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SHM Signs AHRQ Appropriations Fund Request

February 26, 2024

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The Honorable Tammy Baldwin
Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health
and Human Services, Education and Related
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito
Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health
and Human Services, Education and Related
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Robert Aderholt
Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health
and Human Services, Education and Related
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health
and Human Services, Education and Related
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515


Dear Chair Tammy Baldwin, Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito, Chair Robert Aderholt, and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro:

It is abundantly clear our nation’s goals of having a system that ensures access to high quality healthcare for all is falling far short of its potential. We have all seen the deep racial, ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic health disparities and inequities both within and beyond healthcare as people of color have disproportionately seen worse health outcomes, barriers to access, and low value care. For example, the opioid crisis, worsened by the pandemic, has ravaged American life as overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S. And yet, the nation is still grappling with how to deliver patientcentered care for those with substance use disorder. In parallel, the healthcare workforce is facing record burnout and attrition due to deteriorating mental health and added strains on institutional support. While policymakers and health systems take dramatic action to respond to existing healthcare challenges, they are doing so without sufficient research and evaluations on its impact on health outcomes, the value of care, and healthcare access.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) supports research to improve health care quality, reduce costs, advance patient safety, decrease medical errors, and broaden access to essential services. As the lead federal agency for funding health services research (HSR) and primary care research (PCR), AHRQ is the bridge between cures and care, and ensures that Americans get the best health care at the best value. The RAND Corporation released a report in 2020 as called for by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which identified AHRQ as “the only agency that has statutory authorizations to generate HSR and be the home for federal PCR, and the unique focus of its research portfolio on systems-based outcomes (e.g., making health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable) and approaches to implementing improvement across health care settings and populations in the United States.” AHRQ offers valuable insights on every facet of the health care system. For example, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine 2021 report on Implementing High Quality Primary Care highlighted the value of and need for federal investments in AHRQ through the National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research.

While the vast majority of federally funded research focuses on one specific disease or organ system, AHRQ is the only federal agency that funds research at universities and other research institutions throughout the nation on health systems—the “real-life” patient who has complex comorbidities, the interoperability of different technological advances, and the interactions and intersections of health care providers. For example, some failures in the COVID-19 response can be addressed with more attention to the root causes of, and strategies for, addressing barriers to healthcare access, including what can be done in primary care to address health equity, and more broadly what are the patient-oriented primary care quality measures that would facilitate more engaged patient care.

As the lead agency for health services research and primary care research, AHRQ provides the resources that policymakers, health system leaders, medical providers, and patients need to determine the effectiveness of health systems delivery. In order to deliver better outcomes, we need to be able to differentiate which healthcare interventions work, for whom they work, and how to implement them, and HSR, PCR, and AHRQ are the process through which we develop that knowledge. For example, the effectiveness of telehealth is diminished if we do not have an evidence-based approach to provide equitable access regardless of race, ethnicity, geography, or income, and addressing questions like this is where AHRQ has a proven track record. Funding HSR and PCR through AHRQ is a key part of how we can move forward from COVID-19, prepare for the next potential health crisis, and address failures in the healthcare system that Americans continue to face.

The benefits of investing in health services research through AHRQ transcend the pandemic and provide benefits in saved lives, better value care, and improved patient outcomes across the health system. For example, the implementation of just one AHRQ-funded study on reducing hospital acquired conditions prevented an estimated 20,500 hospital deaths and saved $7.7 billion in health care costs from 2014 to 2017. To maximize the translation of research findings across the public health and health care continuum to improved patient care and keep pace with the rapidly evolving and changing health care landscape, additional investments in AHRQ are needed.

