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Patient Charter Ensures that Reports on Physicians are Meaningful, Reliable, and Fair

PHILADELPHIA, April 1, 2008 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) has joined other leading medical, consumer, labor, and employer organizations to endorse the Patient Charter for Physician Performance Measurement, Reporting and Tiering Programs. These organizations believe that health plans that evaluate, rate, and report physician performance to consumers should be independently assessed. The review and standardization of such programs, coupled with full public disclosure of performance results, will promote consistency, efficiency, and fairness and make physician performance information more accessible and easier for consumers to understand.

“The ACP and its members are deeply committed to improving the quality of health care. The Patient Charter is an important step for patients, health care organizations, and physicians to have reliable information to evaluate quality and performance,” says David C. Dale, MD, FACP, president, American College of Physicians. “By agreeing to an independent audit, health plans are providing assurances that their programs for rating physicians are fair and valid and giving patients trustworthy information about their doctors.”

The Patient Charter includes four primary criteria for physician performance measurement, reporting, and tiering programs:

  • Measures should be meaningful to consumers and reflect the importance of patient-centered care.

  • Physicians and physician organizations should have input to these programs and the methods used to stratify performance. They should also have access to the information collected and given notice before individual information is released.

  • Measures and methodology should be transparent, valid, accessible, and understandable by consumers, physicians, and other clinicians.

  • Measures should be based on national standards, primarily standards endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF). Standards from other groups and organization may be used, but they will be replaced by NQF standards when available.

ACP believes that the new Patient Charter will promote the consistency, efficiency, and fairness in the provision of health care and make valid and meaningful physician information more accessible and easier for patients to understand. ACP expects that the adoption of the Patient Charter will encourage improvements in the quality and efficiency of care provided to patients.

For more information, visit the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project Web site.

In addition to the Patient Charter, ACP is actively involved in the national performance measurement movement through involvement in the National Quality Forum (NQF), the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement, and the AQA (formerly the Ambulatory Care Quality Alliance).

The American College of Physicians (www.acponline.org) is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 125,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults.

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