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    Sam Savvy Virtual Booth

    Friday, December 19, 2008  Recently, the ABFM began conducting a "virtual booth" via webinar and teleconference to help Diplomates with their MC-FP progress. This webinar activity was based on the popular Sam Savvy booth conducted every year at the AAFP's Scientific Assembly. The webinars have been very successful thus far, and the ABFM looks forward to conducting more of these sessions in the future.

    For anyone interested in viewing the recorded webinars:

    December 9, 2008 Virtual Sam Savvy webinar
    Please note: This recording was started approximately 5 minutes before the actual beginning of the webinar. You will need to move the slider bar to the 5 minute point to see the actual beginning of the webinar.

    December 16, 2008 Virtual Sam Savvy webinar


    The ABFM Gains Approval as a Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) Registry and Launches on September 4, 2008

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its approval today of the ABFM Performance in Practice Registry as one of 32 qualified registries that may submit PQRI data to CMS on behalf of its Diplomates. The Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (MMSEA) authorizes CMS to make PQRI incentive payments for satisfactory reporting of quality measures data in 2008. It also establishes alternative reporting periods and criteria for the reporting of measure groups and for the reporting of PQRI quality measures through an approved clinical data registry.

    As of September 4, 2008, ABFM Diplomates may use the Diabetes Module developed specifically for this purpose by the ABFM to collect and submit data to the Registry on a set of either 30 or 15 consecutive patients with either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes. Not all patients in these samples must be Medicare patients, but at least two Medicare Part B beneficiaries must be included in the Diplomate's sample.

    For 2008, physicians who meet the criteria for satisfactory submission of quality measures data for 30 consecutive patients will earn an incentive payment of 1.5 percent of their total allowed charges for Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) covered professional services furnished during the reporting period, January 1, 2008 – December 31, 2008 (the 2008 calendar year). Alternatively, those physicians who meet the criteria for satisfactory submission of quality measures data for 15 consecutive patients will earn an incentive payment of 1.5 percent of their total allowed charges for PFS covered professional services furnished during the reporting period, July 1, 2008 – December 31, 2008. CMS approved financial incentives earned for 2008 reporting are scheduled to be paid in mid-2009 from the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance (Part B) Trust Fund.

    This module may be accessed without fee for use in participating in PQRI. However, Diplomates who are participating in MC-FP and elect to complete this module to receive Part IV credit will be required to submit the appropriate MC-FP process fee.

    The ABFM PQRI Diabetes Module is simple and user-friendly. First, Diplomates complete the attestation form giving the ABFM permission to transmit their data to CMS. Both your National Physician Identifier (NPI) number and your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) will be required. It is important that Diplomates provide their individual NPI to the ABFM as well as the TIN which is used to receive Medicare reimbursement. Depending on circumstances, this may be either an individual TIN or the TIN that has been assigned to the Diplomate's medical group or corporation. It is important that the correct information is supplied by the Diplomate since CMS will use these two numbers to process the incentive payment. Incorrect numbers may result in a delay of this reimbursement.

    Diplomates then download the printable data collection templates and insert data from either 30 or 15 CONSECUTIVE patients between the ages of 18 and 75 with a diagnosis of Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes at the time of their visit. This can be done prospectively, filling in information from patients that are seen for the remainder of calendar year 2008; or alternatively, Diplomates who have an electronic health record system can pull up any 15 or 30 consecutive patients (by date of visit) seen in calendar year 2008 and complete the data templates by retrospective chart audit. It is important to emphasize that whatever methodology is used, the patients must have been seen consecutively by date of service. Do not exclude from data collection any diabetic patient who was seen between the date of service of the first patient and the date of service of the last patient. After collecting the requisite number of patients, a Diplomate will log back on to our website and enter the data into the module from the templates. Submit the data to the ABFM as soon as available, but in no event later than January 10, 2009.

    Save the templates! Approximately 3% of the Registry's participants will be audited, so it is important that the completed data collection templates are maintained by the Diplomate. Since the ABFM will be sent de-identified data, these templates provide the only link between the data sent to the ABFM and the patients that have been seen, which must be verified if you are randomly chosen to be audited.

    The ABFM will forward this data to CMS early in 2009. If a Diplomate is currently participating in Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP), that Diplomate may elect to continue with this module to receive Part IV credit for the current MC-FP Stage if a Performance in Practice Module (PPM) or an approved Part IV alternative activity has not already been completed for that Stage.

    Diplomates who wish to continue the Diabetes PQRI module for MC-FP credit should then proceed to the quality improvement "wizard" and select one quality indicator around which to develop a quality improvement plan. Using the wizard, Diplomates develop and submit the plan. Approximately 3 months after implementing the plan within the office, the ABFM will send an email reminding the Diplomate that it is time to collect data using the same methodology described above to determine the impact of the quality improvement plan on the care that has been delivered to patients.

