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February 7, 2002, Issue #43

AHRQ News and Numbers

Married U.S. women with children, regardless of the ages of the children, were more likely to have an ambulatory health care visit than single U.S. women with children in 1996. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Women in the Health Care System: Health Status, Insurance, and Access to Care, MEPS Research Findings #17.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ's FY 2003 budget proposal
  2. HHS creates council to review, respond to private-sector innovation
  3. AHRQ director notes that technical barriers remain in comparing the quality of care among physician groups
  4. HHS bioterrorism preparedness funding proposal includes $518 million for hospitals and $100 million to train health professionals
  5. Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) Annual Report—Year Two
  6. Evidence report on incidentaloma
  7. Guidelines added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ's FY 2003 Budget Proposal

On Monday, February 4, President Bush presented his proposed budget for fiscal year 2003. Overall, HHS would receive $488.8 billion, or 6.3 percent over the FY 2002 budget. Specifically, AHRQ would receive a funding level of $251.7 million, a 16 percent decrease from the current FY 2002 level. This $251.7 million maintains or increases funding for several priority programs, including the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Consumer Assessment of Health Plans, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, and Translating Research Into Practice. The proposed budget also includes a $5 million increase in AHRQ patient safety research funding. The FY '03 budget request reflects a $33,754,000 general reduction to grant and contract commitments.

Select AHRQ's proposed FY 2003 budget and the HHS press release for more information.

2.  HHS Creates Council to Review, Respond to Private-Sector Innovation

To better consider the best ideas from the private sector now coming into the HHS, Secretary Tommy G. Thompson has set up a new forum to receive these ideas and to triage them effectively to the appropriate federal agencies. This forum, the Council on Private Sector Initiatives (CPSI) to Improve the Security, Safety, and Quality of Health Care, will review and refer requests from private-sector companies that want to present innovative ideas and products to the federal government. The council's membership consists of the heads or their designees of several agencies within HHS and from the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Energy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Environmental Protection Agency. AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., chairs the council.

Select the HHS press release for more information about the new council and visit the CPSI Web site to submit a request.

3.  AHRQ Director Notes that Technical Barriers Remain in Comparing the Quality of Care Among Physician Groups

Value-based decisionmakers must have access to better measures of quality on physician performance, AHRQ Director John Eisenberg, M.D., says in an editorial in the January 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. Although there are several emerging examples of purchasers using reports on physician performance to help guide their choices of providers, the technical barriers to comparing the quality of care among physician groups remain formidable, Dr. Eisenberg says. The case-mix challenge continues to be difficult, and finding quality indicators that are easy to collect during day-to-day physician practice represents yet another barrier, he says.

4.  HHS Bioterrorism Preparedness Funding Proposal Includes $518 Million for Hospitals and $100 Million to Train Health Professionals

The President's budget proposal for fiscal year 2003 includes $518 million to enhance preparedness at the nation's hospitals to respond to incidents of biological or chemical terrorism, a 284 percent increase over the amount provided this year. It also proposes a new program that would provide $60 million for bioterrorism-related education and training for physicians, nurses and other health care professionals; $21 million to ensure that poison control centers provide scientifically based information about the latest threats; and $19 million to help prepare emergency medical services systems. HHS Secretary Thompson said hospitals will work in coordination with their states' preparedness plans to ensure that emergency response networks are in place. Earlier this month, the Secretary provided $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2002 funds to the nation's governors to immediately begin the process of upgrading emergency response capabilities aimed especially at biological events.

Select the HHS press release for more information on the bioterrorism preparedness initiative.

5.  Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) Annual Report—Year Two

AHRQ, in collaboration with Duke University, released the Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs) Annual Report—Year Two. This second annual report documents the progress to date of the seven AHRQ funded-CERTs, with 40 completed research and educational projects ranging from the study of pediatric HIV treatments to the analysis of racial differences in the management of osteoporosis. A free print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

6.  Evidence Report on Incidentaloma

We issued the summary of a new evidence report by AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Center at the New England Medical Center. This evidence report was used by the NIH State-of-the-Science Conference on February 4-6. The EPC found limited and conflicting evidence on the management of incidentally discovered adrenal masses, known as incidentaloma. The report indicates that the incidental discovery of these masses could represent a variety of pathologies that make them difficult to diagnose and treat.

Select to access the summary of the new evidence report.

7.  Guidelines Added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)

Select to see what's new on public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines at the National Guideline Clearinghouse™.

To subscribe to NGC, select NGC Weekly Update Service. The NGC subscription notifies you via E-mail when new features and guidelines become available.

8.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Scribano PV, Lerer T, Kennedy D, et al. Provider adherence to a clinical practice guideline for acute asthma in a pediatric emergency department. Acad Emerg Med 2001 Dec; 8(12):1147-52.

Glauber JH, Fuhlbrigge AL, Finkelstein JA, et al. Relationship between asthma medication and antibiotic use. Chest 2001 Nov; 120(5):1485-92.

Siegel JE, Horan SA, Tefarra T. Health and health care status of Afican-born residents of metropolitan Washington, D.C. J Immigrant Health 2001 Oct; 3(4):213-24.

Motheral B, Fairman KA. Effect of a three-tier prescription copay on pharmaceutical and other medical utilization. Med Care 2001 Dec; 39(12):1293-304.

Contact Information

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Current as of February 2002


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