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Primary Care Research
Research related to the most common acute, chronic, and comorbid conditions that primary care clinicians care for on a daily basis is lacking. Research in these areas is vital because the overall health of a population is directly linked to the strength of its primary care health system. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) supports research to improve health care quality, reduce costs, advance patient safety, decrease medical errors, and broaden access to essential services.
What we’re asking for
STFM and other CAFM organizations are asking Congress to fund AHRQ at a level of at least $400 million for fiscal year 2013.
Why we're asking for this
- Primary care research funding is lacking the necessary funding despite the fact that it is key to the development of a robust primary care system for our nation that delivers higher quality of care and better health while reducing the rising cost of care.
- We are asking for funding for primary care research in order to better understand how patients can best decide how and when to seek care, how to introduce and disseminate new discoveries into real life practice, and how to maximize appropriate care.
- Ample funding for AHRQ can help researchers address these problems confronting our health system today.
AHRQ receives $369 million in base funding from the evaluation tap in FY 2012, a $3 million reduction from FY 2011. AHRQ also receives $24 million through mandatory transfer from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund and $12 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, bringing total funding to $405 million in FY 2012.
CAFM is asking Congress to fund primary care research and AHRQ at a level of at least $400 million for FY 2013.
On March 19, 2012, STFM and the other CAFM organizations signed onto a Friends of AHRQ coalition letter to the House asking for $400 million in funding for primary care research and AHRQ. On March 22, 2012, a similar Friends of AHRQ coalition letter was sent to the Senate.
How STFM Members Can Get Involved
In the event you get a chance to talk to your Members of Congress, here are some talking points that describe what comparative effectiveness research really is and why it is necessary to keep funding these programs.
- Comparative effectiveness research identifies what works best, for whom, in what circumstances. This information is evidence-based and provides both the physician and patient information with which to make better health care decisions.
- In this regard, comparative effectiveness research enhances competition. With better information about their care, consumers can make better decisions and choose the treatments best for them, in the same way that Consumer Reports provides trusted information on the best cars, appliances, and other products. Informed choice is the fundamental principle of our market-based economy.
While in the Senate, Dr. Bill Frist recognized the importance of comparative effectiveness research and led the effort to authorize, through the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, the comparative effectiveness research program at AHRQ. Funding for this new comparative effectiveness research program was first appropriated in FY 2005—spending legislation Mr. Cantor supported—and thus AHRQ’s comparative effectiveness program was launched under President George W. Bush’s administration
- AHRQ and NIH provide funding to local universities and private research institutions to produce comparative effectiveness research. Private sector entities, such as health plans and drug and device companies, also produce this research through their own R&D efforts, but federal funding of this research ensures transparency of the results to the general public. Federal funding for research is essential to ensuring balanced, unbiased, easily accessible information.
- Americans need federally funded comparative effectiveness research to help them make more informed choices about the care they’re buying. Eliminating federal funding for comparative effectiveness research would be a disservice to consumers who themselves say they want better information about their care.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality—Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is a small federal agency with the responsibility of research to support clinical decision-making, reduce costs, advance patient safety, and improve health care quality and access.
Friends of AHRQ—The Friends of AHRQ is a voluntary coalition of more than 250 organizations, including the four CAFM organizations, that support AHRQ by sending joint letters to key members of Congress, make joint visits to members of Congress and their staff, and holding briefings to demonstrate the importance of AHRQ.
House Appropriations Committee (sets spending levels)
Senate Appropriations Committee (sets spending levels)