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May 2, 2002, Issue No. 55

AHRQ News and Numbers

In 1999, a total of 501,510 patients were hospitalized in the U.S. for percutaneous coronary angioplasty, with an average charge of $25,838. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, HCUPnet, 1999.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ's Carolyn Clancy testified at House Appropriations hearing on May 1
  2. Study shows that black and Hispanic HIV patients are less likely to get experimental medications
  3. Study finds that patients who take beta blockers before heart bypass surgery have improved outcomes
  4. Patient safety program evaluation center RFP announced
  5. National leadership summit to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health on July 10-12
  6. Upcoming child health speaker series Web conference
  7. AHRQ priority population inclusion policy
  8. Evidence report on cardiovascular effects of epinephrine in hypertensive dental patients
  9. How AHRQ helps people
  10. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ's Carolyn Clancy Testified at House Appropriations Hearing on May 1

AHRQ Acting Director Carolyn Clancy, M.D., testified on May 1 before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations. She presented the Administration's budget request for fiscal year 2003. Select to access the 2003 budget request.

2.  Study Shows that Black and Hispanic HIV Patients Are Less Likely to Get Experimental Medications

A new AHRQ-funded study shows that black and Hispanic HIV patients are only about half as likely as non-Hispanic whites to participate in clinical trials of new medications designed to slow the progression of the disease. Together, blacks and Hispanics comprise roughly 48 percent of the HIV patient population. Researchers led by Allen L. Gifford, M.D., of the VA Healthcare System and the University of California, San Diego, found that 14 percent of the patients participated in an HIV medication trial. The article, "Participation in Research and Access to Experimental Treatments for HIV-Infected Patients," was published in the May 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Select to access the press release.

3.  Study Finds that Patients Who Take Beta Blockers Before Heart Bypass Surgery Have Improved Outcomes

A new AHRQ-funded study found that patients who take beta blockers prior to heart bypass surgery appear to have improved survival and fewer complications during and after the procedure. Researchers indicate that up to 1,000 lives potentially could be saved each year by giving patients beta blockers. The article, "Preoperative B-Blocker Use and Mortality and Morbidity Following CABG Surgery in North America," is by T. Bruce Ferguson, Jr., M.D.; Laura P. Coombs, Ph.D.; and Eric D. Peterson, M.D., M.P.H., at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the Duke Clinical Research Institute. The article was published in the May 1 issue of JAMA. Select to access the press release.

4.  Patient Safety Program Evaluation Center RFP Announced

AHRQ announced that it is seeking proposals to establish a Patient Safety Program Evaluation Center to evaluate the projects, grants, and contracts that encompass the patient safety initiatives it funded in fiscal years 2000 and 2001. The center initially will develop and implement an overall evaluation plan. It will also develop baseline patient safety evaluation measures to determine the state of patient safety as it exists before patient safety initiatives are implemented. AHRQ expects to make the contract award for an initial 4-year period of performance with the option for a 3-year extension. Proposals are due June 7 at 12:00 noon EDT. Select for further information.

5.  National Leadership Summit to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health on July 10-12

The HHS Office of Minority Health has announced that registration is open for the National Leadership Summit to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health, scheduled for July 10-12, in Washington, DC. The summit seeks to draw national attention to the existence of health disparities and to innovative approaches being implemented at the local, State, Federal, and tribal levels to address these disparities. The summit is being organized around three major tracks:

  1. Access to care.
  2. Health professions.
  3. Research/data.

The issue of culturally and linguistically appropriate services will be incorporated into five plenary sessions and 80 workshops. Registration will be limited to 2,500 individuals on a first registered, first admitted basis. Additional information on registration, exhibiting, sponsorship, and submitting an application for a poster session is available at 1-888-516-5599.

6.  Upcoming Child Health Speaker Series Web Conference

AHRQ will be sponsoring a child health speaker series Web conference on pediatric patient safety issues in mid-July. More information will be available in our next issue. For further information, contact Nancy Comfort at or (301) 427-1866.

7.  AHRQ Priority Population Inclusion Policy

AHRQ invites comments on its preliminary policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations in Research. This preliminary policy was written to implement a directive of the Healthcare Research and Quality Act. The purpose of this notice is to encourage feedback and comment on the preliminary policy from the extramural community of researchers and users of AHRQ-sponsored research. Feedback can be submitted to or to:
AHRQ's Office of Research Review, Education, and Policy
2101 E. Jefferson Street, Suite 400
Rockville, MD 20852
Attn: Priority Populations Policy.

8.  Evidence Report on Cardiovascular Effects of Epinephrine in Hypertensive Dental Patients

The summary of a new evidence report by AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) at Research Triangle Institute/University of North Carolina entitled Cardiovascular Effects of Epinephrine in Hypertensive Dental Patients is now available. The EPC found that recommendations for the use of epinephrine (an additive in local anesthetics to improve the duration of the anesthesia, as well as to reduce bleeding) in clinical dental practice are sometimes conflicting. Most recommendations advise caution in using local anesthetics with epinephrine in patients with hypertension. In the report, the authors call for a large-scale descriptive study of adverse outcomes of the use of epinephrine-containing local anesthetics. Select to access the summary. A print copy of the summary is available by sending an E-mail to

9.  How AHRQ Helps People

We have a new addition to our Web site: How AHRQ Helps People, which describes the impact of AHRQ research on patients, providers, and policymakers.

10.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Williams ES, Konrad TR, Linzer M, et al. Physician, practice, and patient characteristics related to primary care physician physical and mental health: results from the Physician Worklife Study. Health Serv Res 2002 Feb:3(1):121-43. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Schneeweiss S, Maclure M, Soumerai SB. Prescription duration after drug copay changes in older people: methodological aspects. J Am Geriatr Soc 2002 Mar; 50(3):521-5. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hermann RC, Palmer RH. Common ground: a framework for selecting core quality measures for mental health and substance abuse care. Psychiatr Serv 2002 Mar; 53(3):281-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Meyer GS, Eisenberg JM. The end of the beginning: the strategic approach to patient safety research. Qual Saf Health Care 2002 Mar; 11(1):3-4. Select to access the full text on PubMed. No abstract available.

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 May 2002


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