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AHRQ Annual Report on Research and Management, FY 2003

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Message from the Acting Chief Financial Management Officer

This FY 2003 Annual Report highlights the research and financial management efforts of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and its employees to develop more efficient and effective ways to fulfill our mission while maintaining and protecting the integrity of the resources entrusted to us. The report brings to light our major programmatic and managerial accomplishments and serves as an important tool to measure our progress and identify future challenges.

In FY 2003, AHRQ made significant progress towards implementing each of the five President's Management Agenda (PMA) initiatives: strategic management of human capital, competitive sourcing, improved financial performance, expanded electronic government, and budget and performance integration. We took many steps to attract, retain, motivate, and reward a quality and high-performing workforce, including revamping our recruiting and hiring programs and creating a state-of-the-art, competency-based performance management system. By realigning the work we do with our strategic goals and those of the Department, we improved the integration of budget and performance.

Over the past year, we examined the broad spectrum of our work and reorganized our activities and programs under 10 portfolios of work that cut across our Offices and Centers. Our goal is to capitalize on the research strengths and expertise throughout the Agency, communicate the focus of our research clearly, and ensure that our focus stays on moving research from idea generation to strategies that can be adopted into practice. We continued to improve the Agency's financial performance by enhancing our information systems and developing new applications to create an Agency-wide enterprise financial network. The aim of this network is to align AHRQ's research investments with our accomplishments, thus allowing managers to use this information to make informed budget decisions.

In accordance with PART, OMB's Program Assessment Rating Tool for the formal evaluation of Federal programs, we conducted a review of the Agency's patient safety activities. This review provided the basis for the Agency to move forward in more closely linking high quality outcomes with associated costs of programs. Over the next few years, the Agency will focus on fully integrating financial management of these programs with their performance.

In the spirit of Secretary Thompson's initiative to make HHS "One Department," AHRQ worked closely with the Department in a number of endeavors. To meet the accelerated submission date for accountability reports and audited financial statements, we collaborated with the Department to identify, develop, and implement practical solutions. AHRQ also fully supported the development and implementation of the Department's Unified Financial Management System (UFMS), which will replace five legacy accounting systems now in use throughout HHS.

While we are pleased with the steps forward we have taken during the past year, we realize that much work remains to address future financial management and program performance issues. We are committed to work toward achieving the highest levels of accountability, and we will continue to stress the significance of a robust internal control program to meet our programmatic and fiscal responsibilities.

Robert Graham, M.D.
Acting Chief Financial Officer
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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