For these reasons, as you draft the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2025, the 171 undersigned members of the Friends of AHRQ respectfully request no less than $500 million in funding for the Agency for Healthcare and Research and Quality (AHRQ).This request reflects an inflation adjustment from FY10 and the demonstrated need to expand and accelerate HSR investments to inform decision-making on the health care system as it recovers from the pandemic. AHRQ is the federal vehicle for studying and improving the United States healthcare system, and it needs the resources to meet its mission and this moment. Through this appropriation level, AHRQ will be better able to fund the “last mile” of research from cure to care.

Thank you for your support of AHRQ and health services research. For more information, please contact Josh Caplan at


Academic Pediatric Association
Adventist Health Policy Association
Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM)
Alliance for Aging Research Altarum
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
American Academy of Neurology
American Academy of Nursing
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research
American Association for Men in Nursing
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine
American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing
American Association of Public Health Dentistry
American Association on Health and Disability
American Board of Medical Specialties
American Brain Coalition
American Chiropractic Association
American College of Clinical Pharmacy
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
American College of Nurse-Midwives
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American College of Physicians
American Epilepsy Society
American Gastroenterological Association
American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
American Health Quality Association
American Heart Association
American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
American Nephrology Nurses Association
American Neurological Association
American Nurses Association
American Occupational Therapy Association
American Organization for Nursing Leadership
American Osteopathic Association
American Pediatric Society
American Physical Therapy Association
American Psychological Association Services
American Psychosomatic Society
American Public Health Association
American Society for Nutrition
American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy
American Society of Anesthesiologists
American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology
American Society of Hematology
American Society of Nephrology
American Society of Pediatric Nephrology
American Statistical Association
American Telemedicine Association
Amputee Coalition
Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation
Arbor Research Collaborative for Health
Association for Clinical and Translational Science
Association for Diagnostics and Laboratory Medicine
Association for Prevention Teaching and Research
Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of Departments of Family Medicine
Association of Family Medicine Residency Doctors
Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs
Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs
Association of Population Centers
Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
Autoimmune Association
Avera Health
Brown University
Carnegie Mellon University
Children's Hospital Association
Claremont Graduate University
Clinical Research Forum
Coalition for Clinical and Translational Science
Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Consumers Advancing Patient Safety
Council of Academic Family Medicine
Council of Medical Specialty Societies
Data Foundation
Divinity Health and Wellness, PLLC
Duke Health
EBQ Consulting LLC
Epilepsy Foundation
Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Harvard University
HealthPartners Institute
Healthy Teen Network
Heart Failure Society of America
Heart Rhythm Society
HIV Medicine Association
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Johns Hopkins University & Medicine
Kaiser Permanente
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Lakeshore Foundation
Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.
March of Dimes
Mothers Against Medical Error
National Association of Health Data Organizations
National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National Ataxia Foundation
National Athletic Trainers' Association
National Black Nurses Association
National Eczema Association
National Hispanic Health Foundation
National Hispanic Medical Association
National League for Nursing
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Nurse-Led Care Consortium
National Psoriasis Foundation
North American Primary Care Research Group
Northern Illinois University
Northwestern University
Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA)
NYU Langone Health
Oregon Health & Science University
Patients for Patient Safety US
Pediatric Policy Council
Penn State University & College of Medicine
Population Association of America
Premier Inc.
Project Patient Care
Public Health Institute
Results for America
RTI International
Safe States Alliance
Sleep Research Society
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Society for Participatory Medicine
Society for Pediatric Research
Society for Women's Health Research
Society of Behavioral Medicine
Society of General Internal Medicine
Society of Hospital Medicine
Society of Teachers of Family Medicine
Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine
Spina Bifida Association
The American College of Preventive Medicine
The George Washington University
The Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
The Leapfrog Group
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Translational Research Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Tulane University School of Medicine
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
UMass Chan Medical School
United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc.
University of California System
University of California, San Francisco
University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare
Policy & Innovation
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and School of Medicine
University of Oregon
University of Rochester
University of Washington
UTHealth Houston | The University of Texas
Health Science Center at Houston
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Washington State University
Weill Cornell Medicine