Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #81--April 26, 2001

CAAR (Current Awareness in Aging Research) is a weekly email report produced by the Center for Demography of Health and Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that helps researchers keep up to date with the latest developments in the field. For more information, including an archive of back issues and subscription information see:


I. Reports and articles:

1. NCHS: "1999 National Hospital Discharge Survey," by Jennifer R. Popovic and Margaret J. Hall (US National Center for Health Statistics Advance Data No. 319, April 2001, .pdf format, 18p.).

Click on "View/download PDF" for full text.

2. DHHS OIG AUDIT: "Review of Medicare Payments for Services Provided to Incarcerated Beneficiaries," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General A-04-00-05568, April 2001, .pdf format, 19p.).

Executive Summary:

Generally, Medicare payments cannot be made for medical services to Medicare beneficiaries who are incarcerated. This final report points out, however, that the Medicare program is extremely vulnerable to such payments because the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) does not identify Medicare beneficiaries who are in prison, making it virtually impossible for Medicare contractors to prevent improper payments. To date we have identified $32 million in potentially improper Medicare fee-for-service payments for calendar years 1997 through 1999 by Medicare contractors to providers on behalf of 7,438 incarcerated beneficiaries. To minimize the risk of improper payments we recommended that HCFA take procedural and systematic measures to obtain data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) which identifies incarcerated SSA beneficiaries, and design and implement system controls in Medicare's enrollment data base and common working file to alert contractors when a Medicare claim is submitted for services to an incarcerated beneficiary. Officials of the Health Care Financing Administration agreed with the intent of our recommendations, but hesitate to fully commit to implementing systems controls at this time because they believe further study is necessary to determine the most appropriate source of incarcerated beneficiary data for their use.

3. _PNAS_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: Note: Full electronic text (HTML and .pdf format) may be available. Check your organization's library. "Influences of aging and caloric restriction on the transcriptional profile of skeletal muscle from rhesus monkeys," by Tsuyoshi Kayo, David B. Allison, Richard Weindruch, and Tomas A. Prolla (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 98, No. 9, Apr. 24, 2001, p. 5093-5098).



A. "Dutch life expectancy slips behind that of European neighbours," by Tony Sheldon (_British Medical Journal_ News, Vol. 322, No. 7292, Apr. 21, 2001, p. 948).

B. "Can I choose the cause of my death?" by A. Indrayan (_British Medical Journal_ Personal Views, Vol. 322, No. 7292, Apr. 21, 2001, p. 948).


A. "Psychiatric illness and mortality after hip fracture," by Sharon Nightingale, John Holmes, James Mason, and Allan House (_The Lancet_, Vol. 357, No. 9264, Apr. 21, 2001.)

B. "Raloxifene fails to slow cognitive decline in older women," by Michael McCarthy (_The Lancet_, Vol. 357, No. 9264, Apr. 21, 2001, HTML and .pdf format, p. 1270.)



6. MEDSCAPE ARTICLES: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles.

A. "Effects of Estrogen on Cognition, Mood, and Degenerative Brain Diseases," by Janet E. Shepherd (_Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association_, Vol. 41, No. 2, March/April 2001, p. 221-228).


B. "Osteoporosis," by Susan New (Medscape Women's Health Journal Scan, Vol. 4, No. 6, Apr. 19, 2001).


7. _TIME_ ARTICLE: "Burning Off the Years: Age is proving to be no barrier to a good, hard workout. Quite the opposite may be true," by Harriet Barovick (_Time_, Vol. 157, No. 16, Apr. 23, 2001).,9171,1101010423-107273,00.html


II. Working Papers:

8. NBER: "Differential Mortality in the UK," by Orazio P. Attanasio and Carl Emmerson (National Bureau of Economic Research W8241, April 2001, .pdf format, 33p.).


