The Honorable Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232 Capitol Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Hastert:

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) endorses H.R. 2506, the Health Research and Quality Act of 1999, which was recently approved by the Commerce Committee and reported to the House of Representatives. This legislation reauthorizes, redefines and renames the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research as the Agency for Health Research and Quality or AHRQ. The purpose of the new, revised agency would be to foster public and private health research and disseminate this information to health care plans, providers and consumers.

In previous years, agency-sponsored research has made important contributions to improving the delivery and management of health care services, including identifying strategies for reducing undiagnosed heart attacks and minimizing low blood sugar crises for diabetics. This type of valuable research would continue under this legislation. H.R. 2506 would build upon these activities by directing the agency to work with the private sector in developing evidence-based health care measures to assist practitioners and patients in making treatment decisions.

In addition, H.R. 2506 would support research to reduce medical errors, as well as promote the development, diffusion and use of new health care technologies. The bill would also establish grants for regional centers to improve and increase access to preventive health care services. AACC supports the objectives outlined in this legislation. We request your assistance in enacting this measure when Congress reconvenes in September, so that the public and private sectors can continue to work together to improve the quality and effectiveness of health care services.

By way of background, AACC is the principal association of professional laboratory scientists--including MDs, PhDs and medical technologists. AACC's members develop and use chemical concepts, procedures, techniques and instrumentation in health-related investigations and work in hospitals, independent laboratories and the diagnostics industry nationwide. The AACC's objectives are to further the public interest and educational activities and to help maintain high professional standards.

If you have any questions or we may be of any assistance, please call me at (405) 271-3571 or Vince Stine, Director, Government Affairs, at (202) 835-8721.



K. Michael Parker, PhD

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