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Stephen Crystal Helps Legislators Draft Medicare Data Access Bill

Dr. Stephen Crystal, director of the Institute's AHRQ-funded Center for Education and Research on Mental Health Therapeutics (CERTs), has continued his testimony and work with the Senate Finance Committee on Medicare legislation. Most recently, Dr. Crystal worked with staff to draft the Medicare Data Access and Research Act that would make Part D data available to the health services research community. With these data, studies could be conducted on the safety, effectiveness, quality and disparities in the use of prescription drugs, linked to Medicare Parts A and B and merged with vital statistics and disease registries. With bipartisan sponsorship the legislation may be enacted in the near future. Earlier in 2001, Dr. Crystal testified when policymakers drafted a bill to expand Medicare benefits to include prescription drug coverage. Based on research by Dr. Crystal and his colleagues lessons learned about benefit design, continuity of coverage and consumer education were shared with legislators.



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