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42 U.S. Code § 299a - General authorities

(a) In generalIn carrying out section 299(b) of this title, the Director shall conduct and support research, evaluations, and training, support demonstration projects, research networks, and multidisciplinary centers, provide technical assistance, and disseminate information on health care and on systems for the delivery of such care, including activities with respect to—
the quality, effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness and value of health care services;
quality measurement and improvement;
the outcomes, cost, cost-effectiveness, and use of health care services and access to such services;
clinical practice, including primary care and practice-oriented research;
health care technologies, facilities, and equipment;
health care costs, productivity, organization, and market forces;
health promotion and disease prevention, including clinical preventive services;
health statistics, surveys, database development, and epidemiology; and
medical liability.
(b) Health services training grants
(1) In general

The Director may provide training grants in the field of health services research related to activities authorized under subsection (a), to include pre- and post-doctoral fellowships and training programs, young investigator awards, and other programs and activities as appropriate. In carrying out this subsection, the Director shall make use of funds made available under section 288(d)(3)[1] of this title as well as other appropriated funds.

(2) Requirements

In developing priorities for the allocation of training funds under this subsection, the Director shall take into consideration shortages in the number of trained researchers who are addressing health care issues for the priority populations identified in section 299(c)(1)(B) of this title and in addition, shall take into consideration indications of long-term commitment, amongst applicants for training funds, to addressing health care needs of the priority populations.

(c) Multidisciplinary centers

The Director may provide financial assistance to assist in meeting the costs of planning and establishing new centers, and operating existing and new centers, for multidisciplinary health services research, demonstration projects, evaluations, training, and policy analysis with respect to the matters referred to in subsection (a).

(d) Relation to certain authorities regarding social security

Activities authorized in this section shall be appropriately coordinated with experiments, demonstration projects, and other related activities authorized by the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.] and the Social Security Amendments of 1967. Activities under subsection (a)(2) of this section that affect the programs under titles XVIII, XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq., 1396 et seq., 1397aa et seq.] shall be carried out consistent with section 1142 of such Act [42 U.S.C. 1320b–12].

(e) Disclaimer

The Agency shall not mandate national standards of clinical practice or quality health care standards. Recommendations resulting from projects funded and published by the Agency shall include a corresponding disclaimer.

(f) Rule of construction

Nothing in this section shall be construed to imply that the Agency’s role is to mandate a national standard or specific approach to quality measurement and reporting. In research and quality improvement activities, the Agency shall consider a wide range of choices, providers, health care delivery systems, and individual preferences.

(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title IX, § 902, as added Pub. L. 106–129, § 2(a), Dec. 6, 1999, 113 Stat. 1654; amended Pub. L. 106–525, title II, § 201(a)(1), Nov. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 2505.)

[1]  See References in Text note below.
Editorial Notes
References in Text

Section 288(d)(3) of this title, referred to in subsec. (b)(1), was repealed by Pub. L. 109–482, title I, § 103(b)(47), Jan. 15, 2007, 120 Stat. 3688.

The Social Security Act, referred to in subsec. (d), is act Aug. 14, 1935, ch. 531, 49 Stat. 620, which is classified generally to chapter 7 (§ 301 et seq.) of this title. Titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI of the Act are classified generally to subchapters XVIII (§ 1395 et seq.), XIX (§ 1396 et seq.), and XXI (§ 1397aa et seq.), respectively, of chapter 7 of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 1305 of this title and Tables.

The Social Security Amendments of 1967, referred to in subsec. (d), is Pub. L. 90–248, Jan. 2, 1968, 81 Stat. 821. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title of 1968 Amendment note set out under section 1305 of this title and Tables.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 299a, act July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title IX, § 902, as added Pub. L. 101–239, title VI, § 6103(a), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2189; amended Pub. L. 101–639, § 3(d), Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 4603; Pub. L. 102–410, § 2(b), Oct. 13, 1992, 106 Stat. 2094, required Administrator to conduct and support research, demonstration projects, evaluations, training, guideline development, and dissemination of information on health care services and on systems for delivery of such services, prior to the general amendment of this subchapter by Pub. L. 106–129.

