County-Level Hospitalization Rates Show Impact of Opioids, Other Substances

Issue 605
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
March 6, 2018

AHRQ Stats: Family Expenses for Health Care

About 14 percent of families had out-of-pocket health care expenses exceeding $2,500 in 2015. This level of expense occurred in 4 percent of poor families and 22 percent of high-income families. (Source: AHRQ, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #507: Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenses for Non-Elderly Families by Income and Family Structure, 2015.)

Today's Headlines:

County-Level Hospitalization Rates Show Impact of Opioids, Other Substances

A new online statistical resource from AHRQ allows users to compare county-level hospitalization rates for opioids, alcohol, stimulants and other drugs. While statistics show that alcohol-related hospitalizations ranked first in most communities, opioids and stimulants ranked second or third for hospitalizations in nearly all of the more than 1,600 counties and two cities that provided data for the analysis. To support ongoing efforts to address the opioids crisis, AHRQ has also updated an interactive online map of the United States to provide county-specific data on opioid-related hospitalization rates in 32 states. These resources will be updated to support ongoing efforts by public health officials, clinicians, first responders, researchers and others who are working to reduce the impact of substance abuse. Learn more by accessing AHRQ's press release.

Register Now for March 12 Webinar on Patient Safety Awareness Week

Registration is open for a webinar on March 12 at 1 p.m. ET on “Engaging Patients and Providers: Speaking Up for Patient Safety.” The Institute for Healthcare Improvement/National Patient Safety Foundation (IHI/NPSF) will host the webinar to kick off Patient Safety Awareness Week. Speakers will include Jeffrey Brady, M.D., director of AHRQ’s Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety; Tiffany Christensen, vice president of experience innovation at the Beryl Institute; and Gerald Dickson, M.D., senior vice president of quality, safety and risk prevention at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Tejal Gandhi, M.D., chief clinical and safety officer of IHI/NPSF, will moderate. Stay informed about Patient Safety Awareness Week activities by following us on Twitter at @AHRQNews, Facebook and LinkedIn, and access AHRQ resources developed to keep patients safe.

New AHRQ Views Blog Post: Waging the Battle Against Adverse Drug Events

A new AHRQ Views blog post from Jeffrey Brady, M.D., director of AHRQ’s Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, highlights successes and challenges for hospitals and patients in reducing adverse drug events (ADEs). According to data from a recent AHRQ statistical brief, the rate of patients who experienced an ADE while in the hospital fell by 24 percent between 2010 and 2014. Improvements were uneven, however, as patients arriving at the hospital with an ADE for treatment increased by 16 percent during the same time frame.  Access the blog post to learn more about AHRQ’s evidence-based tools to prevent ADEs.

Federal Agencies Continue Many Grant-Funded Strategies to Improve Children’s Health

A federal grant program that tested ideas for improving children’s health care quality under Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) resulted in more than half of improvement strategies continuing beyond the six-year grant period, according to an AHRQ-funded study. From 2010-2015, 18 state Medicaid agencies implemented grants authorized by the CHIPRA Quality Demonstration Grant Program. AHRQ-funded research found 57 percent of 115 quality improvement activities were sustained after the grants ended. Quality measure reporting and practice facilitation were among the initiatives most likely to have continued, researchers concluded. Family engagement activities were least likely to continue. Learn more about the national evaluation of the CHIPRA Quality Demonstration Grants Program. Access the study, published in Maternal and Child Health Journal.

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).

March 20 Deadline Set for Comments on AHRQ Quality Indicators

A Request for Information seeks feedback from the public and the health care industry on examining the scientific acceptability and use of the AHRQ Quality Indicators (QIs) for the purpose of quality improvement. AHRQ QIs are standardized, evidence-based measures of health care quality used with hospital inpatient administrative data to measure and track clinical performance and outcomes. AHRQ is conducting a study to document knowledge and evidence about the scientific acceptability of the QIs; compile information on the strengths and limitations of the QIs; identify any areas of disagreement in the evidence; and develop suggestions to refine or improve the QIs. The deadline for comments has been extended to March 20. AHRQ and an expert workgroup will use the feedback to develop recommendations on retaining, retiring or modifying the QIs to maximize their value to the health care industry and policymakers.

Public Input Due by April 1 on Physical Function Patient-Reported Outcome Measures

AHRQ has issued a Request for Information to solicit public input on how physical function patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures are being used in ambulatory care settings. Input will assist AHRQ in an upcoming challenge competition and pilot project for developing and implementing user-friendly technical tools to collect and integrate PRO data in electronic health records or other information technology products. April 1 is the deadline for comments.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Value assessment at the point of care: incorporating patient values throughout care delivery and a draft taxonomy of patient values. Armstrong MJ, Mullins CD. Value Health. 2017 Feb;20(2):292-5. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Pediatric hypertension: provider perspectives. Bello JK, Mohanty N, Bauer V, et al. Glob Pediatr Health. 2017 Jun 6;4:2333794X17712637. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

New persistent opioid use after minor and major surgical procedures in US adults. Brummett CM, Waljee JF, Goesling J, et al. JAMA Surg. 2017 Jun 21;152(6):e170504. Epub 2017 Jun 21. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Impact of Early Head Start in North Carolina on dental care use among children younger than 3 years. Burgette JM, Preisser JS, Jr., Weinberger M, et al. Am J Public Health. 2017 Apr;107(4):614-20. Epub 2017 Feb 16. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Reconstruction of the irradiated breast: a national claims-based assessment of postoperative morbidity. Chetta MD, Aliu O, Zhong L, et al. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017 Apr;139(4):783-92. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Questions remain regarding the effectiveness of many commonly used autism treatments. Dawson G. Pediatrics. 2017 Jun;139(6). Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Solving disparities through payment and delivery system reform: a program to achieve health equity. DeMeester RH, Xu LJ, Nocon RS, et al. Health Aff. 2017 Jun 1;36(6):1133-9. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

A comparison of safety and efficacy of cytotoxic versus molecularly targeted drugs in pediatric phase I solid tumor oncology trials. Dorris K, Liu C, Li D, et al. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2017 Mar;64(3). Epub 2016 Sep 22. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Page last reviewed March 2018
Page originally created March 2018
Internet Citation: County-Level Hospitalization Rates Show Impact of Opioids, Other Substances. Content last reviewed March 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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