Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999

Text of the Act that reauthorizes the former Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

—S.580—

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One Hundred Sixth Congress of the United States of America

AT THE FIRST SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday, the sixth day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine

An Act to amend title IX of the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999'.

SEC. 2. AMENDMENT TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT.

(a) IN GENERAL- Title IX of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 299 et seq.) is amended to read as follows:

TITLE IX—AGENCY FOR HEALTHCARE RESEARCH AND QUALITY


PART A—ESTABLISHMENT AND GENERAL DUTIES
PART B—HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT RESEARCH
PART C—GENERAL PROVISIONS


PART A—ESTABLISHMENT AND GENERAL DUTIES

SEC. 901. MISSION AND DUTIES.

(a) IN GENERAL- There is established within the Public Health Service an agency to be known as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which shall be headed by a director appointed by the Secretary. The Secretary shall carry out this title acting through the Director.

(b) MISSION- The purpose of the Agency is to enhance the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of health services, and access to such services, through the establishment of a broad base of scientific research and through the promotion of improvements in clinical and health system practices, including the prevention of diseases and other health conditions. The Agency shall promote health care quality improvement by conducting and supporting—

(1) research that develops and presents scientific evidence regarding all aspects of health care, including—

(A) the development and assessment of methods for enhancing patient participation in their own care and for facilitating shared patient-physician decision-making;
(B) the outcomes, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of health care practices, including preventive measures and long-term care;
(C) existing and innovative technologies;
(D) the costs and utilization of, and access to health care;
(E) the ways in which health care services are organized, delivered, and financed and the interaction and impact of these factors on the quality of patient care;
(F) methods for measuring quality and strategies for improving quality; and
(G) ways in which patients, consumers, purchasers, and practitioners acquire new information about best practices and health benefits, the determinants and impact of their use of this information;

(2) the synthesis and dissemination of available scientific evidence for use by patients, consumers, practitioners, providers, purchasers, policy makers, and educators; and

(3) initiatives to advance private and public efforts to improve health care quality.

(c) REQUIREMENTS WITH RESPECT TO RURAL AND INNER-CITY AREAS AND PRIORITY POPULATIONS-

(1) RESEARCH, EVALUATIONS AND DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS- In carrying out this title, the Director shall conduct and support research and evaluations, and support demonstration projects, with respect to—

(A) the delivery of health care in inner-city areas, and in rural areas (including frontier areas); and

(B) health care for priority populations, which shall include—

(i) low-income groups;
(ii) minority groups;
(iii) women;
(iv) children;
(v) the elderly; and
(vi) individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life health care.

(2) PROCESS TO ENSURE APPROPRIATE RESEARCH- The Director shall establish a process to ensure that the requirements of paragraph (1) are reflected in the overall portfolio of research conducted and supported by the Agency.

(3) OFFICE OF PRIORITY POPULATIONS- The Director shall establish an Office of Priority Populations to assist in carrying out the requirements of paragraph (1).

SEC. 902. GENERAL AUTHORITIES.

(a) IN GENERAL- In carrying out section 901(b), the Director shall conduct and support research, evaluations, and training, support demonstration projects, research networks, and multidisciplinary centers, provide technical assistance, and disseminate information on health care and on systems for the delivery of such care, including activities with respect to—

(1) the quality, effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness and value of health care services;
(2) quality measurement and improvement;
(3) the outcomes, cost, cost-effectiveness, and use of health care services and access to such services;
(4) clinical practice, including primary care and practice-oriented research;
(5) health care technologies, facilities, and equipment;
(6) health care costs, productivity, organization, and market forces;
(7) health promotion and disease prevention, including clinical preventive services;
(8) health statistics, surveys, database development, and epidemiology; and
(9) medical liability.

(b) HEALTH SERVICES TRAINING GRANTS-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Director may provide training grants in the field of health services research related to activities authorized under subsection (a), to include pre- and post-doctoral fellowships and training programs, young investigator awards, and other programs and activities as appropriate. In carrying out this subsection, the Director shall make use of funds made available under section 487(d)(3) as well as other appropriated funds.

(2) REQUIREMENTS- In developing priorities for the allocation of training funds under this subsection, the Director shall take into consideration shortages in the number of trained researchers who are addressing health care issues for the priority populations identified in section 901(c)(1)(B) and in addition, shall take into consideration indications of long-term commitment, amongst applicants for training funds, to addressing health care needs of the priority populations.

(c) MULTIDISCIPLINARY CENTERS- The Director may provide financial assistance to assist in meeting the costs of planning and establishing new centers, and operating existing and new centers, for multidisciplinary health services research, demonstration projects, evaluations, training, and policy analysis with respect to the matters referred to in subsection (a).

(d) RELATION TO CERTAIN AUTHORITIES REGARDING SOCIAL SECURITY- Activities authorized in this section shall be appropriately coordinated with experiments, demonstration projects, and other related activities authorized by the Social Security Act and the Social Security Amendments of 1967. Activities under subsection (a)(2) of this section that affect the programs under titles XVIII, XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act shall be carried out consistent with section 1142 of such Act.

(e) DISCLAIMER- The Agency shall not mandate national standards of clinical practice or quality health care standards. Recommendations resulting from projects funded and published by the Agency shall include a corresponding disclaimer.

(f) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in this section shall be construed to imply that the Agency's role is to mandate a national standard or specific approach to quality measurement and reporting. In research and quality improvement activities, the Agency shall consider a wide range of choices, providers, health care delivery systems, and individual preferences.

(g) ANNUAL REPORT- Beginning with fiscal year 2003, the Director shall annually submit to the Congress a report regarding prevailing disparities in health care delivery as it relates to racial factors and socioeconomic factors in priority populations.

Return to Contents
Proceed to PART B—HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT RESEARCH

Current as of December 1999
Internet Citation: Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999. December 1999. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/policymakers/hrqa99a.html