Office of Priority Populations AHRQ established the Office of Priority Populations to ensure that the needs of special populations are addressed throughout AHRQ’s intramural and extramural research portfolio. Beginning in FY 2003, AHRQ will release an annual report on prevailing disparities in health care delivery as it relates to selected priority populations (e.g., low-income groups, minorities, women, children, elderly individuals, and individuals with special heath care needs) (www.ahrq/about/profile.htm).
Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force The Quality Interagency Coordination (QuIC) Task Force was established in response to the final report of the President’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry (1998). QuIC’s goal is to ensure that all federal agencies involved in purchasing, providing, researching, or regulating health care services are working in a coordinated way toward the common goal of improving quality of care. AHRQ coordinates QuIC activities for the 12 federal agencies that comprise this task force (www.ahrq.gov).
Intramural Research Projects Some of the research conducted by AHRQ staff concerns cancer-related prevention services (e.g., variations in preventive service use among insured and uninsured individuals).
The Office of Strategic Planning of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) oversees a research and demonstration program that supports projects to develop, test, and implement new health care financing and payment policies and to evaluate the impacts of CMS’s programs on its beneficiaries, providers, states, and other customers and partners (www.hcfa.gov/research). Many of CMS’s extramural research and demonstration activities are funded through contracts, but CMS does award grants and cooperative agreements under several focused grants programs.
The following are some active CMS-supported research and demonstration projects related to cancer prevention and early detection (Health Care Financing Administration, 2001):
Study on expansion or modification of preventive benefits provided to Medicare beneficiaries (included skin cancer screening) ($1,333,656, September 1998–February 2000)
Researching and identifying the most effective provider education efforts for encouraging the use of Medicare prevention services ($325,812, September 1999–September 2000)