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October 4, 2002, Issue No. 72

AHRQ News and Numbers

Hispanics age 18 and older were less likely than blacks or whites and people of other races to report having heart disease, high blood pressure, or asthma. [Source: AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Medical Care and Treatment for Chronic Conditions, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. HHS Secretary Thompson testifies on patient safety legislation
  2. Hospital-CAHPS® Web chat is scheduled for October 24
  3. AHRQ to evaluate new grants announced under Rewarding Results project
  4. AHRQ-funded study in JAMA on pharmacists' care program for lung disorders
  5. AHRQ sudden death patient outcomes research team journal articles
  6. Improving treatment decisions for patients with community-acquired pneumonia
  7. Evidence report summary on use of SAMe for treatment of depression, Osteoarthritis, and Liver Disease
  8. Business case symposium presentations available
  9. Workshop on pharmaceutical outcomes research, October 16-19
  10. Health Legacy Partnership conference set for October 29
  11. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  HHS Secretary Thompson Testifies on Patient Safety Legislation

Secretary Thompson testified before the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on September 10 in support of H.R. 4889, legislation that would establish voluntary standards for reporting medical errors to newly created Patient Safety Organizations and would expand the activities of AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety to collect patient safety data from the new organizations. Subcommittee Chair and bill sponsor Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) heard testimony from Sec. Thompson, who was accompanied by AHRQ Acting Director Carolyn Clancy, M.D.; as well as from Harvard University Adjunct Professor of Health Policy Lucian Leape, M.D.; Mayo Clinic Foundation President and CEO Michael Wood, M.D.; and others.

The full Ways and Means Committee passed H.R. 4889 on September 18, and the full House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a similar bill, H.R. 5478, on September 26. The two committees will try to reconcile the differing provisions and bring a consolidated bill to the House floor next week. In addition, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, has circulated a draft bill that includes provisions from both House bills.

2.  Hospital-CAHPS® Web Chat Is Scheduled for October 24

Mark your calendars. AHRQ will be holding a live, interactive Web chat on Thursday, October 24, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. EDT to answer questions about the Hospital-CAHPS® project. This project will develop a survey instrument that will be used to measure and publicly report patients' hospital experiences. If you are interested in participating in the October 24 Web chat, please register by sending an E-mail to with "Web chat" in the subject line. In the body of the E-mail, include your name, E-mail address, organization, city, and state. We will send you a confirmation E-mail with instructions for logging onto the live event. We also invite you to submit questions in advance of the event by sending them to If we cannot answer all questions during the Web chat, we will respond after the event.

In addition, the CAHPS® team is setting up a LISTSERV® to provide E-mail updates on the Hospital-CAHPS® project. Select for more information if you would like to subscribe.

3.  AHRQ to Evaluate New Grants Announced Under Rewarding Results Project

AHRQ has awarded $1.5 million to Boston University researchers to conduct a comprehensive national evaluation of six pilot projects designed to reward physicians and hospitals for providing high-quality health care. Under the Rewarding Results pilot projects, providers become eligible for financial or non-financial incentives after meeting specific quality goals tied to medical outcomes and clinical performance. Grants totaling $4.9 million were awarded to six health plans and other organizations on September 26 under the Rewarding Results program, which is administered by the National Health Care Purchasing Institute with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, and the Commonwealth Fund. The projects will test ways to implement recommendations from a 2001 Institute of Medicine report called Crossing the Quality Chasm.

4.  AHRQ-Funded Study in JAMA on Pharmacists' Care Program for Lung Disorders

A new AHRQ-funded study focusing on a health care program provided by pharmacists in community drug stores for patients with breathing-related conditions resulted in only modest improvement in lung function and increased satisfaction, but also led to more, not less, medical care visits. The article, "Pharmacists' Care Program Increases Patient Satisfaction, But Does Not Necessarily Improve Health Outcomes for Patients With Lung Disorders," by Morris Weinberg, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was published in the October 2 issue of JAMA.

