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June 16, 2000, Issue No. 9

AHRQ News and Numbers

Today's Headlines:

  1. 1. Update on AHRQ's Appropriations
  2. 2. AHRQ's career development opportunities
  3. 3. Evidence report on management of new onset atrial fibrillation
  4. 4. AHRQ announces the senior scholar in residence position for domestic violence research
  5. 5. Eleventh World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
  6. 6. Another Medscape article
  7. 7. Public Health Service to release new tobacco cessation guideline on June 27
  8. 8. New grant awards announced
  9. 9. AHRQ co-sponsors methods seminar
  10. 10. Working conditions and patient safety
  11. 11. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  12. 12. New AHRQ publications
  13. 13. MEPS fact sheets have been updated
  14. 14. Funding opportunities fact sheet
  15. 15. Job openings at AHRQ
  16. 16. Second annual child health services researchers meeting
  17. 17. Factoid

1.  Update on AHRQ's Appropriations

On Wednesday, the full House passed the FY 2001 appropriations bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education programs by a vote of 217-214. The $99.9 billion bill includes $223,649,000 for AHRQ. The Senate bill, which recommends $269,943,000 for AHRQ, is expected to be considered by the full Senate sometime next week.

Both bills designate funds for AHRQ to support research and other activities in the area of patient safety. Upon completion of the Senate bill, a conference committee will be appointed to reconcile the differences between the two bills.

2.  AHRQ's Career Development Opportunities

As part of our campaign to increase awareness that AHRQ provides financial support to help train new health services researchers, the Agency is mailing its new training brochure nationwide to college department heads for selected disciplines, as well as to health professions schools and other organizations. Select to access more information about AHRQ's training programs and financial assistance or order the Research Education and Career Development Opportunities publication from the AHRQ Publication Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295.

3.  Evidence Report on Management of New Onset Atrial Fibrillation

AHRQ announced on June 13 the completion of a report done by our Evidence-based Practice Center at Johns Hopkins University assessing first-line clinical strategies to guide doctors in managing atrial fibrillation—a common cause of irregular heartbeat—in patients treated in outpatient settings.

Among the findings are: calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers are superior to digoxin in controlling high heart rates due to atrial fibrillation; the blood thinner warfarin decreases the risk of stroke by two-thirds; aspirin decreases the risk of stroke by one-third; and the use of blood thinning agents is cost-effective.

The topic was nominated by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Select to access the summary. The full report will be available in the fall.

4.  AHRQ Announces the Senior Scholar in Residence Position for Domestic Violence Research

AHRQ and the Family Violence Prevention Fund are seeking applicants for the position of Senior Scholar in Residence for the 2000-2001 academic year. The purpose is to encourage a senior faculty researcher to develop areas of investigation that will provide scientific information on the cost, quality, outcomes, and effectiveness of domestic violence screening and interventions available to domestic violence victims in health care settings.

5.  Eleventh World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

The 11th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health (WCTOH) will be held on August 6-11 in Chicago. The conference is designed to strengthen national, regional, and global leadership networks dedicated to tobacco use prevention and control. This meeting will help those involved in the anti-tobacco movement to effectively support comprehensive global efforts aimed at reducing world tobacco use. The three themes are:

  1. Are We Winning? Appraising Progress and Celebrating Success.
  2. Nicotine—The Present and Future.
  3. Advocacy in Action.

6.  Another Medscape Article

AHRQ Director John Eisenberg was featured in the second part of a two-part Medscape article on medical errors. The article features Dr. Eisenberg talking about the role of technology in helping to prevent medical errors. Select to access the article.

7.  Public Health Service (PHS) to Release New Tobacco Cessation Guideline on June 27

The Surgeon General will release the new PHS Tobacco Cessation Guideline at a press event on June 27. In addition, panel chair Michael Fiore will have an article summarizing the major recommendations of the guideline in the June 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The guideline was developed by an independent panel of experts and by a consortium of organizations including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Cancer Institute; National Institute on Drug Abuse; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the University of Wisconsin Medical School and AHRQ. The press release, fact sheet, and other guideline products will be available the online after 4:00 p.m. (EDT) on June 27.

