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July 1, 2002, Issue No. 63

AHRQ News and Numbers

In the first half of 2000, MEPS data show that 27.2 percent of working-age, unemployed Americans were uninsured, and 17.3 percent of those who were employed were uninsured. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Chartbook #9: The Uninsured in America: 1996-2000.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. USPSTF urges clinicians and patients to discuss pros and cons of taking prescription medicines to reduce breast cancer risk
  2. MEPS Chartbook, The Uninsured in America: 1996-2000 is available
  3. Web conference on pediatric patient safety
  4. Guidelines added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™
  5. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  USPSTF Urges Clinicians and Patients To Discuss Pros and Cons of Taking Prescription Medicines To Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force today recommended that clinicians discuss the potential benefits and risks of taking prescription medicines such as tamoxifen to reduce the risk of breast cancer with their female patients who are at high risk for the disease. The Task Force also recommended against the use of these drugs by women at low or average risk for breast cancer. Select to access the AHRQ press release and the recommendations. The Task Force's recommendations are published in the July 2 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

2.  MEPS Chartbook, The Uninsured in America: 1996-2000 is Available

AHRQ released a new chartbook titled The Uninsured in America: 1996-2000, authored by MEPS researchers Jeff Rhoades, Jessica Vistnes, and Joel Cohen. The report notes that the number of Americans under age 65 that were uninsured varied by up to two-fold depending on the time period studied. In 1999, 59.2 million Americans were uninsured at some point during the year, while 28.9 million Americans were uninsured for the entire year. The number of people who were uninsured throughout the first half of 1999, as well as the first half of 2000, was 42.6 million and 43.8 million respectively. In addition, the percentage and number of children uninsured for the entire year declined between 1996 and 1999 from 10.3 percent (7 million) to 7.8 percent (5.4 million). The change in children's insurance status was attributed to a combination of public and private coverage. For Americans who earned $10 to $14.99 per hour, the risk of being uninsured increased significantly between 1996 and 2000, from 10.6 percent to 12.9 percent. Select to access the chartbook.

3.  Web Conference on Pediatric Patient Safety on July 17

Mark your calendars! AHRQ is sponsoring a Child Health Speaker Series Web conference with two nationally recognized pediatric patient safety researchers on reducing errors in pediatric medicine and implications for research and practice on July 17 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The presenters will be Dr. Rainu Kaushal from Harvard Medical School who will discuss targeted strategies to prevent medical errors and related injuries and Dr. Marlene Miller from AHRQ who will discuss lessons from AHRQ's pediatric patient safety research. Stay at your desk and participate in this live event on the Web. For further information, contact Nancy Comfort at or (301) 427-1866.

4.  Guidelines Added to the National Guideline Clearinghouse™

To see what's new at the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC)—a public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines—go to: To subscribe to the NGC Weekly Update Service, which notifies you via E-mail when new features and guidelines become available at the NGC Web site, go to: AHRQ also has available a supply of NGC tutorials on CD-ROM. The tutorial walks the user through a series of informative demonstrations and scenarios on using the NGC. The CD-ROM is available free of charge by calling the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an E-mail to

5.  AHRQ in the Professional Literature

We are providing the following hyperlinks to journal abstracts through PubMed® for your convenience. Unfortunately, some of you may not be able to access the abstracts because of firewalls or specific settings on your individual computer systems. If you are having problems, you should ask your technical support staff for possible remedies.

Weingart SN, Davis RB, Palmer RH, et al. Discrepancies between explicit and implicit review: physician and nurse assessments of complications and quality. Health Serv Res 2002 Apr; 37(2):483-98. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Wall TP, Brown LJ, Manski RJ. The funding of dental services among U.S. children 2 to 17 years old. Recent trends in expenditures and sources of funding. J Am Dent Assoc 2002 Apr; 133(4):474-82. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Fuhrer R, Stansfeld SA. How gender affects patterns of social relations and their impact on health: a comparison of one or multiple sources of support from "close persons." Soc Sci Med 2002 Mar; 54(5):811-25. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Coulter ID, Heslin KC, Marcus M et al. Associations of self-reported oral health with physical and mental health in a nationally representative sample of HIV persons receiving medical care. Qual Life Res 2002 Feb: 11(1):57-70. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Covinsky KE, Covinsky MH, Palmer RM, et al. Serum albumin concentration and clinical assessments of nutritional status in hospitalized older people: different sides of different coins? J Am Geriatr Soc 2002 Apr; 50(4):631-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

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 July 2002


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