AHRQ News Now: blog post on improving primary care; Medicaid and hospital performance; new patient safety research

AHRQ News Now

April 10, 2018, Issue #610

AHRQ Stats: Demographics of Veterans

Veterans treated at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities in 2014-15 were more likely to be age 65 or older, black, lower income and in poorer health compared with veterans who received treatment at non-VA facilities only. (Source: AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #508: Characteristics and Health Care Expenditures of VA Health System Users versus Other Veterans, 2014-2015 (Combined).)

Today's Headlines:

New AHRQ Views Blog Post – Research From AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW Initiative Sets the Stage for Advances in Primary Care


An AHRQ Views blog post by Bob McNellis, M.P.H, P.A., AHRQ’s Senior Advisor for Primary Care, discusses a new Annals of Family Medicine supplement that highlights initial research findings from AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW initiative. EvidenceNOW was developed to increase the capacity of primary care practices to deliver services proven to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The supplement provides insights into the state of primary care today while describing the challenges faced by small- and medium-sized primary care practices and highlighting the importance of AHRQ’s support to address these challenges and improve care. The supplement includes 12 articles by EvidenceNOW grantees and commentaries from experts in primary care research and practice transformation. Access the supplement.

Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion Improved Hospitals’ Financial Performance

The Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid to include coverage for childless adults has improved hospitals’ financial performance and substantially reduced the likelihood of hospital closures, according to an AHRQ-funded study in Health Affairs. The increased Medicaid coverage for previously uninsured people reduced hospitals’ costs for uncompensated care, strengthening the facilities’ bottom line, researchers concluded. The study, based on 2008–2016 data on hospital closures and financial performance, found the impact of Medicaid expansion was most pronounced for hospitals in rural markets and counties with large numbers of uninsured adults before Medicaid expansion. Study authors said future federal efforts to reform Medicaid policy should consider the strong relationship between Medicaid coverage levels and the financial viability of hospitals. Access the abstract.

Highlights From AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network

AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network (PSNet) highlights journal articles, books and tools related to patient safety. Articles featured this week include:

Review additional new publications in PSNet’s current issue or access recent cases and commentaries in AHRQ’s WebM&M (Morbidity and Mortality Rounds on the Web).

Register Now for April 26 Webinar on Improving Patient Safety in Primary Care

Registration is open for an April 26 webinar from noon to 1 p.m. ET on AHRQ’s Guide to Improving Patient Safety in Primary Care Settings by Engaging Patient and Families. The webinar, hosted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement/National Patient Safety Foundation, will focus on engaging patients and families in practical strategies to ensure patient safety.

Nominations Sought by May 15 for Appointment to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Nominations are being accepted for four-year appointments to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of experts that makes evidence-based recommendations about preventive screenings, counseling services and preventive medications. Nominations must be received by May 15, with an expected start date of January 2019. New members should have experience in public health; the reduction of health disparities; the application of science to health policy; and the communication of findings to health care professionals, policymakers and the general public. This year, AHRQ also prefers experience in areas of pediatrics and behavioral health. Qualified individuals may nominate themselves. Access more information about the nomination process.

Registration Opens April 11 for Webinars on AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project

Registration opens April 11 for AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) spring webinar series. The webinars are open to the public and geared to health services and policy researchers and other users interested in data on hospital inpatient and outpatient use and costs. An April 18 webinar from 2 to 3 p.m. ET will introduce HCUP nationwide and state-level databases and related resources. An April 25 webinar from 2 to 3 p.m. ET will introduce HCUP products and tools with a particular emphasis on HCUPnet, the free online statistics query system. Each webinar requires separate registration. Send questions to hcup@ahrq.gov.

Featured Case Study: AHRQ Toolkit Increases Reports of Safety Events at Christiana Care Health System

Christiana Care Health System, a teaching health system in Delaware, has seen a 23 percent increase in staff reports of patient safety events since introducing AHRQ’s Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) toolkit in 2014. The toolkit also helped Christiana providers improve communication with patients and families. Access the Impact Case Study.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Simulation training to improve 9-1-1 dispatcher identification of cardiac arrest: a randomized controlled trial. Meischke H, Painter IS, Stangenes SR, et al. Resuscitation. 2017 Oct;119:21-6. Epub 2017 Jul 29. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Medicare Advantage penetration and hospital costs before and after the Affordable Care Act. Henke RM, Karaca Z, Gibson TB, et al. Med Care. 2018 Apr;56(4):321-8. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Digital storytelling: families' search for meaning after child death. Rolbiecki AJ, Washington K, Bitsicas K. J Soc Work End Life Palliat Care. 2017 Oct-Dec;13(4):239-50. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Qualitative study to understand ordering of CT angiography to diagnose pulmonary embolism in the emergency room setting. Gyftopoulos S, Smith SW, Simon E, et al. J Am Coll Radiol. 2017 Oct 19. [Epub ahead of print.] Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Disparities in access to emergency general surgery care in the United States. Khubchandani JA, Shen C, Ayturk D, et al. Surgery. 2018 Feb;163(2):243-50. Epub 2017 Oct 16. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Using "roll-up" measures in healthcare quality reports: perspectives of report sponsors and national alliances. Cerully JL, Martino SC, Rybowski L, et al. Am J Manag Care. 2017 Jun 1;23(6):e202-7. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Adverse and hypersensitivity reactions to prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents in a large health care system. Blumenthal KG, Lai KH, Huang M, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2017 May-Jun;5(3):737-43.e3. Epub 2017 Jan 18. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

A study protocol testing the implementation, efficacy, and cost effectiveness of the ezParent program in pediatric primary care. Breitenstein SM, Schoeny M, Risser H, et al. Contemp Clin Trials. 2016 Sep;50:229-37. Epub 2016 Aug 31. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

For comments and questions about AHRQ News Now, contact Bruce Seeman, (301) 427-1998, or Bruce.Seeman@ahrq.hhs.gov.