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New Spanish-language Consumer Guides Compare Treatments for Depression, Prostate Cancer and Other Conditions

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 279

The cost of insuring a family of four with an employer-sponsored health plan in the United States averaged $12,298 in 2008.

The cost of insuring a family of four with an employer-sponsored health plan in the United States averaged $12,298 in 2008. The annual premium for covering an employee and one family member, known as an "employee-plus-one" plan, averaged $8,535, while the annual premium for a plan that only covered the employee averaged $4,386. Almost 20 million of the 62.5 million workers enrolled in employer-based insurance in 2008 had family plans, while about 11 million had employee-plus-one plans. The 31.5 million remaining workers had single-coverage plans. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, MEPS Statistical Brief #251: Employer-Sponsored Single, Employee-Plus-One, and Family Health Insurance: Selection and Cost, 2008.]

Today's Headlines

  1. New Spanish-language consumer guides compare treatments for depression, prostate cancer and other conditions
  2. Payer- and service-specific estimates of annual medical expenditures attributable to obesity
  3. New AHRQ evidence report on the health benefits of vitamin D and calcium available
  4. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: an evidence-based prevention resource for nurse practitioners
  5. What's new at AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange—reducing hospital readmission rates
  6. Register for AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange free Web conference set for August 13
  7. Upcoming Web conference for clinical pharmacists on the relevance and applications of comparative effectiveness research set for September 9
  8. Audio newscasts available when you have time to listen
  9. Twitter Updates about AHRQ
  10. AHRQ director helps consumers navigate the health care system in a new advice column on the Web
  11. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  New Spanish-language Consumer Guides Compare Treatments for Depression, Prostate Cancer and Other Conditions

Spanish speakers who want to know how soon they can expect to feel better when taking an antidepressant, which rheumatoid arthritis drugs work best against pain or how surgery compares with other options for prostate cancer now can get this and other treatment information through AHRQ's new Spanish-language consumer guides. AHRQ also released consumer guides in Spanish that compare treatments for high blood pressure, osteoporosis in women after menopause and renal artery stenosis—a narrowing of the renal artery that supplies blood to the kidneys. Select to access the guides. Print copies are available by sending an e-mail to

2.  Payer- and Service-Specific Estimates of Annual Medical Expenditures Attributable to Obesity

Medical spending on conditions associated with obesity has doubled in the past decade and could reach $147 billion a year, according to a new study published in the July/August issue of Health Affairs. Researchers from RTI International, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and AHRQ warn that U.S. obesity rates grew 37 percent between 1998 and 2006. This rise accounted for 89 percent of the increase in obesity spending, or another $40 billion a year. Obesity now accounts for 9.1 percent of all medical spending, up from 6.5 percent in 1998. Today, more than 25 percent of Americans are obese, up from 18.3 percent in 1998. The researchers point to the increase in the prevalence of obesity and the medical problems it triggers as the culprit that is driving increases in total medical spending. Although private payers bear a large portion of costs associated with spending on risks related to obesity, public-sector spending remains substantial. Medical spending linked with obesity accounts for 8.5 percent of Medicare expenditures and 11.8 percent of Medicaid expenditures. Select to read the abstract in PubMed.®

3.  New AHRQ Evidence Report on the Health Benefits of Vitamin D and Calcium Available

A new AHRQ evidence report of human studies of the possible health benefits of consuming vitamin D and calcium, there appears to be considerable uncertainty as to benefits largely because of conflicting study findings or because specific health outcomes have not been studied. The review was conducted by the AHRQ's Tufts Medical Center Evidence-based Practice Center in Boston. The report, Vitamin D and Calcium: Systematic Review of Health Outcomes, was commissioned by NIH's Office of Dietary Supplements, FDA, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Health Canada, to make available independently developed, updated findings for dietary and supplemental calcium, vitamin D, and combinations of the two nutrients for a wide range of health outcomes for possible consideration by a committee of the Institute's Food and Nutrition Board, which is currently reviewing the 1997 Dietary Reference Intakes recommendations for the amounts of vitamins and minerals that people should consume daily. Select to access the report.

4.  U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: An Evidence-based Prevention Resource for Nurse Practitioners

The June 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners included an article encouraging nurse practitioners to use the Task Force's evidence-based recommendations to guide their screening, counseling, and preventive medication decisions. The article was co-authored by AHRQ's Tricia Trinite and Task Force members Carol Loveland-Cherry, Ph.D., R.N., and Lucy Marion, Ph.D., R.N. Select to read the article.

5.  What's New at AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange—Reducing Hospital Readmission Rates

Reducing hospital readmission rates is the topic of the newest issue of the AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange Web site. The featured innovations describe two programs that reduced hospital readmission rates and an attempt at an innovation to reduce readmission rates that was not successful. Both types of innovation experiences offer important lessons learned. The featured QualityTools provide practical discharge planning tools. The Innovations Exchange contains more than 300 searchable innovations and 1,400 searchable QualityTools. Don't forget to visit the Spotlight for expert commentary, human interest stories, and other opportunities to connect with this program. You can access past issues of "What's New" on topics such as mental health, women's health, management of asthma, obese and overweight youth, and culturally competent care.

