Joint letter requesting funding for AHRQ within the FY 2018 spending bill

NCHC Writer
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This letter was originally organized and sent by AcademyHealth on behalf of the Friends of AHRQ to the House and Senate’s Appropriations Committees’ leadership. Please see the PDF versions of the House letter here and Senate letter here.

As you and your colleagues prepare to negotiate a final spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2018, the 150 undersigned organizations respectfully request that you fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) at a level equal to or higher than the Senate mark of $324 million. AHRQ is an essential element of the nation’s health care ecosystem, charged with improving the quality and delivery of health care.

Discovering cures is critical to patients, providers, and our communities. However, understanding how to most effectively deliver those cures to patients through health services requires research that is equally critical. AHRQ is the only federal agency whose sole focus is to generate reliable research on how to deliver the highest quality care, at the greatest value, with the best outcomes to all patients. It is the only agency that funds research on the “real-world” patient—the one who doesn’t have diabetes alone, for example, but also has cardiovascular disease and renal disease; or the patient who has cancer, as well as heart disease. AHRQ-funded research allows us to understand where waste, inefficiencies, and gaps exist within the health care system, and allows patients, payers, providers, and others to harness American innovation and make the health care system safer, more efficient, and more effective.

Today, AHRQ is helping doctors in rural communities fight the opioid epidemic by developing and testing effective medication assisted therapy protocols that could save thousands of lives, something of particular importance as we fight the current opioid epidemic. AHRQ is also providing primary care clinicians and their patients with tools to make evidence-based decisions about which medications to use for treating alcohol use disorder. AHRQ is the federal agency singularly responsible for reducing the nearly 100,000 deaths in the United States each year associated with medical errors and is supporting researchers who continue to search for ways improve patient safety and outcomes.

While $324 million does not restore AHRQ’s budget to its previous funding levels or allow for critical initiatives that were terminated as a result of the cuts to return, it will ensure that the agency can continue its critical mission. Additional cuts to AHRQ will result in the loss of life and cost saving research as was seen in FY 2016, where promising research projects were eliminated. Among those was the agency’s research portfolio to optimize care for America’s nearly 60 million patients living with multiple chronic conditions. By 2020, an estimated eighty-one million people will have multiple chronic conditions and the costs of their care will consume 80 percent of publicly funded health insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. This research portfolio – maintained solely by AHRQ – was the only source of such information on how to most successfully and cost efficiently treat these patients.

Health services research shows that as much as one-third of the more than $3 trillion our nation spends on health care each year is waste—care that is inappropriate, ineffective, or harmful. Every dollar we invest in generating evidence to eliminate that waste is a sound fiscal investment. Funding AHRQ will help to ensure that our health care system becomes the most efficient one in the world for both patients and taxpayers. We urge you to make maintaining funding for AHRQ, and its critical research, a priority in the FY 2018 omnibus


Academic Pediatric Association

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics



Alliance for Aging Research

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

American Academy of Dermatology Association

American Academy of Family Physicians

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

American Academy of Nursing

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Association for Clinical Chemistry

American Association for Dental Research

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

American Association of Nurse Practitioners

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses

American Association of Public Health Dentistry

American Association on Health and Disability

American Board of Medical Specialties

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

American Chiropractic Association

American College of Clinical Pharmacy

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

American College of Rheumatology

American Gastroenterological Association

American Health Quality Association

American Heart Association

American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)

American Medical Student Association

American Nephrology Nurses Association

American Occupational Therapy Association

American Optometric Association

American Organization of Nurse Executives

American Osteopathic Association

American Pediatric Society

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

American Public Health Association

American Society of Hematology

American Society of Nephrology

American Society of Plastic Surgeons

American Statistical Association

American Thoracic Society

APIC – Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology

ARHP: the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals

Association for Clinical and Translational Science

Association of American Medical Colleges

Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)

Association of Departments of Family Medicine

Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors

Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health

Association of University Radiologists (AUR)

Cedars-Sinai Health System

Center for Healthcare Organizational and Innovation Research (CHOI UC-Berkeley School of Public Health)

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Coalition for Clinical and Translational Science

Coalition for Health Funding

Columbia University Medical Center

Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, Inc. (COA)

Consortium of Social Science Associations

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America

Duke University

ECRI Institute

Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Fight Colorectal Cancer

Guidelines International Network/North America (G-I-N/NA)

Harvard University

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

Healthy Teen Network

Heart Rhythm Society

HIV Medicine Association

Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Kaiser Family Foundation

Kaiser Permanente

Lakeshore Foundation

Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.

March of Dimes

Marshfield Clinic Health System

Mayo Clinic

Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine

National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health

National Athletic Trainers’ Association

National Black Nurses Association

National Business Group on Health

National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care

National Coalition on Health Care

National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

National Hispanic Medical Association

National Kidney Foundation

National League for Nursing

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Patient Safety Foundation

North American Primary Care Research Group

Northeastern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University

Northwestern University

Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA)

Oncology Nursing Society

Oregon Health & Science University

Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute

Penn Medicine

Penn State University


Public Health Institute

QSI NextGen Healthcare


RTI International

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Society for Medical Decision Making

Society for Pediatric Research

Society for Public Health Education

Society of General Internal Medicine

Society of Hospital Medicine

Society of Teachers of Family Medicine

Spina Bifida Association

The Clinical Research Forum

The Leapfrog Group

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Trust for America’s Health

Tulane University

University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus

University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation

University of Missouri System

University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

University of Washington

University of Washington

Unviersity of Virginia School of Medicine

UPMC Community Provider Services

US Pain Foundation

UTHealth – The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Vanderbilt University

Weill Cornell Medicine

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women With Heart Disease

Yale University