By closely monitoring the implementation of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit and the capacity to respond to Medicare beneficiaries’ questions, HHS was able to provide the resources needed to improve the ability of beneficiaries, and the others who assist them, to obtain the information they needed to enroll in a drug plan. In addition, the demographic and other information developed to describe Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured are helping policymakers determine how to address these issues.
Success in increasing health care service and availability relies, in part, on how effectively we are able to ensure the successful translation of research into safe and effective medical products. Evaluation information supports our ability to help human drug sponsors improve the quality of their drug development and related new drug applications. The Prescription Drug and User Fee Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-571), as amended (PDUFA III), effective from FYs 2003–2007, expanded user fee funding to support several initiatives to improve application submissions and FDA-sponsored interactions during drug development and application review. FY 2005 was the fifth consecutive year in which FDA received an increased number of priority original drug applications, which represent significant new medical treatments for American patients. Additionally, FDA found that new mechanisms for FDA-sponsored interactions, such as meetings and consultations during the drug development phase, had a positive impact on the rate of first-cycle approval of drug applications, which speeds the availability of safe and effective new medical treatments to patients.
Through the Medicaid program, a substantial number of people receive personal assistance services, which allow them to function independently in their own homes. Consumer-directed services further allow beneficiaries to manage not only their human assistance, but also other covered supportive services. Cash and Counseling is an expanded model of consumer-directed services. ASPE and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation collaborated to fund the Cash and Counseling Demonstration Evaluation (CCDE) to track the experiences of beneficiaries and providers in three States—Florida, Arkansas, and New Jersey—that participated in a unique Medicaid waiver experiment. Because of the CCDE, 11 other States have been selected to participate in an expansion of Cash and Counseling. Equally important, consumer choice, control, and empowerment have been inculcated throughout the Medicaid program and are reflected in many of the long-term care initiatives highlighted in this Strategic Plan, including the Money Follows the Person demonstration.
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