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AHRQ Establishes Centers of Excellence to Conduct Research on Market Forces Affecting Health Care Systems

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Press Release Date: July 19, 2000

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today announced the award of $12.5 million in total projected funding over the next five years to establish 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.

AHRQ's director, John M. Eisenberg, M.D., said, "The magnitude and duration of these projects, along with the centers' plans to invite policymakers periodically to discuss findings and their implications, mark a new chapter in the way AHRQ examines how market forces are shaping our nation's health care. The scientific evidence produced by these centers will help federal and state policymakers better understand, monitor and anticipate the impact of changes."

Dr. Eisenberg added that each center will carry out a number of inter-related research projects, some of which may be led by researchers at other institutions. The projects will include a special emphasis 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. $4.5 million; July 5, 2000 to June 30, 2005. (In collaboration with Boston University, Boston, Mass. and the University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, P.R.).

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

    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., $3.5 million; 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).

AHRQ is the lead federal agency charged with supporting research designed to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost, improve patient safety, address medical errors and broaden access to essential services.

For more information, contact AHRQ Public Affairs (301) 427-1364: Bob Isquith (301) 427-1539 (

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AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care