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PCORI doing its job, GAO says

March 10, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is fulfilling its research-related missions, according to an initial assessment performed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The 2015 study, which included a review of legislation and PCORI documentation as well as interviews with PCORI officials and others, was mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which also created PCORI in 2010.

The nonprofit institute is charged with identifying research priorities, establishing a research project agenda, funding research consistent with the agenda, and disseminating findings. PCORI has met the first three requirements, the GAO says, and is in the process of developing a peer review process to examine the final reports submitted by researchers to enable the potential dissemination of results beginning this year in coordination with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The institute is expected to receive a total of about $3.5 billion from fiscal years 2010 to 2019 through the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund established by the ACA. Of that amount, it expects to spend about $2.6 billion to fund research. Through October 2014, PCORI had commited $670.8 million to 360 research contracts, according to the GAO. Among other topics, the institute has supported research related to in-home and transitional care for stroke as well as:

PCORI also has commited to spending about $106 million on PCORnet, a data research network, and it expects to commit another $165 million on the network through 2019, according to the GAO.

The institute also is developing ways to gauge the success of its efforts to address health disparities, improve the dissemination of research and other goals. “PCORI anticipates having some early results related to its primary outcome measures starting in 2017 after the first [clinical effectiveness research] studies are completed and their findings released, although full evaluation of the results of these outcome measures will not be possible until around 2020,” the GAO report notes.

The ACA also mandates that the GAO perform another assessment of PCORI in 2018.