Feds study care effectiveness, practice patterns

The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee is holding a hearing next week on the need to study variations in care practices. The stated purpose of the hearing is to consider funding new research on the comparative effectiveness of various treatments and procedures paid for under Medicare. However, such research would doubtless be used aggressively by private health plans, which are equally interested in seeing that their reimbursement policies make sense. Rep. Pete Stark (D), who chairs the subcommittee, argues that comparative effectiveness data gives planners their "best shot" at cutting healthcare costs. Former HCFA (now CMS) administrator Gail Wilensky is one of several public health experts who have argued for the creation of a neutral central entity tasked with doing comparative effectiveness research.

To find out more about the hearing:
- read this House press release