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Regents approve recertification strategies, access plan

From the June ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright 2002 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

By Jason van Steenburgh

PHILADELPHIA—At its April meeting, the Board of Regents discussed recertification, approved positions on universal coverage and the nursing shortage, extended funding for the College's newest educational project for internists and developed guidelines to establish international chapters. Here is an overview of the Regents' actions:

  • Recertification. The Board of Regents approved a package of recertification resolutions sent by the Board of Governors that will expand the scope of negotiations between the College and the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).

    Among other things, those recommendations call for the College to endorse multiple pathways for recertification and to advocate for less onerous requirements for dual recertification. (For more on the approved recertification resolutions, see "College to expand recertification negotiations.")

    The Regents also approved a document from the College's Education Committee that defines the principles ACP-ASIM will use in ongoing discussions with the ABIM about recertification. The document explores the relationship between education and evaluation in internists' efforts to maintain competence.

  • Access. The Board approved a seven-year plan to establish affordable health insurance coverage for all Americans. The plan would expand existing health care programs to cover all people with incomes up to 200% of the poverty level. It would also establish a congressional advisory commission on universal coverage, develop uniform national income eligibility for Medicaid and give states freedom to establish alternate programs for universal coverage. (For more information, see "College unveils new seven-year plan to expand access.")

  • PIER. The Regents approved using almost $2 million from College reserves to fund the Physicians' Information and Education Resource (PIER) program in the coming fiscal year. This new College decision-support tool gives internists online access to evidence-based guidance that they can use at the point of care. (To use the product, go to http://pier.acponline.org/index.html.)

  • Nursing shortage. The Regents approved a position paper on the nursing shortage that recommends supporting staffing plans that ensure quality, but it does not mandate specific nurse-to-patient ratios. The paper also recommends providing proper compensation and reimbursement for nursing services, establishing tuition reimbursement and loan-repayment programs, and actively recruiting men, minorities and young people into the field.

  • Performance measures. The Regents approved recommendations designed to help internists cope with performance measures that organizations like health plans use to monitor physicians. The resolution recommends that the College educate members about the value of performance measurements and develop guidelines on the subject. The resolution also states that the College should coordinate the efforts of organizations like subspecialty groups that are involved in measuring physician performance.

  • The AMA. The Board reviewed a report from an advisory group examining the future role of the AMA. The Special Advisory Group Extraordinaire (SAGE) has recommended that the AMA function as an umbrella organization for organized medicine and coordinate activities like advocacy efforts to give medicine a stronger voice. The Regents forwarded the report to College leaders for further review.

  • Strategic planning. The Board approved strategic planning statements that identify threats and opportunities facing internal medicine and ACP-ASIM. The College's Strategic Planning Committee identified several opportunities, such as increasing medical students' interest in internal medicine, helping internists meet appropriate recertification requirements, boosting internists' career satisfaction and advocating for universal health coverage.

  • International chapters. To encourage more international participation in the College, the Regents approved guidelines on establishing College chapters outside of the Americas. The Board also approved a financial impact statement that calls on the College to support establishing a chapter in Japan.

  • New award. The Regents agreed to establish the Alvan R. Feinstein Memorial Award. The biennial award will honor an American physician for making a major contribution to the science of patient care in clinical epidemiology.

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