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April 11, 2003, Issue #95

AHRQ News and Numbers

Fewer than one-third of women with a previous cesarean section had vaginal births in 2000. The rate for vaginal birth after cesarean decreased from 35.3 percent to 28.6 percent from 1997 to 2000. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, HCUP Fact Book #3, 2002, /data/hcup/factbk3/.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. AHRQ to support challenge grants to assess risks to patients and implement safe practices
  2. New MEPS statistical brief: Trends in Access to Routine Care and Experiences With Care: 2001
  3. Comments on preliminary set of home health measures
  4. Building Bridges conference
  5. National Conference on Asthma set for June
  6. Translating Research Into Practice conference set for July
  7. Job openings at AHRQ
  8. Do you know how AHRQ's research is being used?
  9. New AHRQ publications
  10. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  AHRQ To Support Challenge Grants To Assess Risks To Patients and Implement Safe Practices

AHRQ issued a new Request for Applications to fund 5 to 10 Safe Practices Implementation Challenge Grants. The grants are intended to assess risks to patient safety and devise ways to prevent them, as well as to implement safe practices that show evidence of eliminating or reducing known hazards to patient safety when providing care. The projects funded under this Request for Applications will help health care institutions assess risks and implement patient safety practices, including research findings and tools developed through the Agency's patient safety research. AHRQ expects to award up to $3 million to support the two types of projects, with approximately half the grant awards to be funded in each category. The Agency will provide up to 50 percent of the total cost of the projects under this cooperative agreement. Letters of intent are due June 16; applications are due July 15. A technical assistance workshop and conference call are scheduled for June 12. Contact AHRQ's James Battles at (301) 427-1332 or for details. Select to read our press release or to read the RFA.

2.  New MEPS Statistical Brief: Trends in Access to Routine Care and Experiences With Care: 2001

AHRQ released a new statistical brief from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey that presents 2001 data for people age 18 and over about their experiences with the health care system. This is the second year the data have been collected. Comparisons between 2000 and 2001 show that the experiences of Hispanics seem to be improving, while the experiences of whites and blacks mostly have stayed about the same. For example, approximately 57 percent of Hispanics age 18-64 said their health professionals always listened to them carefully in 2001. This is up from 48.9 percent in 2000. In addition, slightly more than 60 percent of Hispanics age 18-64 said that providers always treated them respectfully, up from 54.3 percent in 2000. The brief is available through AHRQ's MEPS Web site (PDF File, 521 KB; PDF Help).

3.  Comments on Preliminary Set of Home Health Measures

AHRQ is soliciting public comments on the preliminary measure set of home health measures to be used in preparing the National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR). The NHQR is a congressionally mandated annual report on national trends with respect to health care quality. The preliminary measure set for the NHQR was generated through a call for health care quality measures to Federal agencies and private organizations. Comments must be received by April 23 and should be submitted to: Judith Sangl, Sc.D., AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, 6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20852, Fax: (301) 427-1308, or by E-mail to Visit to access the March 24 Federal Register notice.

4.  Building Bridges Conference

AHRQ is supporting 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. For details about the conference, go to

5.  National Conference on Asthma Set for June

The National Conference on Asthma will be held June 19-21 in Washington, DC. The conference, "Meeting the Challenge of Healthy People 2010: Preventing and Controlling Asthma," is sponsored by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program and coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute with support from AHRQ and others.

6.  Translating Research Into Practice Conference Set for July

AHRQ is sponsoring a conference, "Translating Research Into Practice: What's Working? What's Missing? What's Next?" for policymakers, researchers, and representatives from health care delivery systems. The conference will be held July 22-24 in Washington, DC, and will include poster sessions, scheduled for the mornings of July 23 and 24. The poster sessions will give you the opportunity to display and discuss your research and experiences with TRIP with other conference participants, including health services researchers, clinicians, health care managers, payers, patient and consumer representatives, industry representatives, and policymakers. This informal session will allow you to share methodologies and research findings, as well as answer questions on a one-on-one basis.

7.  Job Openings at AHRQ

AHRQ is seeking applicants for the position of Medical Officer in the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. Select to read this and other vacancy announcements.

8.  Do You Know How AHRQ's Research Is Being Used?

We are always looking for ways in which AHRQ-funded research, products, and tools have changed people's lives, influenced clinical practice, improved policies, and affected patient outcomes. Impact case studies describe AHRQ research findings in action. They are used in testimony, budget documents, and speeches. We would like to know if you are aware of any impact your AHRQ-funded research has had on health care policy, clinical practice, or patient outcomes. Contact AHRQ's Impact Case Studies Program at (301) 427-1243 with your impact stories.

9.  New AHRQ Publications

Medicaid Uses of Research from CERTs - Program Brief

10.  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.

Newgard CD, Lewis RJ. The paradox of human subjects protection in research: some thoughts on and experiences with the federal-wide assurance program. Acad Emerg Med 2002 Dec; 9(12):1426-1429. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Kent DM, Schmid CH, Lau J, Selker HP. Is primary angioplasty for some as good as primary angioplasty for all? J Gen Intern Med 2002 Dec; 17(12):887-894. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Holbrook TL, Hoyt DB, Stein MB, et al. Gender differences in long-term posttraumatic stress disorder outcomes after major trauma: women are at higher risk of adverse outcomes than men. J Trauma 2002 Nov; 53(5):882-828. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Feudtner C, Haney J, Dimmers MA. Spiritual care needs of hospitalized children and their families: a national survey of pastoral care providers' perceptions. Pediatrics 2003 Jan; 111(1):e67-e72. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Unruh, L. Licensed nurse staffing and adverse events in hospitals. Medical Care 2003 Jan; 41(1):142-152. 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 April 2003


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