Bill would create federal research institute

A new bill has been introduced in the Senate that would create a central federal agency tasked with researching the benefits of various procedures in treating common medical conditions. The bill caps more than a year of discussion and hearings on the Hill on the topic of creating such an agency, which is backed by several high-profile public health experts, including former HCFA (now CMS) administrator Gail Wilensky.

The current bill, backed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), establishes the Health Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Institute. The Institute would be a public-private partnership that would conduct research on surgical procedures, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other key treatments. Its board would include doctors, patients and drug and device maker representatives. The center, whose annual costs should exceed $300 million after five years, would be paid for by fees from public and private payers, and would operate outside of the government.

To learn more about the proposed center:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

Related Articles:
SPOTLIGHT: Progress on comparative effectiveness program
Feds study care effectiveness, practice patterns

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