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Media Advisory Date: December 8, 1999
On December 6, President Bill Clinton signed into the law the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999, reauthorizing the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. Effective on his signature, the name of the Agency officially changed to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), pronounced "arc."
In signing the legislation, President Clinton said, "AHRQ will help close the numerous data gaps throughout the healthcare delivery system. It will also serve as a bridge between the best science in the world with the best health care in the world."
The Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 affirms and strengthens the core mission of AHRQ to support, conduct,and disseminate research that improves access to care, reduces its cost, and improves the outcomes, quality, and appropriate use of health care services. Under the new law, AHRQ is designated as the lead Agency in supporting Federal research and efforts to improve health care quality. The Agency has been fulfilling this function since 1998 through its leadership role in the Federal Quality Interagency Coordination (QuIC) Task Force.
More specifically, AHRQ will be responsible for developing a report to the nation on quality, promoting evidence-based medicine, detecting and preventing errors in health care, supporting primary care research, and applying the power of the computer in health care.
"The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will build on the solid foundation established by its predecessor to fund the research and develop the tools which improve health care quality, reduce its cost, and enhance access to essential services for all Americans," said John M. Eisenberg, M.D., AHRQ's Director. "AHRQ will continue to serve as the Nation's principal source of evidence-based research and information that will guide informed health care decisionmaking throughout the health care system."
Editor's Note: A fact sheet on AHRQ's reauthorization is available on the Agency's Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/about/ahrqfact.htm, or by contacting AHRQ Public Affairs at (301) 427-1364. For interviews with Dr. Eisenberg, contact Karen Migdail at (301) 427-1855 , or KMigdail@ahrq.gov.