Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WASHINGTON - Prevention was one of six priority areas cited by a federal panel in its recommendations as to how the Secretary of Health and Human Services should spend $400 million in stimulus-bill funding for comparative effectiveness research. The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) issued its findings in a report issued today. Partnership for Prevention testified before the Council at a May 13 field hearing in Chicago and urged that prevention be made a priority in the recommendations.

"Many effective interventions for improving health are likely to involve prevention and community intervention, but these areas are currently understudied," the council concluded. "For example, behavioral change and prevention have the potential to decrease obesity, decrease smoking rates, increase adherence to medical therapies, and improve many other factors that determine health."

The high-priority interventions cited by the council were medical and assistive devices, procedures/surgery, behavioral change, prevention, and delivery systems.

"Due to astonishing achievements in biomedical science, clinicians and patients often have a plethora of choices when making decisions about diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, but it is frequently unclear which therapeutic choice works best for whom, when, and in what circumstances," the council said. It said CER "should identify interventions that yield the most health improvement and represent the best value wherever and however the interventions are delivered."

Partnership for Prevention President Robert J. Gould expressed appreciation to the council for making prevention a priority and for encouraging Partnership's participation in their listening sessions.

"The council's decision is an important step in giving prevention the footing it needs to take its rightful place in the spectrum of health-care decisionmaking," Gould said. "Everyone wins when consumers and health professionals can make informed decision based upon science-based comparisons that show how we can get the most health benefits for the dollars spent."

"We hope HHS Secretary Katherine Sebelius will follow this blueprint when she makes her final decisions on the federal investment in CER," he said.

The council's report was mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is designed to help the HHS Secretary and lawmakers improve the quality of care for patients, and provide patients and doctors the best information possible to make decisions about health care. The report is available at www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/cer.


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