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    Newsletter Winter 2013

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013  A Message from the President

    Shortly before the Thanksgiving Holiday, our staff that oversees Part IV activity in Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP), which has been designed to measure performance in practice, showed me a project utilizing one of our self-directed Part IV pathways. It was developed by one of our Diplomates currently deployed in Afghanistan, and I was so impressed with the project that I immediately emailed him to ask for permission to share this incredible effort with you in this issue of The Phoenix. He kindly granted me permission to do so. More... 

    The Winter 2013 edition of The Phoenix is now available.


    ABFM Board Chair-Elect Carlos Roberto Jaén, MD PhD Elected to Institute of Medicine

    Thursday, November 7, 2013  ABFM Board Chair-Elect Carlos Roberto Jaén, MD PhD was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in the class of 2013. Dr. Jaén is the Dr. and Mrs. James L. Holly Distinguished Professor and Chair of Family & Community Medicine at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He is a bi-cultural researcher and research ambassador to Latin America who advises US federal agencies developing health prevention projects for US Hispanic communities. Dr. Jaén also led the evaluation of the first national Patient-Centered Medical Home demonstration. He also continues to practice outpatient and inpatient medicine.

    The Institute of Medicine is unique in its structure as both an honorific membership organization and an advisory organization. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, IOM has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues. Fewer than 2000 physicians are elected members and just 70 US physicians are invited to join each year. The National Academy of Science was created by President Lincoln in 1863.


    ABMS Proposed Standards 2015 Public Commentary

    Thursday, October 10, 2013  The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) encourages Diplomates to comment on the recently revised standards proposed by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) for Maintenance of Certification (MOC). The ABMS is a not-for-profit organization of 24 medical specialty boards with shared goals and standards related to the certification of medical specialists. The ABFM is a member board of the ABMS. Therefore, if the proposed ABMS standards are adopted, ABFM’s Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) would need to comply with them.

    The ABMS recently launched its Public Comment Web Page to encourage feedback about the proposed standards for MOC, which would become effective in 2015. Diplomate feedback is valuable to ABMS, and physicians are encouraged to participate in the review process by providing their comments. The proposed standards, as well as a preface to the document that provides history and context to them, can be found at standardspubliccomments.abms.org. The comment period ends November 20, 2013.

    These proposed standards have been developed over the past two years, beginning with the 2012 MOC Framework document and continuing, during this past year, with an extensive process for the development of the newly proposed standards. These standards will provide an overarching framework for the 24 ABMS Member Boards in the development of their Programs for MOC while allowing flexibility for each Board to appropriately tailor its program to the specific needs of its specialty. To date, hundreds of individuals from the ABMS Member Boards Community, including the ABMS Board of Directors, Associate Member organizations, Diplomates and the public, have provided input into the development of these proposed standards.

    If the proposed standards are adopted, the American Board of Family Medicine does not foresee any significant changes to MC-FP as we are already in compliance with the proposed standards. Several other specialties may see significant changes.


    2013 Physician Quality Reporting System Available

    Wednesday, July 31, 2013  The ABFM is once again approved as a registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2013. Diplomates are able to participate at no cost in the PQRS registry online from their physician portfolio. The ABFM Physician Quality Reporting System Diabetes registry is now available. The deadline for data entry in the online activity is January 10, 2014.

    For the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System, physicians will only be required to provide 20 unique patients and only a majority (11) is required to be Medicare Part B beneficiaries. Physicians who meet the 2013 PQRS criteria for satisfactory submission of quality measures on 20 unique patients, of which at least 11 are Medicare Part B beneficiaries, are eligible to earn an incentive payment of 0.5% of their total allowed charges for Physician Fee schedule (PFS)-covered professional services furnished during the reporting period (January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013). CMS-approved financial incentives earned for 2013 reporting are scheduled to be paid in mid-2014 from the federal Supplementary Medical Insurance (Part B) Trust Fund. Again, the deadline to complete all necessary data entry for the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting is January 10, 2014.

    Any physician participating in the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting should pay close attention to three very important details. First, make absolutely certain the National Provider Identifier (NPI) and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) numbers provided are accurate and associated with each patient for whom the data is submitted. If the NPI and TIN numbers are not accurate, an incentive payment will not be provided. Second, make sure that at least 11 of the 20 patients included are patients covered under Medicare Part B. If the patient data provided included more than nine patients not covered under Medicare Part B, the physician will not receive the incentive payment. Third, the performance must be met and reported for at least one patient for each diabetes mellitus measure. These helpful tips are offered to improve the chances to be eligible to receive an incentive payment. Physicians can review other frequently asked questions on our website at https://www.theabfm.org/moc/pqrs.aspx.

    Diplomates also have the added opportunity to combine PQRS participation with their MC-FP activity. A Diplomate who successfully completes the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System reporting can continue the activity for MC-FP credit and CME credit by implementing a quality improvement plan along with a post-quality improvement data collection to complete the activity as a Performance in Practice Module (PPM).

    To access the PQRS Diabetes registry, log in to your Physician Portfolio under Spotlight Programs. If you have any questions about how to start taking advantage of the Physician Quality Reporting opportunity, please contact the ABFM Support Center at 877-223-7437 or at help@theabfm.org.


    Newsletter Summer 2013

    Monday, July 8, 2013  A Message from the President

    It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since we began the transition from our old recertifi cation paradigm to Maintenance of Certifi cation for Family Physicians (MC-FP). While the transition to MC-FP dramatically changed the way in which family physicians maintain their certifi cation, it also dramatically transformed the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). We moved from being an organization that primarily delivered an examination on the second Friday of July every year to an organization that has now developed multiple assessment tools to help family physicians deliver the highest quality of care to their patients. Instead of interacting with you once every seven years when you applied to sit for the recertifi cation examination, we now interact with you at least every three years, if not more regularly, as you meet your stage requirements for MC-FP. More... 

    The Summer 2013 edition of The Phoenix is now available.


    ABFM Partners to Launch Data Commons, LLC

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013  ABFM and other leading national physician education and assessment organizations announced today their partnership to launch the Data Commons, LLC. The Data Commons, an information-sharing company, is developing a system that could revolutionize the way in which researchers, policy makers, analysts, and other data users access and analyze data on physicians and other health care professionals.

    The core of this new system is a secure data hub that will allow multiple organizations to make available selected information from their individual databases. The ability to access data more efficiently, and the ability to combine data sets in new ways, will have a positive impact on research efforts.

    ABFM is pleased to play a fundamental role in this initiative that has the potential to advance scientific knowledge, enhance patient safety, and improve medical quality, all of which are essential to furthering ABFM’s mission to promote quality health care.

    To learn more, visit the Data Commons website at mydatacommons.org.


    Robert Graham Center, Georgetown University Name Policy Fellowship after Robert Phillips, MD

    Friday, January 11, 2013  The Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care and Georgetown University have renamed their premier research and clinical fellowship program to honor long-time Robert Graham Center director, Robert Phillips, MD, MSPH. Phillips served as director of the Robert Graham Center from 2004 to 2012, when he became vice president for research and policy at the American Board of Family Medicine.

    The Robert L. Phillips Jr. Health Policy Fellowship provides a one-year experience that combines scholarly research and clinical practice. Fellows collaborate with and contribute to local and national institutions that focus on public and health policy research, planning and implementation. The Graham Center and Georgetown University renamed the fellowship to honor Phillips for his leadership in research that made significant contributions to the nation’s health care policies.