8.  New Grant Awards Announced

AHRQ issued a press release on June 14 to announce the funding of nine new research projects in the areas of:

  • Patient decisionmaking.
  • Child health.
  • Elderly care.
  • Women's health.
  • Physician practice style.

9.  AHRQ Co-Sponsors Methods Seminar

A 3-day methods seminar on "Using Federal and State Databases" will be held October 30 - November 1, in Washington, DC. The first day of the seminar will include an overview of selected Federal and State databases, lessons learned from the field, and information on Federal and State efforts to protect patient privacy. In the following 2 days, participants can choose 2 of 6 day-long tracks on specific Federal and State databases.

The seminar is being presented by The Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy with four Federal co-sponsors:

  • Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Health Care Financing Administration.
  • National Center for Health Statistics.
  • AHRQ.

Two AHRQ databases will be covered during the seminar:

  1. The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (a survey of health care use, expenditures, and insurance coverage).
  2. The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (a family of State and nationwide administrative health care databases).

10.  Working Conditions and Patient Safety

AHRQ, together with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Veteran's Health Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the National Center for Infectious Diseases, will sponsor a conference October 17-18, in Pittsburgh titled, "Enhancing Working Conditions and Patient Safety: Best Practices."

The conference will focus on discussing practical approaches to both improving the quality of patient care and working conditions for health care workers. Conference participants will share best practices in these areas, describing both the difficulties encountered and practical examples of successes that can be replicated by others.

The Quality of Interagency Coordination (QuIC) Task Force is a group made up of all Federal agencies with responsibility for studying, providing, regulating, and/or purchasing health care services.

11.  Highlights from the Most Recent Edition of Our Monthly Newsletter

The new issue of Research Activities is in the mail. The key articles are:

  1. Blacks hospitalized for ministrokes are less likely than whites to receive diagnostic tests, see a specialist, or have surgery.
  2. Assessing a patient's willingness to adopt dietary and lifestyle changes is the first step toward sustained weight loss.
  3. Women use more health care services than men, and their health care costs more.
  4. Hospitalization of children for asthma varies according to the child's age and sex and several other factors.
  5. Medicare reforms that will raise out-of-pocket costs for some elderly people need careful consideration.

Select to access the entire May issue.

12.  New AHRQ Publications

  1. MEPS Methodology Report 9—Design, Methods, and Field Results of the 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Medical Provider Component.
  2. Center for Practice and Technology: Assessment Mission and Programs Fact Sheet.

13.  Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Fact Sheets Have Been Updated

Several of the AHRQ's MEPS fact sheets have been updated, including:

  • Questions MEPS Will Be Able to Answer About Hispanic Health.
  • Selected Findings from MEPS.
  • Examples of Questions That MEPS Can Answer.

Select to access the MEPS Fact Sheets.

14.  Funding Opportunities Fact Sheet

AHRQ has released an updated funding opportunities fact sheet. It describes our research agenda and the financial assistance mechanisms used for our research projects. The focus is primarily on opportunities for investigator-initiated research grants, but brief information also is included on contracts. Select to access the fact sheet.

15.  Check Out Job Openings at AHRQ

Expert—Methodologist, Center for Practice and Technology Assessment. Closing Date: Open until filled.

Select to access the complete list.

16.  Second Annual Child Health Services Researchers Meeting

The Second Annual Child Health Services Researchers meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 27 from 12:30-6 p.m. at the Los Angeles Marriott. The meeting is being held in conjunction with the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy (AHSRHP, formerly AHSR). The registration fee is $70.

The theme of the Child Health Services Researchers meeting is The Role of Partnerships. The meeting will:

Dr. Robert H. Brook, RAND/UCLA, will challenge meeting participants to work actively on these three themes throughout the meeting.

17.  Factoid

Black patients hospitalized with transient ischemic attacks are significantly less likely than comparable white patients to receive diagnostic testing and surgery to prevent stroke and to have a neurologist as their attending physician. ["Racial variation in treatment for transient ischemic attacks: Impact of participation by neurologists," by Janet B. Mitchell, Ph.D., David J. Ballard, M.D., Ph.D., and others, in the March 2000 Health Services Research 34(7), pp. 1413-1428.]

Contact Information

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Current as of June 2000


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