Another prior section 299a, act July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title IX, § 901, as added Oct. 6, 1965, Pub. L. 89–239, § 2, 79 Stat. 926; amended Oct. 15, 1968, Pub. L. 90–574, title I, §§ 101, 102, 107, 82 Stat. 1005, 1006; June 30, 1970, Pub. L. 91–296, title IV, § 401(b)(1)(F), 84 Stat. 352; Oct. 30, 1970, Pub. L. 91–515, title I, § 103, 84 Stat. 1298; June 18, 1973, Pub. L. 93–45, title I, § 110, 87 Stat. 93, authorized appropriations for grants and contracts to carry out purposes of this subchapter and set forth extent of and limitations on grants, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 99–117, § 12(d), Oct. 7, 1985, 99 Stat. 495.

A prior section 902 of act July 1, 1944, was classified to section 299b of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 99–117.


2000—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 106–525 struck out heading and text of subsec. (g). Text read as follows: “Beginning with fiscal year 2003, the Director shall annually submit to the Congress a report regarding prevailing disparities in health care delivery as it relates to racial factors and socioeconomic factors in priority populations.”

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Reducing Administrative Health Care Costs

Pub. L. 103–43, title XIX, § 1909, June 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 205, as amended by Pub. L. 106–129, § 2(b)(2), Dec. 6, 1999, 113 Stat. 1670; Pub. L. 108–173, title IX, § 900(e)(6)(F), Dec. 8, 2003, 117 Stat. 2374, provided that:

“The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and, to the extent possible, in consultation with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, may fund research to develop a text-based standardized billing process, through the utilization of text-based information retrieval and natural language processing techniques applied to automatic coding and analysis of textual patient discharge summaries and other text-based electronic medical records, within a parallel general purpose (shared memory) high performance computing environment. The Secretary shall determine whether such a standardized approach to medical billing, through the utilization of the text-based hospital discharge summary as well as electronic patient records can reduce the administrative billing costs of health care delivery.”
Executive Documents
Demonstration Grants for the Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of Alternatives to the Current Medical Liability System

Memorandum of President of the United States, Sept. 17, 2009, 74 F.R. 48133, provided:

Memorandum for the Secretary of Health And Human Services

As part of my Administration’s ongoing effort to reform our health care system, we have reached out to members of both political parties and listened to the concerns many have raised about the need to improve patient safety and to reform our medical liability system. Between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die each year from medical errors. Many physicians continue to struggle to pay their medical malpractice premiums, which vary tremendously by specialty and by State. The cost of insurance continues to be one of the highest practice expenses for some specialties. And although malpractice premiums do not account for a large percentage of total medical costs, many physicians report that fear of lawsuits leads them to practice defensive medicine, which may contribute to higher costs.

We should explore medical liability reform as one way to improve the quality of care and patient-safety practices and to reduce defensive medicine. But whatever steps we pursue, medical liability reform must be just one part of broader health insurance reform—reform that offers more security and stability to Americans who have insurance, offers insurance to Americans who lack coverage, and slows the growth of health care costs for families, businesses, and government.

In recent years, there have been calls from organizations like The Joint Commission and the Institute of Medicine to begin funding demonstration projects that can test a variety of medical liability models and determine which reforms work. These groups and others have identified several important goals and core commitments of malpractice reform that should serve as a starting point for such projects. We must put patient safety first and work to reduce preventable injuries. We must foster better communication between doctors and their patients. We must ensure that patients are compensated in a fair and timely manner for medical injuries, while also reducing the incidence of frivolous lawsuits. And we must work to reduce liability premiums.

In 1999, the Congress authorized the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which is located within the Department of Health and Human Services, to support demonstration projects and to evaluate the effectiveness of projects regarding all aspects of health care, including medical liability. I hereby request that you announce, within 30 days of this memorandum, that the Department will make available demonstration grants to States, localities, and health systems for the development, implementation, and evaluation of alternatives to our current medical liability system, consistent with the goals and core commitments outlined above.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

Barack Obama.