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February 21, 2003, Issue No. 89

AHRQ News and Numbers

Six of the top 10 conditions for hospital stays (other than for childbirth) are related to the circulatory system. These conditions—congestive heart failure, coronary atherosclerosis, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, stroke, and heart attack—make up 18 percent of all hospital stays for women and 23 percent of all stays for men. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, HCUP Fact Book #3, 2002.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ's new National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™ launched
  2. Rescheduled for March 3: First AHRQ Web-assisted audio conference on bioterrorism preparedness
  3. Data provide details on characteristics of health insurance for U.S. workers
  4. Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services scheduled for September
  5. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ's New National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™ Launched

AHRQ launched its Web-based National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™ at The NQMC contains the most current evidence-based quality measures and measure sets available to evaluate and improve the quality of health care. The site is designed to be a one-stop shop for physicians, hospitals, health plans, and others interested in quality measures. Users can search the NQMC for measures that target a particular disease/condition, treatment/intervention, age range, gender, vulnerable population, setting of care, or contributing organization. Visitors also can compare attributes of two or more quality measures side by side to determine which measures best suit their needs. The site also provides material on how to select, use, apply, and interpret a measure. Measures to be considered for inclusion in the NQMC can be submitted on an ongoing basis but must meet a set of criteria. Select to access the press release.

2.  Rescheduled for March 3: First AHRQ Web-Assisted Audio Conference on Bioterrorism Preparedness

Due to the major snowstorm in the Washington area earlier this week, AHRQ has rescheduled the first of its new series of five free Web-assisted audio conference calls on bioterrorism and health system preparedness. The first Web-assisted audio conference is now scheduled for Monday, March 3, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., EST, and will focus on smallpox immunization issues, strategies, and tools. These 90-minute audio conferences are designed to share the latest health services research findings, promising practices, and other important information with State and local health officials and key health systems decisionmakers. If you are already registered, you do not need to register again.

3.  Data Provide Details on Characteristics of Health Insurance for U.S. Workers

During the first half of 2000, more than 60 percent (71 million) of working Americans under age 65 had health insurance they obtained through their primary place of employment, according to data from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. In the first half of 2000, among occupational groups, managers and administrators were most likely to be insured (73.3 percent). Farm laborers were least likely to have insurance through their own workplace (28.4 percent). Government employees had higher rates of health insurance coverage through their own workplace in 2000 than employees in private industry. Select to access the press release and for details in the statistical brief Differentials in Employment-Related Health Insurance Coverage—2000 (PDF File, 422 KB; PDF Help).

Another recent statistical brief on workers, entitled The Health Insurance Status of U.S. Workers, 2001 (PDF File, 307 KB; PDF Help), compares job characteristics of uninsured workers between 1996 and 2001. It shows that, overall, the relationship between job characteristics and health insurance status of workers has not changed. In general, workers in 2001 were as likely to be uninsured as they were in 1996.

4.  Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services Scheduled for September

The Fifth Conference on the Scientific Basis of Health Services will be hosted by the AHRQ and AcademyHealth, September 20-23, 2003, in Washington, DC. This series has provided an international forum for the exchange of research and experience in the use of health services research to improve access to and the quality of health care systems. The 2003 conference is organized around the following five themes:

  • National Strategies for Organizing Health Services Research.
  • Using Evidence to Improve Clinical Practice.
  • Using Evidence to Improve Health Services Management.
  • Using Evidence to Improve Policymaking.
  • Using Evidence to Alleviate the Burden of Specific Diseases.

Select to access more information. March 14 is the deadline to submit abstracts.

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.

Perrin JM, Kuhlthau KA, Gortmaker SL, et al. Generalist and subspecialist care for children with chronic conditions. Ambul Pediatr 2002 Nov-Dec;2 (6):462-9. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Bolin JN, Buchanan RJ, Smith SR. State regulation of private health insurance: prescription drug benefits, experimental treatments, and consumer protection. Am J Manag Care 2002 Nov;8(11):977-85. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Brunner EJ, Hemingway H, Walker BR, et al. Adrenocortical, autonomic, and inflammatory causes of the metabolic syndrome: nested case-control study. Circulation 2002 Nov 19;106(21):2659-65. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Phillips LS, Hertzberg VS, Cook CB, et al. The Improving Primary Care of African Americans with Diabetes (IPCAAD) project: rationale and design. Control Clin Trials 2002 Oct;23(5):554-69. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hill SC, Wooldridge J. Plan characteristics and SSI enrollees' access to and quality of care in four TennCare MCOs. Health Serv Res 2002 Oct;37(5):1197-1220. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of February 2003


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