The following is a statement from Lisa Simpson, M.B., B.Ch., president and CEO of AcademyHealth:

"The House Appropriations Committee fiscal year 2016 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies is a devastating attack on health research funding at a time when this work is most critically needed by patients, health care providers, and policymakers alike.

"Our nation spends more than $3 trillion annually on health care, with the federal government purchasing the largest share through Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, insurance marketplaces, TRICARE, and veterans' health care. Research by AcademyHealth's members tells us too many patients receive sub-optimal, unsafe, and even harmful care.

"We can do better, and health services research tells us how. Research, datasets, and tools supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) are used by every actor in health care. Patients and their caregivers; physicians, nurses, and other health care providers; health systems and hospitals; public health professionals; federal, state, and local policymakers; and purchasers and payers, such as employers and public and private insurers, all use AHRQ's work to make health care safer; of higher quality; and more accessible, equitable, and affordable.

"Yet, the Labor-HHS spending bill 'terminates' AHRQ--the only federal agency with the sole purpose of generating the evidence necessary to build a higher-quality, higher-value health care system for the American people. And, in addition to this egregious assault on health services research, the bill slashes mandatory funding for patient-centered outcomes research by $100 million, bans the use of discretionary funds on this research, and also cuts $6.2 billion from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

"If policymakers truly want a less complex and costly health care system that improves patient outcomes, it is not enough to fund research that discovers and develops new cures. Patients, providers, and policymakers need health services research and patient-centered outcomes research to understand how to best deliver those cures in the real world so patients can benefit today.

"Put plainly, AHRQ, along with these other critical research programs, help Americans get their money's worth when it comes to health care. We need more of its evidence, not less. Investments in discovery and development will fall short if we don't have research on how best to deliver them to the right patients, at the right time, and in the right setting.

"As the leading national organization representing the field of health services research, AcademyHealth believes AHRQ plays a unique and necessary role in identifying and supporting practical, actionable information to improve health and health care, and we urge lawmakers to preserve the agency and its funding.

Blog comments are restricted to AcademyHealth members only. To add comments, please sign-in.