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AHRQ announces list of priority conditions for research under the Medicare Modernization Act

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has announced a $15 million initiative to provide support for development of state-of-the-art information about the effectiveness of interventions, including prescription drugs, for the 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 list of 10 priority conditions was developed with input from the public and stakeholders through testimony at a May 21, 2004, listening session and through written comments submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services. The comments were compiled and reviewed by a steering committee comprising representatives from AHRQ, CMS, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.

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.

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 the 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 State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) programs, as well as to health plans, prescription drug plans, other health care providers, and the public.

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