Summary: H.R.2506 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (09/28/1999)

Health Research and Quality Act of 1999 - Amends the Public Health Service Act to establish within the Public Health Service (PHS) an Agency for Health Research and Quality, headed by a director (Agency Director) appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to replace the current Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. Directs the Secretary to carry out the provisions of this Act relating to the new Agency and its mission and duties through the Agency Director.

(Sec. 2) Establishes within the Agency the Office on Special Populations through which the Agency Director shall conduct and support research and evaluations, and support demonstration projects, with respect to health services and needs of various groups, including minorities, children, the elderly, and the disabled.

Requires the Agency Director to annually submit to Congress a report on health care delivery disparities with regard to racial and socioeconomic factors in priority populations.

Directs the Agency to identify and disseminate methods or systems used to assess health care research results, particularly to rate the strength of the scientific evidence behind health care practice and technology recommendations in the research.

Requires the Agency to employ research strategies and mechanisms that will link research directly with clinical practice in geographically diverse locations throughout the United States, including: (1) health care improvement research centers that combine demonstrated multidisciplinary expertise in outcomes or quality improvement research with linkages to relevant sites of care; (2) provider-based research networks, including plan, facility, or delivery system sites of care (especially primary care), that can evaluate outcomes and evaluate and promote quality improvement; and (3) other innovative mechanisms or strategies.

Authorizes the Agency to provide specified scientific and technical support for private and public efforts to improve health care quality, including accrediting organizations.

Requires the Director to: (1) conduct and support research and build private-public partnerships to enhance the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of and access to health services regarding cancer and cardiovascular diseases in women; and (2) conduct studies of the organization, delivery, and financing of health services to determine the cost and quality effects of various methods of increasing the number of individuals who have access to such services.

Requires the Agency to conduct and support initiatives to establish, on a web site maintained by the Agency Director, various links to enable users to evaluate the quality of health care, including health care through health maintenance organizations.

Directs the Secretary, acting through the Agency Director, to establish a program of grants for one or more centers to conduct: (1) state-of-the-art research on drugs, biological products, and devices; (2) research on the comparative effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of drugs, biological products, and devices; (3) research on methods to reduce consumer costs of prescription drugs; and (4) other appropriate activities (excluding the review of new drugs).

Requires the Agency Director to: (1) collect certain data on the cost and quality of health care; (2) support research on and initiatives to advance the use of information systems for the study of health care quality; and (3) provide ongoing administrative, research, and technical support for the Preventive Services Task Force, which shall review scientific evidence on the effectiveness, appropriateness, and cost-effectiveness of clinical preventive services regarding their usefulness in daily clinical practice.

Establishes within the Agency a Center for Primary Care Research to serve as the principal funding source for Department of Health and Human Services primary care delivery research and demonstrations with respect to the first contact when illness or health concerns arise, the diagnosis, treatment or referral to specialty care, preventive care, and the relationship between the clinician and the patient in the context of the family and community.

Requires the Agency Director by specified activities to promote innovation in evidence-based health care practices and technologies, including: (1) promoting evidence-based clinical practices for health professionals with regard to medical examinations for victims of child or elder abuse, sexual assault, or domestic violence; and (2) developing recommendations regarding the placement of automatic external defibrillators in Federal buildings for improving the survival rates for cardiac arrest.

Requires the Secretary, acting through the Director, to coordinate all research, evaluations, and demonstrations related to health services research and quality measurement and improvement activities undertaken and supported by the Federal Government.

Establishes the National Advisory Council for Health Care Research and Quality to replace the current Advisory Council for Health Care Policy, Research, and Evaluation.

Requires the Agency Director to establish technical and scientific peer review groups to review each application for a grant, cooperative agreement, or contract under the provisions of this Act relating to the new Agency and its mission and duties.

Repeals the mandates for: (1) a demonstration program regarding centers for education and research on therapeutics; and (2) the Office of the Forum for Quality and Effectiveness in Health Care.

Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 3) Directs the Secretary, acting through appropriate PHS agencies, to make grants to public or nonprofit private entities for the establishment and operation of regional centers to identify particular populations of patients and facilitate appropriate patient utilization of preventive health services through developing and disseminating strategies to improve the methods used by public and private health care programs and providers in interacting with such patients. Requires applicant entities to meet certain requirements with regard to quality management in order to be eligible to receive such a grant. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 4) Requires the Secretary to make two payments, determined in accordance with a specified formula and guidelines, to each children's hospital for each of FY 2000 and 2001, one for the direct expenses and the other for indirect expenses associated with operating approved graduate medical residency training programs. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 5) Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the appropriate PHS agencies, to study and report to Congress on whether and to what extent there is a shortage of licensed pharmacists.

(Sec. 6) Requires the Agency Director to report to Congress with regard to telemedicine services, care, and consultations.

(Sec. 7) Prohibits any funds authorized pursuant to this Act from being expended by an entity unless the entity complies with the Buy American Act. Expresses the sense of Congress that, in the case of any equipment or products that may be authorized to be purchased with financial assistance provided under this Act, the entities receiving such assistance should, in expending such assistance, purchase only American-made equipment and products. Directs the Secretary, in providing financial assistance under this Act, to provide to each assistance recipient a notice describing the congressional statement above.