WASHINGTON: The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, a new organization funded by the healthcare law to support comparative effectiveness research efforts, issued an RFP for a PR firm, sources said.
The institute, also known as PCORI, is tasked with carrying out research projects that can help patients, healthcare providers, purchasers, and policymakers make informed health decisions.
It was created through a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in March 2010.
Sources said that a consulting firm called Transition Leadership International issued the RFP, which was sent to several PR firms in Washington last week. The deadline for responses is January 20 and work on the six-month contract is expected to begin February 1.
According to sources, the RFP calls for the creation of an identity for the organization, outreach to influencers and Capital Hill, media relations, digital, and website development. The RFP reportedly states the communications work for PCORI will be “fast-paced and high profile.”
It also asked agencies to submit the names of their health, medical, and health policy clients during the 2010 calendar year.
A spokesperson for PCORI did not return calls for comment. The organization updated its website January 13 to include a schedule for an upcoming public meeting, which includes time to discuss PCORI's "short-term communications plan."
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act states that the institute “shall support forums to increase public awareness and obtain and incorporate public input and feedback through media (such as an Internet website) on research priorities, research findings, and other duties, activities, or processes the Institute determines appropriate.”
PCORI is led by a board of directors made up of healthcare industry leaders and the directors of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institutes of Health. It held its first meeting in November after announcing its board members two months earlier.
Board members range from academic leaders like Eugene Washington, vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences, and advocates like Ellen Sigal, founder of Friends of Cancer Research, to healthcare business leaders such as Steven Lipstein, president and CEO of BJC HealthCare; Harlan Weisman, chief science and technology officer of medical devices and diagnostics at Johnson & Johnson; and Freda Lewis-Hall, chief medical officer at Pfizer.
PCORI has a $50 million budget in fiscal year 2011 although the organization's annual budget is expected to triple to $150 million in 2012, according to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.