POLICY BRIEFINGS


PCORI Announces $56.7 Million in Research Awards


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has announced its approval of $56.7 million to support four pragmatic clinical studies. The studies will examine the safety and effectiveness of antibiotics versus surgery in treating patients with uncomplicated appendicitis; the safety and effectiveness of three blood-thinning drugs used to prevent potentially deadly blood clots in patients undergoing hip and knee replacement; different approaches to getting patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar depression the mental health care they need and two strategies for getting patients in rural and underserved areas the behavioral health care they need to see which works better. The money will also be put towards two obesity research initiatives on weight loss surgery and weight gain caused by antibiotic use in young children. PCORI also approved an additional $60 million for comparative clinical effectiveness research on the use of new anticoagulant drugs and care of treatment-resistant depression. These topics stem from input received in a multi-stakeholder workshop convened by PCORI in June. Including these new awards, PCORI has spent $1.08 billion in total on projects aimed at helping patients make better-informed health care choices and employing the capacity of PCORI’s national clinical research network known as PCORnet.


Million Hearts Initiative Launches Blood Pressure Challenge


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a challenge last week to identify those clinicians and health care teams most responsible for controlling high blood pressure and preventing heart attacks and strokes. This challenge was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in support of the Million Hearts initiative, and will recognize those practices and providers that achieve hypertension control rates of 70 percent or above. HHS’ Million Hearts initiative is a national initiative aimed at fighting heart disease and stroke with the goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The deadline to submit a nomination for the challenge is October 31.


HHS to Support Development of Anthrax Vaccine


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will support clinical studies for a new anthrax vaccine that would be easier and faster to produce than the vaccine currently licensed. The development project will be overseen by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). If the vaccine is demonstrated effective in humans, protection against anthrax could occur with fewer doses than the currently licensed vaccine, which must be administered with three doses over the course of four weeks, and requires an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The novel recombinant technology used to produce the new vaccine means that millions of doses could be produced in a comparatively shorter period of time and with lower manufacturing costs.


Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Hearings


House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health: field hearing titled “Realizing Quality Rural Care Through Appropriate Staffing and Improved Choice;” 10:00 a.m., National Guard Armory, 1170 East Portage Ave., Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; September 1



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