Federal Healthcare Efficiency Agency on the Chopping Block

Despite AHRQs groundbreaking work in analyzing data and making recommendations to clinicians and the health care system, guiding systems toward services and interventions that have a positive return on investment, and providing an evidence base for value-based reimbursement… the President’s budget envisions a large cut to AHRQ’s budget and mission.

The President’s budget proposes that AHRQ be merged with the National Institutes of Health and cutting that budget by 20%.  His proposed budget would cut $6 billion from the NIH the year of the proposed merger with AHRQ.

Back in July, the House Appropriations Committee released their fiscal year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill, which includes a 10% reduction in AHRQ’s budget (to $300M) and also proposes merging most of AHRQ’s activities into NIH. The USPSTF uses the systematic evidence review to develop a recommendation and follows a rubric for assigning grades based on the magnitude of net benefit anticipated for the preventive service (that is, benefits minus harms) and the certainty of that estimate. When a decision to issue a recommendation for specific segments of the population is being made, the ability to clearly and easily identify the factors that define the specific population is important (for example, age, easily measured risk factors, or self-identified race/ethnicity). Although many features may distinguish a specific population under consideration, the final decision to issue a separate graded recommendation for that population is primarily based on whether a difference in magnitude of net benefit can be confidently identifiedThe USPSTF uses the systematic evidence review to develop a recommendation and follows a rubric for assigning grades based on the magnitude of net benefit anticipated for the preventive service (that is, benefits minus harms) and the certainty of that estimate. When a decision to issue a recommendation for specific segments of the population is being made, the ability to clearly and easily identify the factors that define the specific population is important (for example, age, easily measured risk factors, or self-identified race/ethnicity). Although many features may distinguish a specific population under consideration, the final decision to issue a separate graded recommendation for that population is primarily based on whether a difference in magnitude of net benefit can be confidently identified

Two weeks ago, the House Committee on Rules released a combined appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018.  That budget also has AHRQ on the chopping block, with a similar budget reduction as the Appropriations Committee & the President’s budget.

All in all, not good news for those of us that are interested in addressing patient safety, healthcare quality, and reducing costs.