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February 5, 2003, 2003, Issue No. 87

AHRQ News and Numbers

The percent of Hispanics age 18 to 64 saying they always received urgent care as soon as they wanted increased to 49.9% in 2001 from 41.2% in 2000. [Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #8: Access to Urgent Medical Care: 2001, December 2002 (PDF File, 431 KB; PDF Help).]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ's Carolyn Clancy named permanent Director by HHS Secretary Thompson
  2. AHRQ's Fiscal Year 2004 budget proposal set at $279 million
  3. AHRQ director participates in Kaiser Permanente press conference on automated medical records
  4. USPSTF issues two recommendations on screening for diabetes in adults and pregnant women
  5. AHRQ workshops on HIPAA privacy rule
  6. Building Bridges conference
  7. Calling all AHRQ researchers! "Help Us to Help You"
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ's Carolyn Clancy Named Permanent Director by HHS Secretary Thompson

Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., a general internist and health services researcher who has been acting director of AHRQ since March 2002, was named permanent director of the Agency today by HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "Carolyn Clancy's long history with AHRQ and her medical and research expertise provide the right balance to lead this vital agency," Secretary Thompson said in the HHS press release. "I look forward to working with Dr. Clancy and her colleagues at AHRQ on deploying the power of information technology to improve the quality and safety of health care delivery," he noted. Prior to serving as AHRQ's acting director, Dr. Clancy directed the Agency's Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research as well as the Center for Primary Care Research, where she helped develop the U.S. Public Health Service Primary Care Policy Fellowship. Dr. Clancy—whose major research interests include women's health, primary care, access to care, and the impact of financial incentives on physicians' decisions—was also featured in the Washington Post's Federal Page today. Select to access the HHS press release on her permanent appointment.

2.  AHRQ's Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Proposal Set at $279 Million

AHRQ would receive $279 million in fiscal year 2004 under President Bush's budget request for HHS, which was announced by Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on February 3. The $279 million figure represents an increase of 11.6 percent over the President's Fiscal Year 2003 request of $250 million. The budget request includes new funding for a variety of initiatives: $50 million for a Patient Safety Hospital Information Technology Initiative, $10 million for promoting and accelerating the development, adoption, and diffusion of IT in health care, and $2 million for the Patient Safety Improvement Corps. The budget request also includes $55.3 million for the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, $2 million to improve the availability of outpatient data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, and $1 million to improve technical assistance within the CAHPS® program. For details on the AHRQ budget, which now goes to Congress for review, select page 42 of the Budget in Brief.

3.  AHRQ Director Participates in Kaiser Permanente Press Conference on Automated Medical Records

AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., participated in a February 4 press conference by Kaiser Permanente announcing a new initiative to transition the medical records of its 8.5 million patients to an automated system. The new system would eliminate paper medical records and would give patients, their physicians, and authorized health care providers access to complete, up-to-the-minute medical records, including test results, regardless of time or location. The new system, which is slated to be rolled out over the next 2 to 3 years, will give physicians a number of prompts and reminders, including preventive care screenings, availability of test results, and information on treatment options. Through the new system, patients will be able to schedule appointments, request medication refills, and ask for referrals. "The use of information technology to improve the quality and efficiency of health care services is a major priority for HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson," Dr. Clancy said at the event, adding that "this new initiative is a wonderful example of how the power of information technology can be harnessed to make the kind of achievable improvements in health care quality that the American people want and deserve."

4.  USPSTF Issues Two Recommendations on Screening for Diabetes in Adults and Pregnant Women

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that adults with high blood pressure or high cholesterol be screened for type 2 diabetes (insulin-resistant diabetes) as part of an integrated approach to reduce cardiovascular disease but concluded that further research is needed to determine whether widespread screening of the general adult population would improve health outcomes. In a separate recommendation, the Task Force found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine screening for gestational diabetes in asymptomatic pregnant women. Select to access the press release and the recommendations.

5.  AHRQ Workshops on HIPAA Privacy Rule

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rule will go into effect on April 14, and two workshops are being offered by AcademyHealth and AHRQ on the topic. The workshops, "Playing by New Rules: Privacy and Health Services Research," are intended to educate the health services research community about responsibilities and obligations under the HIPAA privacy rule. Participants will learn practical approaches to implementing the privacy rule, such as effectively working with institutional review boards and privacy boards. The workshop will address critical questions that health services research will face related to data privacy, including: Which data meet the legal requirements for personally identifiable health information? What entities are covered by the regulation, and how are their identifiable data acquired? What are the consequences for failing to protect this information? How can researchers use data while protecting its confidentiality? What advantages does the limited data set (LDS) offer researchers? The 1-day workshops will be held in two locations: March 19 in San Francisco and April 29 in Washington, DC. Select for registration and additional information.

6.  Building Bridges Conference

AHRQ is co-sponsoring the annual Building Bridges conference, a collaborative effort with the American Association of Health Plans, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Blue Cross Blue/Shield Association. The primary purpose of the meeting is to bring together managed care researchers both outside and inside managed care organizations to examine critical issues related to quality, access, and costs. About 250 participants are expected to attend this year's conference, "Using Research to Build an Accountable Health Care System," to be held April 30-May 2 in Atlanta. Select for details about the conference.

7.  Calling All AHRQ Researchers! "Help Us to Help You"

We would like to help you and AHRQ do a better job of promoting and marketing your research. Over the past several years, AHRQ has succeeded in improving communications with grantees and contractors. However, at the present time we only have advance notification of an estimated 37 percent of journal articles stemming from AHRQ-funded research. Obviously, we need to know about your research findings before they are published if we are going to be able to help you promote them. We are asking for your help to improve this effort by notifying us once your article has been accepted for publication. When you are notified by a journal that your article will be published, please send a copy of the manuscript, along with the journal name, anticipated publication date, and contact information to your AHRQ project officer or send an E-mail to Your manuscript will be reviewed for potential AHRQ marketing efforts. Please be assured that AHRQ always honors the journal embargo, and we do not release any details about your publication outside of the agency prior to publication.

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.

Baker DW, Sudano JJ, Albert JM, et al. Loss of health insurance and the risk for a decline in self-reported health and physical functioning. Med Care 2002 Nov;40(11):1126-31. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Weinick RM. Things my data never told me. Acad Emerg Med 2002 Nov;9(11):1071-3. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Glazer J, McGuire TG. Multiple payers, commonality and free-riding in health care: Medicare and private payers. J Health Econ 2002 Nov;21(6):1049-69. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Taylor DH Jr., Sloan FA, Norton EC. Formation of trusts and spend down to Medicaid. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 1999 Jul;54(4):S194-201. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Wong MD, Shapiro MF, Boxcardin WJ, et al. Contribution of major diseases to disparities in mortality. N Engl J Med 2002 Nov 14;347(20):1585-92. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of February 2003


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