In this paper we use the two waves of the British Retirement Survey (1988/89 and 1994) to quantify the relationship between socio-economic status and health outcomes. We find that, even after conditioning on the initial health status, wealth rankings are important determinants of mortality and the evolution of the health indicator in the survey. For men aged 65 moving from the 40th percentile to the 60th percentile in the wealth distribution increases the probability of survival by between 2.4 and 3.4 percentage points depending on the measure of wealth used. A slightly smaller effect is found for women of between 1.5 and 1.9 percentage points. In the process of estimating these effects we control for non-random attrition from our sample.

Click on "PDF" or submit your email address at the bottom of the abstract for full text.


III. Journal Tables of Contents (check your library for availability):

9. American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 153, No. 9, May 1, 2001). Note: Full electronic text (HTML and .pdf format) may be available. Check your organization's library.

10. CARL Uncover Journal Tables of Contents. Follow the instructions below to access tables of contents. CARL Uncover provides fee based document delivery services for selected journals.

A. Point your browser to:

B. click on "Search Uncover"
C. click on "Search Uncover Now"
D. Type the Journal Name in the search box and click the radio button"Journal Title Browse"
E. click on the journal name
F. click on "journal issues"
G. click on the issues identified below

Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect (Vol. 12, No. 3/4, 2000).


IV. Books:

11. NBER: _Social Security Pension Reform in Europe_, edited by Martin Feldstein and Horst Siebert (forthcoming from University of Chicago Press, from a conference held Mar. 20-21, 2000) (.pdf format). Five new chapters have been made available in electronic format. They are:

"The German Pension System: Status Quo and Reform Options," by Bert Rurup (25p.).

"Italy: A Never-Ending Pension Reform," by Daniele Franco (33p.).

"Swedish Pension Reform - How Did It Evolve and What Does It Mean for the Future?" by Edward Palmer (35p.).

"The Hungarian Pension Reform: A Preliminary Assessment of the First Years of Implementation," by Robert Rocha and Dimitri Vittas (29p.).

"Recent Developments in Old-Age Pension Systems: An International Overview," by Klaus-Jurgen Gern (70p.).

Scroll to or "find in page" the chapter(s) of interest.


V. Conferences/Workshops:

"HCFA 103: Medicare Cost & Payment Data," to be held June 25-26, 2001 in Chicago, Illinois (classroom based course), and July 23-24 in Boston, Massachusetts (computer based course). "This workshop will familiarize the audience with the use of Medicare administrative data for research with an emphasis on cost data. It is designed for individuals who have some research background (basic epidemiological concepts and interpretation) and some experience with health services (either clinical or research), but who have little or no hands-on experience using Medicare cost data. The course will cover the origin, flow, quality and research applications of Medicare data. After taking the course, attendees will have the background to begin analysis using Medicare cost data." For more information see:


VI. Legislation Information Updates:

13. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING: "Senior to Senior: Two Generations Confront the Future of Medicare and Social Security," a hearing held Apr. 19, 2001.

Hearing testimony:

Full video transcript (RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required, running time: 1 hour, 51 minutes, 22 seconds).

14. US SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE: Note: Testimony from these hearings is available in .pdf format.

A. "Finding the Right Fit: Medicare, Prescription Drugs and Current Coverage Options," a hearing held Apr. 24, 2001.

Hearing testimony:

Note: At the time of distribution of this email, only Senator Grassley's opening comments were available. The rest of the testimony should be available shortly.

B. "Medicare and Social Security Benefits: Turning Off the Spigot to Prisoners, Fugitives, the Deceased and Other Ineligibles," a hearing held Apr. 25, 2001.

Hearing testimony:


VII. Websites of Interest:

15. BROWN UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR GERONTOLOGY & HEALTH CARE RESEARCH FACTS ON DYING: "The Brown University Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is engaged in a five-year research effort to use both existing and new data collections to describe the dying experience in the United States of America utilizing maps which display geographical data about quality of end-of-life care." At present, the site is highlighted by maps and slideshows covering selected aspects of the topic.


Jack Solock
Data Librarian--Center for Demography and Ecology and Center for Demography of Health and Aging
4470 Social Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706