This page was created for the fiscal year 2016 #SaveAHRQ campaign. The current version of the #SaveAHRQ advocacy toolkit can be accessed here.
In 2015, we witnessed many assaults on public health and health research in the House Appropriations Committee's Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related (Labor-HHS) fiscal year (FY) 2016 spending bill. Among them was the proposed termination of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the only agency with the sole mission to conduct health services research – the research that tells us what works, for whom, under what circumstances, and at what cost.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted on a bill to provide AHRQ $236 million in budget authority, a 35 percent reduction from FY15 levels.
Then, in 2016 we saw AHRQ targeted again. While included in the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee's bill, the agency was funded at $280.24 million, a crippling amount for any federal entity attempting to carry out its mission.
#SaveAHRQ Campaign Overview
As the professional home for the fields of health services and policy research, and in keeping with our mission to improve health and the performance of the health system by supporting the production and use of evidence that informs policy and practice, AcademyHealth is a vocal advocate of health services research and the convening organization for the Friends of AHRQ.
In these dual roles, we commenced #SaveAHRQ – a multi-faceted campaign to engage our stakeholders in the fight to preserve this critical health research agency.
The #SaveAHRQ campaign received unprecedented response from the research community, successfully highlighting the importance of the agency in the current fiscal environment. The noise made by AHRQ supporters led to coverage in the media and community letters to appropriators, and Senator Blumenthal (CT) circulated the first-ever 'Dear Colleague' letter in support of AHRQ in the Senate.
The #SaveAHRQ toolkit created for FY16 can be adapted to continue vocalizing AHRQ's significance and its increased relevance given changes happening in federal health policy.