Overview of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) appropriated $1.1 billion for research that compares the effectiveness of different medical options. Of that $1.1 billion, $300 million went to AHRQ, $400 million was transferred to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and $400 million was allocated at the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). AHRQ agreed to manage the Office of the Secretary's $400 million. This summary will focus on the $300 million for AHRQ and the $400 million for the Office of the Secretary.
AHRQ's Research Activities ($300 million)
AHRQ is excited about the new opportunities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide patients, clinicians, and others evidence-based information to make informed decisions about health care. AHRQ is using Recovery Act funds to expand and broaden existing activities through its Effective Health Care (EHC) program. These activities were initiated at the agency in response to the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. AHRQ used a process to generate and bolster this research that includes: horizon scanning, evidence gap identification, evidence synthesis, evidence generation, dissemination and translation, and research training and career development. Select for a list of AHRQ awards.
AHRQ will also use Recovery Act funding to expand and standardize public involvement in its EHC program by establishing a Community Forum. The comprehensive spending plan transmitted to specified Congressional committees on July 30, 2009, represented an investment in creating the integrated components of a national effort in the United States, including the first coordinated prospective pragmatic clinical studies program for research that compares the effectiveness of different medical options.
Additional Recovery Act investments are supporting the infrastructure, methods, and capacity necessary to sustain a vigorous national research enterprise in the United States. Proposals for funds will focus initially on the 14 priority conditions established by the Secretary of HHS under Section 1013 of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act. Priority was also given to research focused on under-represented populations.
To achieve the goals of producing patient-centered health research, AHRQ used a variety of funding mechanisms including grants, contracts, and inter-agency agreements. Award recipients included researchers, academic institutions, States, community-based organizations, national organizations, and Federal agencies.
The Office of the Secretary (OS) Research Activities ($400 million)
The HHS's overall goal for this investment is to promote high-quality care through broad availability of information that helps clinicians and patients match the best science to individual needs and preferences. Moreover, the investment can build a sustainable foundation for future research so that it will enable—now and in the future—the U.S. healthcare system to deliver the highest quality care to all Americans. The Recovery Act established the Federal Coordinating Council to foster optimum coordination of this research by relevant Federal departments and agencies, with the goal of reducing duplicative efforts and encouraging coordinated and complementary use of resources.
The Recovery Act funds represent a significant investment in research that compares the effectiveness of different medical options, allowing many high-priority issues to be addressed in the short-term, but also strengthening and sustaining this research in the long-term. As such, if we are to realize the full potential of this research to improve health and health care, we must be equally strategic about the direction moving forward.
Evidence needs for this research were identified through syntheses of existing evidence as well as horizon scanning (which included public outreach and consultation). These identified needs informed development of priorities for evidence generation across HHS operational and staff divisions. As appropriate, these priorities incorporated cross-cutting needs relating to priority interventions, conditions and populations. Select for a list of OS awards.
The legislation called on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to recommend research priorities for these funds and gather stakeholder input. A report was delivered June 30, 2009. In addition, the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research was created to offer guidance and coordination on the use of these funds.
Select for excerpt from the Recovery Act related to comparative effectiveness research.
- Overview of the Recovery Act from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
- White House FAQs on the Recovery Act are available at:
- NIH Guide notice: AHRQ Announces Intent to Publish Grant and Contract Solicitations for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) Projects with Funds from ARRA: