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May 9, 2003, Issue No. 99

AHRQ News and Numbers

Women who have first-time cesarean sections incur the longest pregnancy-related hospital stays—4.1 days—and the highest total charges—$10,200. This group of women includes those who were unsuccessful with a trial of labor, which may be reflected in the longer length of stay. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, HCUP Fact Book #3: Care of Women in U.S. Hospitals, 2000.]

Today's Headlines:

  1. HHS urges women to get regular preventive checkups
  2. AHRQ issues two MEPS statistical briefs on insurance coverage provided by small and large businesses
  3. Third issue of AHRQ WebM&M is online now
  4. Highlights from the most recent edition of our monthly newsletter
  5. New AHRQ publications
  6. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  HHS Urges Women To Get Regular Preventive Checkups

HHS Secretary Thompson announced that on Monday, May 12, more than 600 community health centers, hospitals, and other health care providers nationwide will encourage women to visit a health care professional as part of the Department's first National Women's Check-Up Day. HHS is also issuing a new women's health tool, A Checklist for Your Next Checkup, developed by AHRQ. The checklist shows at a glance what screening tests the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends for women and when they should be given. It includes information about nine important medical screening tests for early detection of disease or other conditions. The checklist also provides information on medicines, immunizations, and tips on staying healthy. Select to access the HHS press release, view the checklist in English, and view the checklist in Spanish. A print copy of the checklist is available by sending an E-mail to

2.  AHRQ Issues Two MEPS Statistical Briefs on Insurance Coverage Provided by Small and Large Businesses

AHRQ issued two statistical briefs from the MEPS Insurance Component about employer-sponsored health insurance. The first shows offer and enrollment rates and average contributions for employer-sponsored health insurance by small business (firms of less than 50 employees). The second brief does the same for large businesses. The information is provided by industry, including a discussion of how the offers differ. Select to access Statistical Brief #15: Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance for Small Employers in the Private Sector, by Industry Classification: 2000 (PDF File, 535 KB; PDF Help) and Statistical Brief #16: Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance for Large Employers in the Private Sector, by Industry Classification: 2000 (PDF File, 510 KB; PDF Help).

3.  Third Issue of AHRQ WebM&M is Online Now

The third issue of AHRQ WebM&M, the online patient safety journal, is now online. This month's cases include an incorrect reading of a chest x-ray leading to an iatrogenic pneumothorax ("dropped lung"), premature administration of methotrexate for suspected ectopic pregnancy, reuse of a bloody blood pressure cuff in an ER, and failure to have a gun removed from the home of a suicidal patient for nearly 3 months. This month's Spotlight case describes an infant who coded due to blood clots in the lungs after a central line flush. The discussion highlights specific issues regarding prevention of catheter-related complications in infants and children. The Spotlight case is accompanied by a downloadable slide set. By completing the Spotlight case's quiz, physicians can receive CME credit and trainees can receive certification in patient safety. Since the launch of AHRQ WebM&M, 3,500 people have registered and about 1,700 copies of the Spotlight slide sets have been downloaded. In addition, there have been nearly 70,000 visitors to the site in the last 3 months. Commentaries from previous issues are still available under "Archives."

4.  Highlights From the Most Recent Edition of Our Monthly Newsletter

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

  • Chest x-ray is appropriate to confirm suspected pneumonia in most patients.
  • Prompt diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia is important to determine the need for antibiotic therapy, and prognosis (risk of death) is important for deciding whether or not to hospitalize the patient. Only 5 percent of patients suspected of having community-acquired pneumonia actually do, and findings from the medical history (for example, a cough) and physical examination rarely distinguish community-acquired pneumonia from other types of respiratory infections.

Other articles are:

  • Doctors are prescribing fewer and safer antiarrhythmic drugs than in the 1980s.
  • Hospitalization of children for respiratory illness presents an opportunity to counsel their parents about smoking.
  • Researchers focus on diabetes prevalence and control among urban black adults and diabetes understanding by the undereducated.
  • More people receive oral surgery from a general dentist than an oral surgeon, especially low-income and minority individuals.

Select for these articles and others.

5.  New AHRQ Publications

Research on Child and Adolescent Health: New Starts Fiscal Year 2002 Fact Sheet

A print copy is available by sending an E-mail to

6.  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.

Leape LL, Weissman JS, Schneider EC, et al. Adherence to practice guidelines: the role of specialty society guidelines. Am Heart J 2003 Jan;145(1):19-26. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Haggerty CL, Ness RB, Amortegui A, et al. Endometritis does not predict reproductive morbidity after pelvic inflammatory disease. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2003 Jan;188(1):141-8. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Mion LC, Palmer RM, Meldon SW, et al. Case finding and referral model for emergency department elders: a randomized clinical trial. Ann Emerg Med 2003 Jan;41(1):57-68. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Siminoff LA, Lawrence RH, Arnold RM. Comparison of black and white families' experiences and perceptions regarding organ donation request. Crit Care Med Jan;31(1):146-51. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Bertakis KD, Azari R, Callahan EJ. Patient pain: its influence on primary care physician-patient interaction. Fam Med 2003 Feb;35(2):119-23. Select to access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Current as of May 2003


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