Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ; pronounced "ark" by initiates and often "A-H-R-Q" by the public) is 1 of 12 agencies within the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The agency is headquartered in North Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. (with a (Rockville mailing address). It was established as the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) as a constituent unit of the Public Health Service (PHS) under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 (103 Stat. 2159), December 19, 1989, to enhance the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of health care services and access to care by conducting and supporting research, demonstration projects, and evaluations; developing guidelines; and disseminating information on health care services and delivery systems.
However, AHCPR became controversial when it produced several guidelines that some thought would reduce medical drugs and procedures. This included concern from ophthalmologists on a cataract guideline and concern by the pharmaceutical industry over a reduction in the use of new drugs. When the agency produced a guideline that concluded that back pain surgery was unnecessary and potentially harmful, a lobbying campaign aided by Congressmen whose backs had been operated on changed the name of the agency and scaled back the guidelines program, which now exists as the National Guideline Clearinghouse. AHCPR was reauthorized December 6, 1999, for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) under the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999, which amended Title IX of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 299 et seq).
The Agency has multiple offices and centers including the Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement (CEPI), the Center for Financing, Access and Trends, the Center for Delivery, Organization and Markets, the Center for Quality and Patient Safety, the Office of Management Services, the Office of Extramural Research and Priority Populations, and the Office of Communications. The Office of Communications was previously known as the Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer.
Within CEPI, the Evidence-Based Practice Centers (EPCs) develop evidence reports and technology assessments on topics relevant to clinical and other health care organization and delivery issues—specifically those that are common, expensive, and/or significant for the Medicare and Medicaid populations. With this program, AHRQ serves as a "science partner" with private and public organizations in their efforts to improve the quality, effectiveness, and appropriateness of health care by synthesizing the evidence and facilitating the translation of evidence-based research findings. Topics are nominated by Federal and non-Federal partners such as professional societies, health plans, insurers, employers, and patient groups.

 



Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 540 Gaither Road Rockville. Data Sources for the At-Risk Community-Dwelling Patient Population