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American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) to Recognize CMS Physician Voluntary Reporting Program Measures

Board Certified Internists Who Receive Feedback from CMS Can Get Credit from ABIM as Well

Philadelphia, PA, March 16, 2006 - In an effort to reduce the burden faced by internists challenged to measure and report performance data, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and American College of Physicians (ACP) announced today that ABIM will allow internists and subspecialists in internal medicine who are enrolled in ABIM's Maintenance of Certification program to use performance data, provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) through its Physician Voluntary Reporting Program (PVRP), to receive credit toward meeting ABIM's requirement for "self-assessment of practice performance." Linking the PVRP to ABIM's recertification program offers internists across the country an option that should reduce the measurement burden that they face. At the same time, it will create a context for the CMS PVRP data that should accelerate improvement and lead to better outcomes for Medicare enrollees.

ABIM's Maintenance of Certification program requires that internists and subspecialists measure important aspects of their practice performance. Diplomates (ABIM Certificate holders) typically do this by entering clinical data abstracted from medical records into an ABIM Practice Improvement Module (PIM), which guides them through a process of analysis and improvement planning that includes evaluation of practice systems. ABIM's Self-Directed Practice Improvement Module (PIM) allows diplomates to enter clinical results provided by CMS to help them improve areas in which CMS feedback indicates opportunity for improvement. This eliminates the need for physicians to review medical records-and assures that physicians link those results to the process of quality improvement. Diplomates who complete the PIM receive credit toward their Maintenance of Certification requirement, as well as Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits.

"This arrangement reduces redundancy - it permits data to be collected once, but used for multiple purposes- and provides additional incentives beyond board certification for physicians to get involved in performance assessment," said Christine Cassel, MD, MACP, President and CEO of ABIM. "This is an important step not only toward aligning incentives, but to reducing the effort required of physicians when they respond to those incentives."

"Developing quality measures and standards is a dynamic process and requires significant input and support from health care providers," said CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan, MD, PhD. "The American Board of Internal Medicine's Practice Improvement Module creates a context for the PRVP feedback that should both encourage - and enable - physicians to use it more effectively to improve quality."

"ACP is pleased to see CMS and ABIM working together to increase the value and reduce the burden that internists face, as they respond to multiple requests for data that describe their practice results," said John Tooker, MD, MBA, FACP, CEO and Executive Vice President of the American College of Physicians. "The voluntary nature of the PVRP will allow physicians to pilot the use of their data to initiate quality improvement planning, work towards maintenance of certification, and prepare for the day that Medicare attaches financial incentives to those results."

ABIM offers a wide array of PIMs, relevant to physicians who practice general internal medicine and its many subspecialties. These PIMs are one element in ABIM's broad-based Maintenance of Certification program, a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of knowledge, diagnostic acumen, clinical judgment, and performance in internal medicine and its subspecialties.

About ABIM
The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that grants board certification -- a well accepted marker of physician quality -- 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 at www.abim.org.

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is the largest medical-specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 119,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, medical students, residents and fellows. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults, reflected in the organization's trademarked phrase "Doctors of Internal Medicine. Doctors for Adults."

Contact:
Lori Bookbinder, ABIM, (215) 606-4122, lbookbinder@abim.org

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