Informing Health Initiatives: Summary of Requests and Assistance Provided, August 2011-February 2012

A summary of requests to the Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends (CFACT) for information to inform health initiatives, and of the assistance provided from August 2011 through February 2012.
Source of RequestRequestDateStaff ResponsibleAssistance Provided
Congressional Research ServiceAnalysis of prescribed medicine purchases forMarie StagnittiProvided national estimates of the top therapeutic classes of prescribed medicine purchases by total expenditures, limited to medicine purchased for children (ages 0-17). Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the requested information was provided to meet a tight deadline. The comparable estimates for adults are found in Expenditures for the Top Five Therapeutic Classes (PDF file PDF, 139KB). 
U.S. SenateNational health care expenditures for persons with Alzheimer's Disease.8/11Jeff RhoadesProvided substantive assistance to Senator Barbara Mikulski's office, U.S. Senate, to discuss national expenditure estimates and sources of payment from the MEPS Household Component. Particular attention was given to providing national health care expenditures for persons with Alzheimer's Disease.
Council of Economic AdvisorsNational estimates on cost and coverage to inform the Affordable Care Act (ACA)8/11Steve CohenBriefed staff of the Council of Economic Advisors on the availability of survey and administrative data at AHRQ and HHS for evaluating components of the Affordable Care Act. Responded to questions regarding the capacity of large-scale surveys to collect the data that will be needed to evaluate key provisions of health reform and regarding potential content enhancements that would improve evaluation capacity.
Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC)Size of the non-group market and average length of spell of non-group coverage8/11Steve Cohen and Steve HillResponded to a request to provide a review of the MEPS measures and content included in the forthcoming report entitled Compendium of Access-to-Care Measures in Federal Surveys of U.S. Households.
Government Accountability Office (GAO)National expenditure estimates of persons who died in a given year9/11AHRQ Data Center staffProvided access to GAO staff to restricted MEPS data through AHRQ's Data Center to conduct a study on the demographic and geographic profile of adults with pre-existing medical conditions. GAO used the national MEPS health care survey data to examine: the prevalence of and expenditures for certain conditions among the population of non-institutionalized U.S. adults not covered by Medicare, population counts of five groups of individuals with different pre-existing conditions, and the geographic and demographic profile of adults with pre-existing conditions.
Senate Appropriations CommitteeEstimates of service utilization for treatment of chronic pain conditions for women10/11Anita SoniResponded to a request for analysis of the health care expenditures by women which were associated with chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular [TMJ] disorders, and vulvodynia. To ensure adequate precision, the conditions were grouped together in the analysis as chronic pain conditions. Annual health care expenditure estimates were derived using AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). The  MEPS Statistical Brief, entitled Health Care Use and Expenditures for Pain Conditions Among Women 18 and Older (PDF file PDF, 142KB), was completed to address this request.
Congressional Budget OfficeTrends in health care spending for the privately insured11/11Joel CohenProvided technical assistance and national estimates from the MEPS on trends in out-of-pocket payments for persons with private health insurance.
Government Accountability Office (GAO)Psychotropic drugs and other mental health therapies for children12/11Sam Zuvekas and Steve CohenProvided substantive assistance on psychotropic drug and other mental health therapies for children. Focused on the findings from the following reports: National Estimates of Health Insurance Coverage, Mental Health Utilization, and Spending for Low-Income Individuals, and the Health Affairs article, Prescription Drugs And The Changing Patterns Of Treatment For Mental Disorders, 1996-2001. [Health Affairs 2005;24(1):195-205.]
Congressional Budget OfficeNational health insurance estimates12/11Steve Hill and Jessica VistnesProvided national estimates, derived from MEPS, of employment-related insurance policies held by nonelderly active employees, former employees (under COBRA continuing coverage provisions), and retirees. Also provided estimates of the characteristics of policyholders with single and family coverage.
Congressional Budget OfficeTrends in costs and coverage1/12Ed MillerProvided substantive consultations on estimation strategies to analyze changes in population characteristics, health care costs, and health insurance coverage over time.
Government Accountability Office (GAO)Barriers to care for Medicaid beneficiaries2/12Joel Cohen, Jim Kirby, Jeff Rhoades, and Steve CohenProvided substantive consultations on using MEPS to inform analyses of barriers to care for Medicaid beneficiaries. Provided details on the content of MEPS on access to care, as well as information about related estimates. Clarified methods to determine full- and part-year insurance status, and to appropriately use the access-to-care data for this study.

Requests for data and publications: Descriptive statistics for all assistance provided are available upon request. Please contact Cindy Nunley at

Source: Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Page last reviewed March 2012
Internet Citation: Informing Health Initiatives: Summary of Requests and Assistance Provided, August 2011-February 2012. March 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.