/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "The Senate today improved on a comparative effectiveness research (CER) package from the House by focusing the $1.1 billion dollar research effort on clinical effectiveness," said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the nation's leading Hispanic health advocacy group. She added, "The Senate Appropriations Committee has rejected House report language that put cost over quality and was a prescription for bad health.
"House stimulus package language had urged that those treatments found 'more expensive, will no longer be prescribed.' The Senate instead calls for the CER program to focus specifically on clinical effectiveness. The Senate language recognizes that a decision on the best treatment for an individual patient must be made between the patient and their provider, not a federal research or rulemaking body.
"While the Senate language is an improvement , it is important that further steps be taken to ensure that research and governance reflect those that the research seeks to serve."
According to Dr. Delgado two outstanding issues are critical.
1. Final legislation must specifically enforce current policies for inclusion in research. House language was silent on inclusion of gender, race, ethnicity, and disability. While the Senate improves on House language, the final legislation should specifically call for research to be in compliance with the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations in Research.
2. Governance must be changed from an all federal board to include majority governance by patient and provider groups. Current House language calls for a 15 person governance board of only federal officials to oversee the $1.1 billion CER program. An all federal panel will not reflect the real-life concerns of patients and providers and inevitably lead to science and spending that does not meet the needs of patients for better quality care.
"We appreciate the work of the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees and in particular thank Senators Baucus, Conrad, Harkin, and Inouye for their leadership on improving the CER program under the stimulus package. We look forward to our work with the Senate and House in the days ahead to develop a package that puts patients and quality first."