6.  Register for AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange Free Web Conference Set for August 13

AHRQ's Health Care Innovations Exchange invites you to participate in a free Web conference August 13 from 2:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT. Moderator Foster Gesten, Medical Director, Office of Health Insurance Programs, New York State Department of Health, will navigate the "Roller Coaster Implementation of the Arizona Medical Information Exchange (AMIE)." The AMIE enables clinicians to immediately access hospital discharge, laboratory test, and medication data on specific patients from other providers, thereby allowing them to make more fully-informed clinical decisions, avoid test duplication, ensure safe medication prescribing, and provide continuity of care for Medicaid beneficiaries. Learn the ups and downs of implementing the AMIE, the behind-the-scenes story of AMIE's creation, and the difference that AMIE has made in the words of a practicing physician. Physicians from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System will discuss their unique roles and experiences with AMIE. Select to register and for more information about the Web conference.

7.  Upcoming Web Conference for Clinical Pharmacists on the Relevance and Applications of Comparative Effectiveness Research Set for September 9

Register now for AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program and cosponsored by the American Pharmacists Association free Web conference on September 9, 2:00- 3:00 p.m., EDT. The conference will provide an overview of comparative effectiveness research and its relevance to pharmacists and pharmacy-based decision-makers. Highlights of a recent article, "Comparative Effectiveness Research: Relevance and Applications to Pharmacy," Exit Disclaimer will be presented by authors Glen Schumock, Pharm.D., MBA, Director and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Simon Pickard, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice from University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition, AHRQ's Scott Smith, R.Ph., M.S.P.H., Ph.D., Director of the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research programs will provide an overview of AHRQ's comparative effectiveness program, including the program's scientific evidence-based resources, and Carmen Kelly, Pharm.D., R.Ph., Pharmacist Officer, will serve as moderator for the event. Continuing Pharmacy Education credits will be offered to pharmacists who participate in the Web conference. Select to register for the Web conference.

8.  Audio Newscasts Available When You Have Time to Listen

Are you looking for health-related news you can listen to at your convenience at home or on the go? AHRQ's Healthcare 411 is your reliable audio news program, based on the latest research and available when and where you need it! You can listen to 60-second radiocasts with tips for heath care consumers and 10-minute audio podcasts featuring longer, more in-depth interviews with experts who provide evidence-based information on today's critical health care topics. Log on and listen to Healthcare 411; or subscribe and we'll send stories directly to your computer or personal media player.

9.  Twitter Updates about AHRQ

AHRQ news updates are now available on Twitter, a micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates to people in their social network. Select to follow AHRQ on Twitter. Exit Disclaimer If you do not already have a Twitter account, you will be prompted to create one. Twitter accounts are free.

10.  AHRQ Director Helps Consumers Navigate the Health Care System in a New Advice Column on the Web

AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., offers advice to consumers in brief, easy-to-understand columns. The biweekly columns will help consumers better navigate the health care system. Select to read Dr. Clancy's advice columns.

11.  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.

McConnochie KM, Wood NE, Herendeen NE, et al. Acute illness care patterns change with use of telemedicine. Pediatrics 2009 Jun; 123(6):e989-95. Select to access the abstract in PubMed.®

Alexander GL. A descriptive analysis of a nursing home clinical information system with decision support. Perspect Health Inf Manag 2008 Sep 2; 5:12. Select to access the abstract in PubMed.®

Desai AA, Baras J, Berk BB, et al. Management of acute kidney injury in the intensive care unit: a cost-effectiveness analysis of daily vs alternate-day hemodialysis. Arch Intern Med 2008 Sep 8; 168(16):1761-7. Select to access the abstract in PubMed.®

Huang AJ, Pérez-Stable EJ, Kim SE, et al. Preferences for human papillomavirus testing with routine cervical cancer screening in diverse older women. J Gen Intern Med 2008 Sep; 23(9):1324-9. Select to access the abstract in PubMed.®

Lu C, Frank RG, McGuire TG. Demand response of mental health services to cost sharing under managed care. J Ment Health Policy Econ 2008 Sep; 11(3):113-25. Select to access the abstract in PubMed.®

Flaherty EG, Sege RD, Griffith J, et al. From suspicion of physical child abuse to reporting: primary care clinician decision-making. Pediatrics 2008 Sep; 122(3):611-9. Select to access the abstract in PubMed.®

Du H, Valenzuela V, Diaz P, et al. Factors affecting enrollment in literacy studies for English- and Spanish-speaking cancer patients. Stat Med 2008 Sep 10; 27(20):4119-31. Select to access the abstract in PubMed.®

Contact Information

Please address comments and questions regarding the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter to Nancy Comfort at or (301) 427-1866.

If you have questions about AHRQ's activities, please try to find the answers by checking our Home Page, where we have established links to various topical areas. Also check the News & Information section and Frequently Asked Questions. You may also Browse the Web Site. These features are designed to assist you in obtaining the information you are seeking.

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Page last reviewed August 2009
Internet Citation: New Spanish-language Consumer Guides Compare Treatments for Depression, Prostate Cancer and Other Conditions: Electronic Newsletter, Issue 279. August 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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