    This exciting new initiative will be available through the ABFM beginning September 4, 2008. For questions regarding PQRI, MC-FP status, or for help with logging in to the Physician Portfolio, call the ABFM Support Center at 877-223-7437 or email at help@theabfm.org


    Methods in Medicine Module Now Available Online

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008  The ABFM is pleased to announce the launch of the Methods in Medicine Module (MIMM) as a new selection for an MC-FP Part IV activity. Roughly 20% of ABFM Diplomates practice in environments in which they do not have access to a continuity practice that they can utilize for MC-FP Part IV. MIMMs provide a Part IV alternative for Diplomates in these professional roles. The first MIMM is based on posing well-focused clinical questions for use in accessing online information sources (such as PubMed, UpToDate, or Dynamed). The MIMM poses 10 clinical scenarios in adult medicine, child health, and women's care, each of which raises several different types of clinical questions (e.g. questions of best test to use, best treatment, etc.). A Diplomate chooses 5 scenarios to read and for which to formulate clinical questions. Using the Medical Question Answering Framework developed by Dr. Jeff Wedgwood at the University of Washington, the system will then reformulate the question in a well-focused format. The Diplomate can then choose a particular question type for which she would like to improve her question-formulating skills and undertake an improvement process using Web-based resources. Upon completing the improvement activity, she then repeats the scenario activity.

    The MIMM is designed to mirror the process of pre-intervention audit, the conduct of a quality improvement activity, and the post-intervention audit used in the other Part IV activities. The ABFM plans to create additional MIMMs in areas such as critical appraisal of the literature and cultural competency.


    ABMS Patient Safety Improvement Program Accepted for MC-FP Credit

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008  The ABFM is pleased to announce that it is now accepting the ABMS Patient Safety Improvement Program as an approved alternative Part IV activity for Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP).

    With a robust curriculum and performance improvement activities, the web-based ABMS Patient Safety Improvement Program provides a self-paced educational experience which is broadly applicable across medical disciplines and clinical settings. It is presented in these areas:

    • scenarios that illustrate common errors and the complex systems involved
    • patient safety curriculum in four broad categories
    • quality improvement fundamentals to apply methods and techniques to clinical environments
    • patient safety improvement activities that introduce changes that can be incorporated into practice

    This alternative Part IV activity is also suitable for the Diplomate who is not clinically active or who practices in a setting in which care is not delivered to patients in continuity.

    Diplomates can access the Patient Safety Improvement Program through the ABFM website or at www.healthstream.com/hlc/abfm/ Diplomates will be asked to log in and pay a fee of $55 dollars to HealthStream, the organization which delivers the module for ABMS. You will also be required to provide your ABFM ID# to HealthStream in order for the ABFM to confirm your completion of the Patient Safety Improvement Program. Once you've provided HealthStream with your ABFM ID#, the ABFM will access your records with HealthStream and award the appropriate MC-FP credit for completing the Patient Safety Improvement Program as long as ABFM MC-FP fees are current.


    MC-FP: Second Cohort on Path to 3-Year Extension

    Thursday, April 24, 2008  The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is pleased to announce that more than 9000 of the Diplomates who certified or recertified in 2004 successfully met the deadline to complete their Stage One requirements for Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP). By completing these requirements, these Diplomates are eligible to remain on track for the three-year extension of their current certificate, creating a 10-year certificate. The 2004 Diplomates are the second group to complete Stage One, almost matching the number of 2003 Diplomates who successfully completed Stage One the previous year. Of the 2004 Diplomates, 80% have successfully completed Stage One requirements, compared to 81% of 2003 Diplomates who successfully completed Stage One requirements.

    The first three-year stage of the MC-FP process requires completing either three Part II Modules (SAMs), or two Part II Modules and one Part IV Module (PPM or approved alternate). The ABFM recently announced that all participants who begin MC-FP during 2004-2010 will have the choice of completing two Part II modules and one Part IV module or three Part II modules to fulfill Stage One requirements.

    Stage Two and Stage Three both require the completion of two Part II Modules (SAMs) and one Part IV Module (PPM or approved alternate). The 2004 group must successfully complete Stage Two requirements by December 31, 2010, after which Diplomates will earn the 3-year extension to their 7-year certificate. These requirements may be completed anytime prior to the deadline, and the ABFM website will immediately indicate the 3-year extension; however, the 10-year certificate will not be mailed to the Diplomates until the end of Stage Two (December 31, 2010).

