Press Releases

May 05 2009

ROCKEFELLER, WHITEHOUSE, DEGETTE: AMERICANS DESERVE HIGH-QUALITY HEALTH CARE

Introduce the National Health Care Quality Act to create a new foundation for health care quality improvement

Washington, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced “The National Health Care Quality Act.” This landmark legislation will make patient health outcomes – not special interests – the determinants for how we pay for and provide health care services. The bill will create a new foundation for health care quality improvement within a National Health Care Quality Office.
 
“We spend more money on health care in America than any other country in the world.  Yet, we have some of the worst health outcomes—not enough people are seeing a positive change from their treatment,” said Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Heath Care.
 
“The needs of patients should drive our 21st Century health care system. As part of health reform, we need to make a real, permanent commitment to health care quality. This legislation will establish national priorities to improve health care quality, monitor the kind of care Americans are receiving and track our progress as we move forward,” said Rockefeller.
 
“As we begin the work of reforming our broken health care system, this bill will put quality of care where it belongs: front and center," said Whitehouse, who founded the Rhode Island Quality Institute. "By giving leaders in quality improvement new tools and new ways to collaborate, we’re building the foundation of a transformed health care system that provides better care at lower cost.”
 
“Quality health care is the kind of change within health reform that patients and caregivers are expecting,” said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Vice Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.  “We finally have the opportunity to establish a national infrastructure that can help develop quality measures and coordinate resources, leading to improved quality of care and improved health outcomes at a lower cost.”
 
Although progress has been made to improve health care quality, this legislation will create a new infrastructure to guide quality improvement, and a much-needed mechanism to monitor and implement these efforts throughout the federal government. This legislation builds on the public-private partnership by giving all stakeholders input into the process of improving health care quality.
 
The National Health Care Quality Act will:
 
  • Create an Accountable Entity to Set Health Care Quality Priorities for the Nation.  This legislation establishes a new Office of National Health Care Quality Improvement within the Executive Office of the President.  This new office will be led by a Director of National Health Care Quality, who will work with public and private stakeholders to establish and routinely update health care quality priorities for the nation based on a number of mandatory considerations, including the needs of children and the void in pediatric quality measures. 
 
  • Coordinate Health Care Quality Improvement Efforts Across Federal Agencies. This legislation creates a framework for implementing national health care quality priorities across all federal agencies involved in purchasing, providing, studying, or regulating health care services.  Specifically, the bill statutorily re-establishes the Quality Interagency Coordinating Council (QuICC), first created during the Clinton Administration, within the Office of National Health Care Quality Improvement. The bill also provides a framework for the development and implementation of Department-specific quality improvement priorities.
 
  • Enhance Health Care Quality Improvement Efforts Within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The National Health Care Quality Act expands the authority of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in order to improve the public-private process for health care quality measure development and to streamline the implementation of quality improvement measures within federal health programs under the jurisdiction of HHS.
 
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