Senate leaders introduced legislation that would create a central hub for clinical research in an effort to determine which medical procedures workand which dontwhen treating a variety of conditions.
The bill, introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), would establish the Health Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Institute, a public-private partnership of medical experts who will conduct research on surgical procedures, pharmaceuticals, medical devises and a host of other measures. The institutes board would include doctors, patients, and drug and device makers. Funding for the research center, which will operate outside of the government, would be paid for by fees from public and private payers such as Medicare and private insurers. The initiatives annual cost is expected to exceed $300 million after five years.
Doctors and patients need reliable, unbiased information about the effectiveness of treatments to determine the best care possible, but right now that data is scarce and unorganized, Baucus said in a written statement. This bill will advance the process of reviewing and producing valuable information and making it available to healthcare providers, and to all Americans.
Comparative effectiveness research compares clinical outcomes for different treatments for the same condition. The idea has been championed by many healthcare experts and has gained traction in Washington as a way to improve the quality of care while ultimately driving down costs. -- by Matthew DoBias