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May 2017

Proposed Budget Cuts Could Severely Curtail Effective Senior Health Care Research and Initiatives

Washington Watch

 

The Trump administration has proposed slashing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, saying it is bloated with unnecessary expenses resulting in waste and abuse. It has also proposed to eliminate the independent status of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and absorb it into the NIH.

 

AHRQ is a little-known agency that focuses on improving health care quality and applying it to patient safety. It is one of the true unsung heroes of the federal government, providing vital scientific research that has helped reduce diseases and keep seniors safe for the past 20 years.

 

Its research has become more important in recent years as the Obama administration pushed value-based reimbursement arrangements tying payments to clinical quality. It’s too early to know if Trump will move away from that focus. AHRQ remains focused on applied research examining the effectiveness and costs of clinical practices and how they impact different populations.

 

The agency has taken on some of the toughest and most controversial medical issues focusing particularly on how to prevent medication mistakes and infections and how to get patients ready to leave the hospital so they can avoid costly readmissions. Both of these obviously are critical to seniors

 

AHRQ has also recently examined how to change prescribing of opioids, improve care for diabetics and looked into how to use telehealth to serve rural patients.

 

One of the reasons the Trump administration and House Republicans are targeting AHRQ is that the agency has been overshadowed by other more well-known agencies like the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, NIH, and the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center, which was given a $1 billion budget under Obama to test changes in the delivery and financing of medical care.

 

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A Journey to Forever

Just Sayin’

 

Today is Mother’s Day. I am at my computer writing to you in the quiet hours of a May Sunday morning. I am happy about that.

 

I am thankful for the hours to put my heart on paper and not crying my heart out for a mom that is no longer here, and for children that are far away.

 

My daughter, Amy, is in California running a race at Disney World in Anaheim. I am glad she is taking a vacation to see friends and is happily doing something she loves.

 

My son is settling in his new home in Colorado. I am sure he is preparing for another trip to South Africa to save the beautiful animals of our world. Corey has always tried to “save” something all his life.

 

My daughter, Amy, is in California running a race at Disney World in Anaheim. I am glad she is taking a vacation to see friends and is happily doing something she loves.

 

 

When I was in high school I dreamed of a white house with the proverbial picket fence to hold my family of six children and a great husband. I would sew their clothes, prepare their meals and have hot cookies for them when they came home from school.

 

I never saw myself as a career woman, or a woman who would celebrate some holidays without a gaggle of kids around. That was just not me.

 

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