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List of Priority Conditions for Research under Medicare Modernization Act Released

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Press Release Date: December 15, 2004

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced a $15 million initiative that will develop state-of-the-art information about the effectiveness of interventions, including prescription drugs, for 10 top conditions affecting Medicare beneficiaries. Funding for the initiative, authorized by Section 1013 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, was included in the Fiscal Year 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act that was passed by Congress.

"The additional medical evidence provided by this initiative will help doctors and patients make more informed decisions," said Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "But it is only a first step. At CMS, we are committed to speeding the pace of medical innovation and making faster, more predictable decisions to pay for new medical products. The end result will be better value for the Medicare program and our beneficiaries."

The list of 10 priority conditions was developed with input from the public and stakeholders through testimony at a May 21, 2004, listening session and written comments submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services. The comments were compiled and reviewed by a steering committee comprised of representatives from AHRQ, CMS, the Food and Drug Administration and the HHS Office of the Secretary.

The priority conditions identified for study are:

  • Ischemic heart disease.
  • Cancer.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/asthma.
  • Stroke, including control of hypertension.
  • Arthritis and non-traumatic joint disorders.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Peptic ulcer/dyspepsia.
  • Depression and other mood disorders.

"We are very pleased to support research that will provide scientific evidence that our federal partners can use to address and solve the critical issues that the Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP programs face," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "Our common goals are to ensure that beneficiaries and their clinicians have the best possible information to inform treatment choices based on the scientific evidence that will be gathered and produced in this research effort. The findings also will support private-sector initiatives to provide high quality, safe health care that represents the best value."

The research, which will take the form of systematic reviews and syntheses of the scientific literature, will focus on the evidence of outcomes, comparative clinical effectiveness and appropriateness of health care items such as pharmaceuticals and health care services, including the manner in which they are organized, managed and delivered. The results of the studies will be made available to Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP programs as well as to health plans, prescription drug plans, other health care providers and the public.

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: (301) 427-1855 or (301) 427-1865.


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