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New Certification for Doctors in Diabetes Care by NCQA
Posted: Friday, March 11, 2005
Any American Board of Internal Medicine diplomate who completes the practice improvement module for diabetes will be able to simultaneously renew his or her ABIM certification, and seek recognition from NCQA's Diabetes Physician Recognition Program, under the terms of a new agreement reached by both organizations. The program was developed in partnership with the American Diabetes Association.
NCQA's recognition program for diabetes care “requires physicians to do analyses of patients with diabetes—what percentage of them are getting hemoglobin A1c, and getting screened and controlled for that condition, or how many have had their annual eye exam,” Mr. Schilling said.
Like practice improvement modules—ABIM's self-evaluation tools for use in maintenance of board certification—the new program seeks to identify physicians who consistently provide high-quality care in certain areas, and/or who have adopted information support systems that help ensure proper care.
The strategy of aligning requirements and sharing data is “a simple way for us to reduce [the] burden for physicians and add value,” Daniel Duffy, M.D., ABIM's executive vice president, said in a statement.
With pay for performance looming large on the horizon, NCQA recognition would enable physicians to qualify for many national and regional physician quality incentive initiatives, Mr. Schilling said.
The NCQA/ABIM effort is voluntary, he noted, but should the certificates become more of a requirement, “we'll need to make sure that they don't add to the economic hassles and burdens to physicians—and make practicing primary care more difficult.”
Under the new joint application process for diabetes, internists would fill out the same set of clinical practice indicators they've always had to fill out for maintenance of certification, Mr. Schilling said. Those interested in NCQA recognition would click on a box on the ABIM's Web site, indicating that the board could share their data with the NCQA, Mr. Schilling said.
“Those who click ‘yes’ would have to add 10 more records than what the ABIM would require,” Mr. Schilling said. These records might include information on HbA1c or the rate of eye exams. The information would be evaluated to see if it met the threshold for the NCQA program. Physicians would probably get a letter in the mail in about 6 weeks, indicating whether they qualified for the program.
This is the first joint certification program of its kind, although the long-term goal is to work with other specialties, as they move toward fulfilling the American Board of Medical Specialties' requirements for maintenance of certification, Mr. Schilling said.
Source: Diabetes In Control.com.
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