The Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 appropriations legislation provides $372 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), an increase of $37 million over the FY 2008 appropriations level and $46 million more than the President's request.
Highlights of AHRQ's FY 2009 funding include:
- $50 million for comparative effectiveness research, an increase of $20 million more than FY 2008. This funding will be used to support AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program, authorized by Section 1013 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. That program supports important Federal efforts to compare alternative treatments for health conditions and makes the findings public. The program is intended to help patients, doctors, nurses, and others choose the most effective treatments.
- Nearly $94 million for efforts to reduce patient safety threats and medical errors; $49 million is for overall patient safety activities and $45 million for health information technology. The legislation includes increased funding to reduce healthcare-associated infections in two areas:
- $8 million to extend work begun in 2008 to identify and reduce the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
- $9 million to extend the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program to reduce central-line associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units (ICUs). This program is modeled after the Michigan Keystone Program, which was successfully used in more than 100 ICUs in Michigan. The program helped reduce infection rates to zero in more than 50 percent of the participating hospitals within 3 months. With FY 2008 funding, the program is being implemented by consortiums in 10 different States. With increased FY 2009 funding, AHRQ will be able to boost the number of participating hospitals within each of the 10 States, as well as increase the number of participating States.
- Approximately $13 million for investigator-initiated research. The investigator-initiated research portfolio at AHRQ has languished, even though many of the sentinel studies that have changed the face of health and health care originate from researchers' ingenuity and creativity. This new funding will help advance discovery and the free marketplace of ideas.
Current as of May 2009
Fiscal Year 2009 Budget at a Glance. May 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research
and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/about/fy09glance.htm