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AHCPR Seeks Proposals to Develop Quality of Care Measures For Vulnerable Populations

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Press Release Date: December 22, 1998

The federal government's Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) wants researchers to submit research proposals to develop and test measures of quality of care for vulnerable populations. As defined in the Final Report of the President's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry, vulnerable populations are those groups of people "made vulnerable by their financial circumstances or place of residence; health, age, or functional or developmental status; or ability to communicate effectively...[and] personal characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, and sex." AHCPR's Request for Applications (RFA) uses this definition, which encompasses populations whose vulnerability is due to chronic or terminal disease or disability.

The RFA is part of a series of initiatives that respond to the report by the President's Commission, which called for a significant investment in the further development of research, tools, and information for patients, purchasers and payers.

"The measures these projects will develop are critically important; they will help us gain insights into problems vulnerable populations face that might otherwise go undetected, and they will provide the information necessary to design interventions to improve the health care of these Americans," said AHCPR's administrator John M. Eisenberg, M.D.

Dr. Eisenberg said AHCPR will award up to $3 million in fiscal year (FY) 1999 to support the first year of research for up to 10 projects. The funds stem from the recent $25 million increase in AHCPR's research budget. The FY 1999 budget of AHCPR—a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—is approximately $171 million.

AHCPR says it welcomes applications from investigators not currently conducting agency-funded research on quality measures and is particularly interested in receiving applications from minority researchers and institutions.

This RFA, which was published in the December 22, 1998 NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, is one of several forthcoming RFAs from AHCPR dealing with quality improvement.

Applicants should send AHCPR a letter of intent by January 29, 1999, and their funding applications must be received by March 15, 1999. For further details and application instructions, access Measurement of Quality of Care for Vulnerable Populations online in the December 22, 1998 NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/index.html.

For additional information, contact AHCPR Press Office: Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1364 (KMigdail@ahrq.gov).

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