PCORI made about $2 billion in commitments for awards from 2010 to 2017: GAO

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) made about $2 billion in commitments for awards in fiscal years 2010 through 2017, according to an analysis by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report, Activities Funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund, noted that PCORI provides funding through award commitments from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund (Trust Fund) and may pay these awards over multiple years.

Background.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) authorized the establishment of PCORI to carry out comparative effectiveness research (CER) and established the Trust Fund from which PCORI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are expected to receive an estimated $4 billion from fiscal years 2010 through 2019. The ACA directed the GAO to review the PCORI’s and the HHS’s use of the Trust Fund.

Findings.

The GAO report examined the PCORI’s use of the Trust Fund for CER activities, and the HHS’s use of the Trust Fund for these activities. Of the $2 billion PCORI committed as of the end of fiscal year 2017, about $1.6 billion (or 79 percent of its commitments) is for research awards, and $325 million (or 16 percent) is for building the capacity to use existing health data for research, the GAO found. Through fiscal year 2017, commitments for dissemination and implementation awards—intended to share CER findings with potential users of this research—were limited because most PCORI-funded research was still underway. PCORI projects to commit an additional $721 million for awards in fiscal years 2018 through 2021. In addition to awards, PCORI spent $310 million on program and administrative support services in fiscal years 2010 through 2017 and projects to spend an additional $206 million for these services through fiscal year 2024.

From fiscal years 2011 through 2017, the HHS obligated about $448 million from the Trust Fund. Of this amount, HHS obligated about $260 million (or 58 percent of all obligations) to the dissemination and implementation of CER findings. As most PCORI-funded CER had not yet been completed due to the time needed to conduct this research, HHS efforts focused instead on the dissemination and implementation of CER funded by other federal entities. Additionally, HHS obligated funds for efforts to train researchers on conducting CER, build data capacity, and on administrative activities. HHS projects to obligate an additional $120 million for these activities in fiscal years 2018 through 2020.

SOURCE: https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/690836.pdf
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