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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was established in 1989 as the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. Reauthorizing legislation passed in November 1999 establishes AHRQ as the lead Federal agency on quality research. AHRQ, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead agency charged with supporting research designed to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost, and broaden access to essential services. AHRQ's broad programs of research bring practical, science-based information to medical practitioners and to consumers and other health care purchasers.