    MC-FP consists of four elements, each designed to assess four important physician characteristics: professionalism (Part I), self-assessment and lifelong learning (Part II), cognitive expertise (Part III), and performance in practice (Part IV). The requirements for each of the three 3-year Stages, as explained above, fulfill Part II and Part IV of MC-FP. Professionalism (Part I) requires a currently valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada. Cognitive Expertise (Part III) involves the successful completion of a cognitive examination.

    After a Diplomate has entered MC-FP, all components must be completed to be eligible to sit for the examination. Failure to pass the cognitive examination by the end of the MC-FP cycle results in the loss of certification. To begin MC-FP or to keep track of MC-FP progress, login to the Track Your Progress section. The ABFM has updated its website to reflect the 7-year or 10-year track chosen by the Diplomate.


    Two New SAMs Topics Now Available Online

    Thursday, February 7, 2008  The ABFM is pleased to announce the implementation of two new Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs), Maternity Care and Health Behavior, which are now available online. A SAM consists of the 60-question Knowledge Assessment and the Clinical Simulation. The ABFM plans to launch two new SAMs each year, with Childhood Illness and Care of the Vulnerable Elderly expected in 2009. To view available SAM health topics, log in to the Track Your Progress page and select Begin a Part II Module.


    More Flexibility for MC-FP Participants

    Thursday, January 31, 2008  The ABFM is continuing its efforts to make the transition to the 'new' Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) as straightforward as possible for all Diplomates. The opportunity to gain a 3-year extension to the certificate has been welcomed by the overwhelming majority of MC-FP participants, as well as the continuous upgrades to the software and processes (many of which can be directly traced to Diplomate feedback).

    With the goal of maintaining consistency for all Diplomates, the ABFM announces the following change to the current MC-FP requirements:

    • To fulfill Stage One requirements, all participants who begin MC-FP during the period from 2004-2010 will have the choice of completing two Part II modules and one Part IV module OR Three Part II modules

    This is a change to the original requirement of two Part II modules and one Part IV module for Stage One. The ABFM Board of Directors decided that all Diplomates should be allowed the opportunity to follow the same rules, and that the options available to the first two groups of Diplomates who began MC-FP in 2004 and 2005 should be fairly applied to all Diplomates regardless of year of certification or recertification. This option will allow for more flexibility for participants in Stage One and help ease Diplomates into the MC-FP process during the initial 7-year transition from the traditional recertification process.

    Click here for more information regarding MC-FP requirements. If you have any questions regarding this change or your MC-FP status, please call the ABFM Support Center at 877-223-7437.


    ABFM Names Michael D. Hagen, MD as Senior Vice President

    Thursday, January 24, 2008  The American Board of Family Medicine is pleased to name Michael D. Hagen, MD as Senior Vice President. Dr. Hagen, who assumed his new role on January 1, 2008, served as Associate Executive Director from 2003-2004 and as Vice President for Assessment Methods Development since 2005. Dr. Hagen succeeds Joseph W. Tollison, MD, who retired in 2007 and will now serve as Special Advisor to the President of the ABFM.

    "Dr. Hagen is a perfect fit for this position," notes James C. Puffer, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the ABFM, "and brings vision, leadership and perspective which is entirely unique. In addition to his longstanding relationship with the Board, he was one of Dr. Nicholas Pisacano's [the Board's first Executive Director] original 'Nifty Nine' – nine of the brightest young family physicians that Dr. Pisacano could find to help him shape the future of the certification of family physicians. We are extremely fortunate to have Mike accept this pivotal position."

    Dr. Hagen attended college at Denison University and medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After completing his family medicine residency at Missouri, he practiced with two of his residency partners for several years in rural southwest Missouri. In 1981, Dr. Hagen joined the faculty in the University of Kentucky Department of Family and Community Medicine, where he served multiple roles. In 1987, he took a leave of absence from Kentucky to complete a two year National Library of Medicine fellowship in Medical Informatics. Upon his return, Dr. Hagen served several years as Department Chair and Associate Chair at Kentucky. He was elected in 1991 to a five year term on the Board of Directors of the (then) American Board of Family Practice, on which he served as President from 1995-1996. Upon completion of his term, he assumed directorship of the developing Computer-based Assessment System project (now called ClinSim) for the ABFM on a part-time basis. Dr. Hagen assumed this position full-time in 1998. He has continued teaching part-time in the residency at Kentucky, and continues to hold the rank of Professor.

    Dr. Hagen has been involved with test development at the Board since 1984, and, although the ClinSim project represents his main responsibility, he has had substantial involvement with all components of ABFM's Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) process.

    "I can't hope to fill the shoes of the giants (Paul Young, Robert Avant, and Joe Tollison) who've held this position before me; I can only hope to promote the mission of the Board with the same sincerity and dedication that they demonstrated," said Dr. Hagen.