Request for Information (RFI): To Solicit Input on the Feasibility, Scope, and Design of a State Health Policy Database

Notice Number: NOT-RM-11-019

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Key Dates
Release Date: June 29, 2011
Response Date: August 26, 2011

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Purpose

The NIH Common Fund’s Health Economics Program (www.commonfund.nih.gov/healtheconomics) is seeking input about developing a State Health Policy Database (SHPD) to support scientific research on key research questions in health economics and to facilitate applied health economics research on issues relating to health care reform.  The SHPD is envisioned as a research tool that will document state-level policies in a manner that facilitates valid comparisons across states and over time.  This Request for Information (RFI) seeks to identify specific policy areas for inclusion in the SHPD by identifying key research questions that could be addressed using policy information in particular areas, viable research designs that will allow those questions to be answered, and additional data that are required to implement those research designs. In addition, the Health Economics Program seeks input on general issues relating to the feasibility, scope, and design of such a State Health Policy Database.

Background

Recent and anticipated changes in policy at both the Federal and state levels are creating important changes in the demand for and supply of health insurance and in other factors that affect access to, and delivery and costs of health care . Innovation in State health policies to the markets for health insurance, the organization of health care services and approaches to controlling costs have particular importance toward implementing health care reform.  Cross-state variation in such policies, including variation in the timing of their implementation, provide an opportunity to study these effects on consumer and provider behavior, market performance, costs, and health outcomes for individuals, population groups, and the population as a whole.

The Health Economics Program is considering development of a State Health Policy Database as a way to advance health economics research by providing authoritative documentation, including tracking of relevant policies at the state level, in a manner that permits valid comparisons across states and over time. The SHPD is planned to be a state-level data set containing time-varying policy variables. To facilitate wide use by researchers, the SHPD should be easily linkable to individual-level data sets from health and economic surveys or administrative claims data. Research using policy information in conjunction with other related data has the potential to provide answers to key questions in health economics and to provide critical information needed to promote efficiency and quality in the financing and delivery of health care services that improve the health of individuals, families, communities, and populations. Scientific research areas that may be supported by data from the SHPD include (but are not limited to) the effects of policy changes on demand for health care; access to primary and specialty care providers; supply of health care; level and composition of the utilization of health care services; prices for primary and specialty care; total and out-of-pocket costs for episodes of care and for relevant population groups; incomes and profits of health care providers; and health outcomes measured by various metrics. Additional research may examine the predicted and actual effects of policy and behavioral changes on the performance of markets for health insurance, health care services, prescription medications and medical devices, and labor markets for health care providers and other topics. Finally, the SHPD should be capable of supporting research to evaluate alternative policy strategies for improving economic performance and public health.

Policies selected for inclusion in the SHPD must create opportunities for significant research advances on key issues in health economics or to gains in efficiency and quality of care that can lead to improvements in patients’ quality of life and clinical and functional outcomes.  The design of analyses must reflect valid scientific and statistical approaches to identify causal relationships among well-measured variables. Key considerations in selection of policies for inclusion in the SHPD will include (but not necessarily be limited to) (a) anticipated adequate state-level variation in policy characteristics or timing of implementation; (b) salience for addressing key questions in health economics or in supporting ongoing decisions pertaining to health care reform; (c) quality of available research designs to carry out scientific research using the policy information; and (d) availability of related data necessary to achieve research aims.
 
Information Requested

The Common Fund Health Economics Program solicits information from health economists, health professionals, the broader scientific community, and other interested persons and organizations to inform the development of a State Health Policy Database to support health economics research and strengthen the performance of health care reform to improve outcomes for care providers and recipients across diverse settings. In order to maximize this request for information responses that address all four of the following areas of concern are highly recommended:

In addition, input is solicited on more general issues related to development of an SHPD, including issues pertaining to feasibility, scope, design, dissemination, and implementation. Please indicate how your comments or suggestions advance the primary purpose of the SHPD.

Responses 

Responses will be accepted through Friday, August 26, 2011 and are limited to 1200 words per submission. Responses must be submitted via email to the following address: SHPD-RFI@mail.nih.gov. You will receive email confirmation acknowledging receipt of your response, but will not receive individualized feedback. 

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. The information collected will be analyzed and considered in planning and development of the SHPD or other future initiatives. Any personal identifiers (e.g., names, addresses, email addresses, etc.) will be removed when responses are compiled. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. Responders should be aware that the information provided will be analyzed and may appear in various reports. Additionally, the government cannot guarantee the confidentiality of the information provided.
This request for Information is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and/or the NIH Common Fund Health Economics Program. The NIH does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI and will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

David Chambers, D.Phil.
Division of Services and Intervention Research
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Blvd., Room 7164
Bethesda, MD 20892-9631
Telephone: 301-443-3747
Fax: 301-443-4045
Email: dchamber@mail.nih.gov


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