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AHRQ establishes centers of excellence to conduct research on market forces affecting health care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has established three new centers of excellence to conduct research on how market forces are affecting the quality of health care, access to care, and health care costs. Total projected funding over the next 5 years is expected to be $12.5 million for the three centers.

Each center will carry out a number of interrelated research projects, some of which may be led by researchers at other institutions. The projects will include a special focus on market effects on rural and minority populations and on the influence of purchasers in local markets.

The new AHRQ-funded centers of excellence are:

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Structuring Markets and Competition in Health Care. Principal investigator Joseph P. Newhouse, Ph.D. Total funding $4.5 million; project period July 5, 2000 to June 30, 2005. (In collaboration with Boston University and the University of Puerto Rico, San Juan).

Projects: Impact of market forces on the performance of health plan network hospitals (Albert Ma, Ph.D., Boston University); Market-based reforms and quality of care (Edward Guadagnoli, Ph.D., Harvard); Mental health carve-outs and cost shifting (Haiden Huskamp, Ph.D., Harvard, and Margarita Alegr'a, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico); Selection and risk adjustment in private employer plans (Dr. Newhouse); and Managed care penetration in rural settings (Dr. Newhouse).

University of California, San Francisco. Quality Measures and Managed Care Markets. Principal investigator Harold S. Luft, Ph.D. Total funding $4.5 million; project period July 15, 2000 to June 30, 2005. (In collaboration with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor).

Projects: Health plan performance and employer choice of plan (Catherine McLaughlin, Ph.D., University of Michigan); Health plan quality and market forces (Michael Chernew, Ph.D., University of Michigan); Market incentives and health plan advertising strategies (Adams Dudley, M.D., UCSF); and Market changes and minorities: national and community perspectives (Jennifer Haas, M.D., UCSF).

RAND, Santa Monica, CA. Health Care Markets and Vulnerable Populations. Principal investigator José J. Escarce, M.D., Ph.D. Total funding $3.5 million; project period July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2005. (In collaboration with the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY).

Projects: Health care markets and the quality of hospital care for vulnerable populations (Jeannette Rogowski, Ph.D., RAND); Market competition and safety-net hospitals (Jack Zwanziger, Ph.D., University of Rochester); and Health care markets, the safety net, and access to care for the uninsured (Dr. Escarce).

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