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AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care

History of the Effective Health Care Program



  • The Effective Health Care Program is created from the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003. Section 1013 of that legislation authorizes the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to conduct and support research with a focus on comparing the outcomes and effectiveness of different treatments and clinical approaches, as well as communicate its findings widely to a variety of audiences. The research is driven by the needs of Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.


  • The Program received its first appropriation of $15 million.
  • The program releases its first comparative effectiveness report on treatment alternatives for gastric reflux disease.


  • Congress signals continuing recognition of the Program’s importance by doubling AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program budget to $30 million.


  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided additional funding, in the amount of $300 million, for comparative effectiveness research.