Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Update - March 11, 2016
AHRQ is still at risk. AHRQ survived last year because the final budget agreement raised the total funding caps. This year, House republicans are working to reduce those budget caps again. Even without a new, smaller budget agreement, there will be desire to fund other priorities such as higher levels for NIH, additional new spending for opioid abuse programs, etc.—all causing a draw on the the same finite pool of funds.
We need to work even harder to ensure AHRQ gets funding this year, at least to its former 2015 fiscal year spending level of $364 million. One of the consequences of reduced funding was the halting of research to optimize care for patients with multiple chronic conditions (MCC). The initiative would have provided clinicians with evidence-based tools to develop comprehensive, integrated care plans that reflect the patients' health conditions, values, preferences, and relevant life circumstances. The tools would have also shown how new care models and services may better serve their patients' needs.
Without an increase in funding to at least the 2015 fiscal year level of $364 million, AHRQ will continue to have to halt or postpone the production of tools primary care health professionals need.
It is our recommendation that Congress should provide no less than $364 million in appropriated funds for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to support research vital to primary care in the 2017 fiscal year. You can help by contacting key house and senate leaders serving on the House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee and Senate Appropriations Labor HHS Subcommittee in your state. Below are some resources to help you advocate for AHRQ funding.