Errors Education During Internal Medicine Clerkships

AHRQ announced publication of an AHRQ-funded study, in cooperation with FDA, that found that only 16 percent of internal medicine clerkship programs include formal lectures about adverse drug events. The results of the study indicate that medical students in the U.S. have little exposure to adverse drug reaction events in the curriculum used during their internal medicine rotation. The Georgetown Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs), led by Dr. Raymond L. Woosley, published the article, "Survey of Medication Errors Education During Internal Medicine Clerkships," in the September 5 issue of theJournal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Select to access the AHRQ Press Release.

2.  Timeliness of Medical Care for HIV Symptoms

An AHRQ-funded study found that up to 70 percent of HIV patients did not receive care within what physicians consider an appropriate timeframe for their most bothersome symptoms. These symptoms—headache, cough, diarrhea, and weight loss—can indicate serious problems, such as opportunistic infections. The article, "Development and Application of a Method to Assess Timeliness of Medical Care for HIV Symptoms" by Amy Kilborne was published in the September 7 issue of Health Services Outcomes and Research Methodology. A print copy of the summary is available by sending an E-mail to

3.  NCQA's 2001 State of Managed Care Quality Report

Dr. Gregg Meyer, director of AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, participated in a September 6 press conference to release the NCQA's 2001 State of Managed Care Quality Report. Dr. Meyer's remarked on the use of CAHPS® data, measures for chlamydia and use of beta blockers, and AHRQ's work on the upcoming National Quality Report. His comments appear about mid-way through the 1-hour Web cast, which was produced by


AHRQ issued a Request for Applications (RFA) seeking applications for cooperative agreements to build on and expand the Consumer Assessment of Health Plans (CAHPS®). The purposes of CAHPS® are to develop and test:

  • Surveys through which consumers and patients can assess the health care they receive.
  • Reports that present survey data to people to support the selection of high-quality health plans and services.

Letters of intent for the CAHPS® II RFA are due September 24. Select to access the AHRQ press release and to see the RFA. There will be a Web chat on September 20 between AHRQ and potential bidders who may have questions. You will receive further information about the Web chat.

5.  MEPS Nursing Home Expenses Chartbook

AHRQ released Nursing Home Expenses, 1987-1996 (MEPS Chartbook No. 6), showing how the total annual expenses for nursing home care rose from $28 billion in 1987 to $70 billion in 1996, an increase of 150 percent. It also shows that the mean total payments per resident day rose from $56 in 1987 to $118 in 1996, an increase of 111 percent. Select to access the AHRQ Press Release and the chartbook.

6.  Medicaid Managed Care Seminar

Tufts Managed Care Institute, Partnerships for Quality Education and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are co-sponsoring a conference, "Meeting the Challenge of Medicaid Managed Care: Best Practices for Clinical Care and Teaching," November 1-3, at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, VA. The conference is designed to give practitioners and teachers access to best practices and innovations in managing the care of Medicaid and low-income populations, taking into account current trends, model programs, research results, and new approaches to teaching. Select to access the program and registration information. Registration deadline: October 19.

7.  Interested in Using Federal and State Databases?

AHRQ is co-sponsoring a seminar November 5-7 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Rockville, MD, to help researchers understand and use Federal and State databases. These include databases of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, National Health Interview Survey, and Medicare and Medicaid databases. The seminar is being held by the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy.

8.  Evidence Report on the Diagnosis and Management of Specific Breast Abnormalities

AHRQ released the summary of a new evidence report by the Evidence-based Practice Center, MetaWorks, Inc., located in Boston, entitled Diagnosis and Management of Specific Breast Abnormalities. The report states that there is strong evidence supporting the need to perform a biopsy following a stereotactic core needle biopsy (SCBX) diagnosis of atypical ductal hyperplasia (an excess proliferation of cells), as the excisional biopsy often leads to a change in diagnosis. Select to access the AHRQ press release and the summary. A free print copy of the summary is available by sending an E-mail request to

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:

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

Select to access these and other articles.

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 September 2001


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