WASHINGTON--The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)
has awarded 10 research grants to study changes that are reshaping
America's health-care system (see list below). The grants total
$1.4 million for the first year; most of the projects will be
completed in 2 years or less.
AHCPR administrator Clifton R. Gaus, ScD, said that the delivery
of health-care services in the United States is undergoing dramatic
transformation, including mergers and consolidation of health-care
organizations; a move toward greater collective purchasing of
health care and health insurance; and innovations brought about
by single large employers (providers of employee health benefits)
who are seeking more value for their health-care dollar.
"The growth of managed care organizations and a decline in
the number of independent hospitals and physician groups are among
the most obvious changes that have occurred in response to market
forces," Dr. Gaus said.
He added that there is currently limited information about the
types of market structures and organizations that are emerging
in the health-care sector. Even less is known about how these
market structures are influencing the competitive strategies of
health-care providers and insurers, the quality and types of care
available in the market, or the price and equitable distribution
The studies of health-care markets funded by AHCPR complement
studies of changes in health-care financing and organization sponsored
by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a national philanthropy
devoted to health care, Dr. Gaus said. Efforts were made to coordinate
the research portfolios of AHCPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
to avoid project duplication.