TABLE 6-2 Federal and Private Technology Assessors

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Responsible for tracking emerging technologies and patterns of care to determine applicability of existing national coverage policy and to assess the need for policy change. (Named changed from Health Care Financing Administration, or HCFA, in June 2001.)
Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee (MCAC) MCAC advises CMS on whether specific medical items and services are “reasonable and necessary” under Medicare law. MCAC is advisory in nature, with the final decision on all issues resting with CMS.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) AHRQ's Evidence Practice Centers (EPCs) conduct systematic, comprehensive analyses and syntheses of the scientific literature to develop evidence reports and technology assessments on clinical topics that are common, expensive, and present challenges to decisionmakers.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Independent panel of preventive health experts, convened by AHRQ, who are charged with evaluating the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of a range of clinical preventive services and producing age-specific and risk factor-specific recommendations for these services.
Office of Medical Applications and Research (OMAR) Established in 1977 as part of the NIH Consensus Development program. This is the focal point for evidence-based assessments of medical practice and state-of-the-science on behalf of the medical community and the public. More than 120 NIH Consensus Statements and State-of-the-Science Statements have been issued since the program's inception.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center (BCBSA-TEC) Evaluates the clinical effectiveness and appropriateness of medical procedures, devices, and drugs. The TEC averages 20 to 25 assessments each year, and provides healthcare decision makers, such as Kaiser Permanente and CMS, with information on clinical effectiveness.
ECRI Nonprofit health services research agency that monitors technology-related hazards, disseminates the results of medical product evaluations and technology assessments, and supplies clinical practice guidelines and standards through several membership-based publications and databases.
Hayes, Inc. For-profit technology assessment company that evaluates and monitors emerging health care technologies. Hayes provides assessment information to providers and payers, such as United HealthCare, WellPoint Health Network, and AHRQ.

NOTE: For the purposes of this table, technology assessment is defined as the synthesis of clinical evidence concerning medical technologies for making coverage decisions and developing clinical guidelines.

From: 6, The Necessary Environment for Research and Development

Cover of Saving Women's Lives
Saving Women's Lives: Strategies for Improving Breast Cancer Detection and Diagnosis.
Institute of Medicine (US) and National Research Council (US) Committee on New Approaches to Early Detection and Diagnosis of Breast Cancer; Joy JE, Penhoet EE, Petitti DB, editors.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2005.
Copyright © 2005, National Academy of Sciences.

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