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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

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Introduction to Health Services Research : A Self-Study Course

Module 2: Brief History of Health Services Research (Page 29 of 40)

A New Millennium

HCFA Renamed, Becomes CMS

Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) became the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on July 1, 2001. This change came about as HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson "unveiled the first wave of reforms designed to strengthen the health care services and information available to nearly 70 million Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the health care providers who serve them, along with a new name for the agency that administers these two popular programs..."

The Center is "being refocused along its three primary lines of service - the Center for Medicare Management, Center for Beneficiary Choices and the Center for Medicaid and State Operations" (DHHS Press release, 2001).

Read more about CMS in Module 3.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

AHRQ's mission "is conducting and sponsoring research that helps improve the outcomes and quality of health care, reduce its costs, address patient safety and medical errors, and broaden access to effective services."

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) (http://www.ahrq.gov/) was reauthorized by Congress in 1999 from the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, AHCPR, to AHRQ. AHRQ's mission "is conducting and sponsoring research that helps improve the outcomes and quality of health care, reduce its costs, address patient safety and medical errors, and broaden access to effective services" according to John Eisenberg, AHRQ's former director.

Read more about AHRQ in Module 3.

AcademyHealth

The Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy was created in 2000 from the merger of Association for Health Services Research (AHSR) and the Alpha Center. On September 16, 2002 AcademyHealth became the official name of this organization. AcademyHealth "is the professional home for health services researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners, and a leading non-partisan resource for the best in health research and policy" according to the organization's Name Change FAQ.

More on AcademyHealth can be found in Module 3.

21st Century Health Problems

The rising cost of health care continues to be a problem and was an issue in the 2000 and 2004 elections. Other issues continue to be discussed in the news and elsewhere and likely will as long as health care is needed. The next few pages outline some of those problems.

The list of health problems that will become or are now important is a lengthy one.

Other problems that will become important early in this century include elder care as the population of baby boomers age; women's health, especially as it relates to the differences in how women respond to treatment (many of the research studies have traditionally been done on men); alternative medicine and the use of non-traditional or classic Western medicine cures); preventive medicine/health promotion, or encouraging a relatively sedentary population to eat right and exercise more; telemedicine, or getting specialist and regular care to traditionally medically underserved areas; genetics, or how diagnosis and treatment will change with the new developments in gene therapy; and in mental health which is often unrecognized and which causes so much illness that is not reimbursed the same way other illnesses are.

Other important issues are discussed in a later section.

View Key Projects and Milestones in Health Services Research.

Discussion Questions

  1. CMS is one of several key agencies in funding health services research. Why is CMS interested in funding this kind of research and what are the benefits to society from their funding efforts? Discuss.
  2. Discuss the importance of AcademyHealth in health services research today.
  3. Why are quality of care and quality of life issues so important? Discuss.
  4. What other problems are researchers and the public facing in the 21st Century? What is the likelihood that any of these problems will be solved in the next twenty years?
  5. How important is the problem of mental health in this country? Will providing additional money for treatment solve this problem? What is your solution?
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