Health IT, Other Groups Urge Congress To Fully Fund AHRQ

Nearly 200 health care organizations have sent letters to the Senate and the House urging lawmakers not to defund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare IT News reports (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 10/27).

Background

In June, the House Appropriations Committee advanced a fiscal year 2016 funding bill for HHS and the departments of Labor and Education that would eliminate funding for the AHRQ, which conducts research on various health IT initiatives (iHealthBeat, 6/25).

For example, the organization in August announced it would make available millions of dollars in grants for ambulatory and long-term care facilities to research how health IT and other evidence-based tools can improve patient safety (iHealthBeat, 9/1).

Letter Details

In the letters, the groups -- including the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and American Medical Informatics Association -- asked appropriators to fully fund AHRQ (Pittman, "Morning eHealth," Politico, 10/26).

Specifically, they asked Congress to restore AHRQ's budget to $364 million.

In total, 195 groups signed the letter. They wrote that cutting AHRQ's funding would take the U.S. "in the wrong direction."

They wrote, "Americans deserve reliable information on how to deliver the best possible care, at the greatest value, with the best outcomes," adding, "AHRQ-funded health services research provides those answers."

The letters concluded, "Health services research -- through AHRQ -- needs a dedicated funding stream. It's the optimal way to ensure the generation of evidence and data to make the practice of health care safer, more effective and more affordable for all Americans" (Healthcare IT News, 10/27).

Source: iHealthBeat, Tuesday, October 27, 2015
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