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
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
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.
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