SHM recently joined more than 135 organizations in opposing legislation that would eliminate funding for the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), according to a July 30 letter. Language terminating the agency was part of a fiscal-year 2013 spending bill approved July 18 by the Republican-controlled Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.
Organized by the Friends of AHRQ Coalition, the letter calls on members of Congress to oppose any bill that terminates the agency and its important research.
“To ‘terminate’ AHRQ in the current fiscal environment is penny-wise and pound-foolish,” the letter states. “AHRQ-funded research is being used in hospitals, private practices, health departments, and communities across the nation to fuel innovation and improve quality, identify waste, and enhance efficiency of the healthcare system. … This research helps Americans get their money’s worth when it comes to healthcare. We need more of it, not less.”
A longtime supporter of AHRQ and its efforts to improve quality and patient safety, SHM is deeply concerned about efforts to eliminate this important agency and will fight to preserve its funding. A markup by the full committee has been postponed indefinitely.
The spending bill approved by the subcommittee also prohibits any patient-centered-outcomes research and all economic research within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It freezes funding for NIH and rescinds the $1 billion available in 2013 under the Prevention and Public Health Fund. It also rescinds $1.6 billion for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and blocks other funding for and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Laura Allendorf, SHM senior advisor, advocacy and government affairs