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HHS Seeks Comments on National Health Care Quality Strategy and Plan

Electronic Newsletter, Issue 294

September 17, 2010

AHRQ News and Numbers

Two-thirds of the nation's 1,131 public hospitals were in rural areas in 2008. However, these rural hospitals—which on average have only 59 beds—accounted for just 20 percent of the 5.6 million patients discharged from public hospitals in 2008, while their larger urban counterparts accounted for 43 percent. Urban hospitals were nearly five times larger, averaging 285 beds. [Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), HCUP Statistical Brief #95: Public Hospitals in the United States, 2008 (PDF File, Plugin Software Help)]

Today's Headlines

  1. HHS seeks comments on national health care quality strategy and plan
  2. Request for nominations for AHRQ study section members
  3. AHRQ Webcast on new and improved registries for evaluating patient outcomes and health IT
  4. AHRQ launches new look for NGC and NQMC Web sites
  5. New version of the AHRQ Quality Indicators software now available
  6. Audio podcasts keep you updated on health care information
  7. AHRQ director helps consumers navigate the health care system in a new advice column on the Web
  8. AHRQ in the professional literature

1.  HHS Seeks Comments on National Health Care Quality Strategy and Plan

The Affordable Care Act calls on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a National Quality Strategy, including a comprehensive strategic plan and the identification of priorities to improve the delivery of health care services, patient health outcomes, and population health. HHS Secretary Sebelius is seeking public input in the development of a National Health Care Quality Strategy and Plan. HHS welcomes comments and suggestions on all aspects of the proposed structure, principles, conceptualization, and specific details of the National Quality Strategy. This document outlines our initial thinking regarding the plan and includes specific areas where feedback would be particularly valuable. Select to provide comments. The deadline to submit comments is October 15.

2.  Request for Nominations for AHRQ Study Section Members

AHRQ is seeking nominations to fill approximately 20 to 30 percent of its study section membership, across the following study sections:

  • Health System Research.
  • Health Care Technology and Decision Sciences.
  • Health Care Quality and Effectiveness Research.
  • Health Care Research Training.

Individuals from the health services research and health care community who could serve as peer reviewers on these study sections are sought to replace study section members whose terms have expired. Select to read the September 10 Federal Register notice. Deadline for recommendations is October 1.

3.  AHRQ Webcast on New and Improved Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes and Health IT

AHRQ will be conducting a live Webcast of one of the sessions during the AHRQ 2010 Annual Conference on September 27 at 8:00 a.m. ET. During the session titled, New and Improved: Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes and Health IT Richard Gliklich and Nancy Dreyer of Outcome Science, Inc. will review the important enhancements to the second edition of Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes: A User's Guide and conduct an interactive discussion with the audience on topics for future editions. The new handbook will be available for download from the AHRQ Web site on the morning of the Webcast. Individuals who are interested in learning more about the Webcast should visit AHRQ's Effective Health Care Web site. Registration is not required.

4.  AHRQ Launches New Look for NGC and NQMC Web Sites

AHRQ has updated and enhanced the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC) and National Quality Measures Clearinghouse™ (NQMC). The sites now allow users to find information faster, identify the right measures or guidelines with ease, and intuitively search thousands of records. Both sites include a side-by-side comparison feature, enhanced semantic search engine and easier navigation. The NGC Web site is a publicly available repository of more than 2400 practice guidelines submitted by organizations and individuals worldwide. Researchers, clinicians and informatics experts routinely use the NGC site to find accepted guidelines that can be incorporated into practice. NQMC contains more than 1400 measures of health care quality covering seven domains of care: access, outcome, patient experience, population health, process, structure, use of services.

5.  Version of the AHRQ Quality Indicators Software Now Available

AHRQ has released a new version (4.1b) of the AHRQ Quality Indicators software that includes revisions to complement the SAS® and Windows software. AHRQ's Quality Indicators are measures of health care quality that make use of readily available hospital inpatient administrative data. The AHRQ QIs consist of four modules measuring various aspects of quality:

Software and user guides for all four modules are available to assist users in applying the Quality Indicators to their own data. Select to access the 4.1b version (PDF File, Plugin Software Help) of the software.

6.  Audio Podcasts Keep You Updated On Health Care Information

AHRQ's Healthcare 411 is a podcast series you can listen to at home or on the go. Weekly 60-second audio podcasts, available in English and Spanish, are designed for consumers. Log on and listen to Healthcare 411; or subscribe and we'll send stories directly to your computer or personal media player. Select to listen to our latest audio podcast on high quality care.

7.  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 new, brief, easy-to-understand columns. The biweekly columns will help consumers better navigate the health care system. Select to read Dr. Clancy's advice column on improving your health literacy.

8.   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.

Berdahl TA, Torres Stone RA. Examining Latino differences in mental healthcare use: the roles of acculturation and attitudes towards healthcare. Community Ment Health J 2009 Oct; 45(5):393-403. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Everett CM, Schumacher JR, Wright A, et al. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners as a usual source of care. J Rural Health 2009 Fall; 25(4):407-14. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Carter BL, Rogers M, Daly J, et al. The potency of team-based care interventions for hypertension: a meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med 2009 Oct 26; 169(19):1748-55. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Schwarz EB, Santucci A, Borrero S, et al. Perspectives of primary care clinicians on teratogenic risk counseling. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 2009 Oct; 85(10):858-63. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Dosa DM, Dore DD, Mor V, et al. Frequency of long-acting opioid analgesic initiation in opioid-naïve nursing home residents. J Pain Symptom Manage 2009 Oct; 38(4):515-21. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Bruckner TA, Saxton KB, Anderson E, et al. From paradox to disparity: trends in neonatal death in very low birth weight non-Hispanic black and white infants, 1989-2004. J Pediatr 2009 Oct; 155(4):482-7. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®

Ngo VK, Asarnow JR, Lange J, et al. Outcomes for youths from racial-ethnic minority groups in a quality improvement intervention for depression treatment. Psychiatr Serv 2009 Oct; 60(10):1357-64. 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.

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.

This service is provided to you at no charge by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Page last reviewed September 2010
Internet Citation: HHS Seeks Comments on National Health Care Quality Strategy and Plan. September 2010. 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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