Senate Finance Committee Recommends Ways That Medicare Can Enhance Current Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI)

Highlights the Role of Certifying Boards in Quality Measurement &


Jan 25, 2008, 00:00 ET from American Board of Internal Medicine

    PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recognizing that PQRI
 - Medicare's new program for rewarding physicians based on performance -
 needs to be improved, the Senate Finance Committee has issued
 recommendations to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to
 include alternatives for measuring and reporting performance, including
 "registry-based" methods that are a part of the specialty certifying boards
 voluntary assessment programs. If implemented correctly, these alternative
 approaches would reduce reporting redundancy and accelerate physician
 quality improvement efforts, according to the American Board of Internal
 Medicine (ABIM).
     The recommendations were included in a letter from Senators Baucus and
 Grassley to CMS and were in response to the recent Medicare legislation
 [MMSEA, section 101(b)(2)(B)] authorizing the Department of Health and
 Human Services to enhance the PQRI program by aligning Federal efforts with
 those of other quality leaders, including certifying boards, specialty
 societies, NQF and NCQA.
     "The Senate Finance Committee's recommendations could help sharpen the
 government's approach to improving quality while, through alignment, reduce
 the time and systems needed for physicians to meet the myriad reporting
 requirements they face from health plans, hospitals, and the government,"
 said Christine Cassel, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal
 Medicine. "This would leave more time for physicians to do what they do
 best - deliver care to America's patients."
     In their recommendations to CMS, Senators Baucus and Grassley highlight
 certifying board's expertise in quality measurement and argue that,
 "Physicians should be recognized and rewarded for registry-based reporting
 of performance data that combines information regarding Medicare, Medicaid,
 and other patients." They emphasize that many specialty-certifying boards
 programs could qualify as these registries.
     "Including Maintenance of Certification as part of physician quality
 reporting in Medicare would effectively align professional, payer and
 public sector measures - providing physicians who chose to pursue this
 pathway with a more efficient approach to measuring and improving their
 performance," added Cassel.
     At the individual physician's request, health plans and hospitals have
 already begun to use ABIM's Maintenance of Certification programs as
 markers of physician quality and include such programs in their
 reward/recognition efforts.
     The American Board of Internal Medicine requires physicians that were
 Board Certified after 1990 to maintain their certification every 10 years.
 The Maintenance of Certification program is based on guidelines established
 by the American Board of Medical Specialties and includes four components -
 verification of credentials, a knowledge exam in a physician's specialty
 area that assess diagnostic acumen and clinical judgment, knowledge modules
 that pose a series of questions for physicians to demonstrate they are
 keeping up with the latest developments in the field and a self evaluation
 of practice performance through data collection, reporting and assessment.
     About ABIM
     The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is an independent,
 not-for-profit organization that grants board certification - a marker of
 physician quality in the United States and internationally -- to internists
 and subspecialists. Certification is a rigorous, comprehensive program for
 evaluating physician knowledge, skills and attitudes to assure both
 patients and payers that a physician has achieved competence for practice
 in a given field. Individual physician certification results may be found

SOURCE American Board of Internal Medicine