5.  AHRQ Sudden Death Patient Outcomes Research Team Journal Articles

AHRQ announces seven articles from its Sudden Death Patient Outcomes Research Team that were published in the September 2002 issue of the American Heart Journal. These are the results of a 5-year AHRQ-funded outcomes research effort. Web links for individual abstracts of the research articles are below:

Every, Nathan, et al. Risk of a sudden versus nonsudden cardiac death in patients with coronary artery disease. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hlatky, Mark A, et al. Utilization and outcomes of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator, 1987 to 1995. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hsu, John, et al. Life after a ventricular arrhythmia. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

McDonald, Kathryn M, et al. Trends in hospital treatment of ventricular arrhythmias among Medicare beneficiaries, 1985 to 1995. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Heidenreich, Paul A, et al. Overview of randomized trials of antiarrhythmic drugs and devices for the prevention of sudden cardiac death. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Alexander, Mark, et al. Management of ventricular arrhythmias in diverse populations in California. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

6.  Improving Treatment Decisions for Patients with Community-Acquired Pneumonia

AHRQ released a Research in Action synthesis that focuses on how clinicians can make better treatment decisions for patients with community-acquired pneumonia. The synthesis, Improving Treatment Decisions for Patients with Community-Acquired Pneumonia, includes discussion of the Pneumonia Severity Index, a clinical prediction tool developed with AHRQ funding that assists physicians in deciding whether or not to hospitalize pneumonia patients. In particular, it helps in identifying low-risk patients who can be treated successfully at home. Select for the synthesis. A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

7.  Evidence Report Summary on Use of SAMe for Treatment of Depression, Osteoarthritis, and Liver Disease

AHRQ, together with its partner, NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, issued the summary of a new evidence report, S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) for Treatment of Depression, Osteoarthritis, and Liver Disease by AHRQ's Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center. The report presents an analysis of published literature on the use of SAMe for the treatment of depression, osteoarthritis, and liver disease and, based on the evidence, an evaluation of the efficacy of SAMe. Authors concluded that the majority of studies enrolled small numbers of patients and the quality of the studies varied greatly. The report called for more studies on the pharmacology of SAMe and Clinical trials. Select to access the summary. A print copy of the summary is available by sending an E-mail to

8.  Business Case Symposium Presentations Available

Safety experts joined frontline health care CEOs September 26-27 for a national symposium, "Building the Business Case for Patient Safety," sponsored by AHRQ and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Department of Defense were co-sponsors, and the American Hospital Association participated in the development of the conference. Presentations by Eve Slater, M.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Health; Jeffrey D. Selberg, President and CEO of Exempla Healthcare in Denver; Project HOPE health economist Gail R. Wilensky, Ph.D.; and Brent C. James, M.D., Vice President for Medical Research at Intermountain Health Care. A summary of the proceedings will be available later this fall. A white paper based on the symposium proceedings also is being developed jointly by AHRQ and the Joint Commission.

9.  Workshop on Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research on October 16-19

The Fourth Annual Workshop on Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research will be held on October 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency Newport, Newport, RI. AHRQ and the Drug Information Association are sponsoring the workshop to present and discuss new and interesting findings in the varied fields of pharmaceutical outcomes research. Lynn Bosco, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Pharmaceutical Studies at AHRQ, and Hugh Tilson, M.D., Dr.P.H., chair of the Steering Committee for the AHRQ-sponsored Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics, will co-chair the program. Topics this year include adult and child mental health outcomes and the relationship between outcomes and risk. FDA representatives will discuss current outcomes-related activities. Stephen B. Soumerai, Sc.D., will present a premeeting tutorial; Asking the right questions right: Evaluating Outcomes of Pharmaceutical Reimbursement.

10.  Health Legacy Partnership Conference Set for October 29

The third annual Health Legacy Partnership conference will be held on October 29 at the National Press Club. The goal of the conference is to promote the importance of using evidence-based information in deciding on health treatments and to discuss development of a national health outcomes database. In addition to AHRQ Acting Director Carolyn Clancy, M.D., the conference is being hosted by Eve Slater, M.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Health; Joseph H. Kanter, Chairman of the Joseph H. Kanter Family Foundation; and Dr. Russell J. Ricci, General Manager, Healthcare Worldwide, IBM, and Chairman of the eHealth Initiative.

11.  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.

Feinberg E. Swartz K, Zaslavsky AM, et al. Language proficiency and the enrollment of Medicaid-eligible children in publicly funded health insurance programs. Matern Child Health J 2002 Mar; 6(1):5-18. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Gallo JJ, Meredith LS, Gonzales J, et al. Do family physicians and internists differ in knowledge, attitudes, and self-reported approaches for depression? Int J Psychiatry Med 2002; 32(1):1-20. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Morris AH. Decision support and safety of clinical environments. Qual Saf Health Care 2002 Mar; 11(1):69-75. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Pronovost P, Wu AW, Dorman T, et al. Building safety into ICU care. J Crit Care 2002 Jun; 17(2):78-85. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Siderowf A, Ravina B. Glick HA. Preference-based quality-of-life in patients with Parkinson's disease. Neurology 2002 Jul 9; 59(1):103-108. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of October 2002


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