Tuesday, February 22, 2011

AHRQ's Budget Request

The FY 2012 budget request of $390 million for AHRQ is $12 million below the FY 2010 level. To meet their health IT research needs, AHRQ is requesting $28 million to support on-going projects. AHRQ’s health IT program works in collaboration with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to implement health IT research as authorized in HITECH Act.

The FY 2012 budget level for health IT will support 46 research and training grants funded at $14 million. In addition AHRQ will support $13 million in contracts related to synthesizing and disseminating evidence on the meaningful use of health IT and help to develop the tools and resources needed to implement best practices.

AHRQ’s support for patient safety activities includes $65 million in the budget for FY 2012 with $34 million for projects to reduce and prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI). Of this total, $10 million will be invested specifically in the implementation of evidence-based practices to prevent common HAIs such as central-line associated blood stream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

AHRQ’s current research projects to prevent HAIs are now operational in every, state, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. These projects provide evidence-based practices, tools and training in hospital intensive care units. In FY 2012, AHRQ will continue to expand the program to more hospitals in each state and to more healthcare settings beyond the ICU.

Starting in 2010, 86 AHRQ tools to advance patient safety were made available to healthcare providers to include research summaries, training tools, surveys on patient safety culture, along with access to web-based patient safety networks. Plans are for AHRQ to continue to increase the number of resources to total 92 tools in FY 2011 and 98 tools in FY 2012.

An investment for $4 million in FY 2012 would help to continue projects such as “My Own Network” powered by AHRQ, also known as “MONAHRQ” that provides states and communities with software to publically report comparative quality improvement data.

In addition, the budget included $92 million for crosscutting research in a range of topics related to improving quality, effectiveness, and efficiency in healthcare. This funding would help AHRQ further support innovative health services research, coordinate data collection, perform measurement and analysis, and disseminate and translate research findings.

The budget includes $33 million for investigator initiated research projects and to continue the support of core data and measurement activities related to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project and the annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities reports.