AHRQ director Dr. Richard G. Kronick to step down: 6 things to know

Richard G. Kronick, PhD, will step down as director of HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Here are six things to know about Dr. Kronick.

1. He will step down from his role to return to the University of California, San Diego, where he previously served as professor and chief of the division of healthcare sciences in the department of family and preventive medicine.

2. He has served as director of AHRQ since August 2013.

3. During Dr. Kronick's tenure, AHRQ's work, in collaboration with colleagues at CMS, other parts of HHS and the private sector, led to hospital care that was 17 percent safer in 2014 than in 2010, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a message to HHS on Dr. Kronick's departure. There were 87,000 fewer deaths, 2.1 million fewer harms to patients and almost $20 billion in cost savings.

4. Secretary Burwell also noted Dr. Kronick's work on developing quality measures, which she said has been instrumental to HHS' focus on delivery system reform and the goal of creating an empowered and educated healthcare consumer.

"The value of AHRQ's work, and his leadership in developing that work, was never more important than it was in the past year when AHRQ's funding was at risk. I am particularly grateful to Rick's efforts in demonstrating to Congress and the public that AHRQ plays a critical role in improving health care outcomes in this country," she added. 

5. Prior to becoming director of AHRQ, Dr. Kronick served HHS as deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, overseeing the office of health policy. In that role, he made important contributions to the implementation of the ACA, and contributed important insights to Medicare and Medicaid payment policies, working closely with CMS on the development of payment for chronic care management, on measuring and adjusting for coding intensity in the Medicare Advantage program and in early work on payment reform for hospice and post-acute care, Secretary Burwell said in her message to HHS. 

6. In light of Dr. Kronick's resignation, Sharon Arnold, PhD, has agreed to serve as acting director of AHRQ. Dr. Arnold currently is deputy director of AHRQ.



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