ROCKVILLE, MD—The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) is funding eight research projects on referral patterns to specialized services in managed care. The research projects, supported by $4.79 million in grants from AHCPR, will help determine how quality and cost of care are affected by access to specialized services. The issues to be studied include: • Referrals of Medicare patients—as part of the study, researchers will look at differences in cost and outcomes among patients with cardiovascular disease (Pennsylvania State University. Funding $403,397) • Specialty referrals among California physician groups—study will examine referral patterns for 6,300 adult patients with one of three common chronic conditions (Kaiser Foundation Research Institute. Funding $725,925) • Financial incentives and organization controls and their effect on referral patterns by primary care physicians (Ambulatory Sentinnel Practice Network, Denver, CO. Funding $909,794) • Referrals of Medicaid children—study will compare referrals to pediatric specialists and specialists for adults (Massachusetts General Hospital Funding $245,892) • Use of vision care by Medicare beneficiaries—will compare use of vision care in fee-for-service and capitated managed care (University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine. Funding $694,285) • Referrals of primary care physicians based on characteristics of physicians, patients and practices (Highland Hospital, Rochester, NY. Funding $469,112) • Specialty care in closed- versus open-access HMOs—study will look at use of primary care and specialist services in a closed panel gatekeeper HMO plan and in a point-of-service (POS) plan. (University of Pennsylvania. Funding $707,328) • Nephrologist care—will determine timing of referrals prior to the diagnosis of end-stage renal disease (ERSD) and clinical course of disease (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. Funding $634,179). Contact AHCPR at 301-594-1364 National survey examines state policies on assisted living PORTLAND—Thirteen states have established a task force or are developing recommendations regarding their assisted living policies, according to a national survey by the National Academy for State Health Policy. According to State Assisted Living Policy: 1996, nine states will, or presently, license all assisted living facilities; 13 both license and provide Medicaid reimbursement for assisted living; and nine states provide Medicaid reimbursement for assisted living, but do not have a separate licensure category. Copies of the 225-page report are available for $25. Contact NASHP at 207-874-6524.