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College leaders move on membership, technology

From the September ACP Observer, copyright © 2004 by the American College of Physicians.

At its July meeting, the Board of Regents approved several actions designed to expand College membership and boost advocacy for new information technology and quality initiatives.

Here are some issues the Regents addressed:

  • Recruiting new members. The Regents approved an ambitious set of objectives to increase College membership, especially among younger internists. The College will work to increase overall College membership by 2% a year to have 125,000 members—or 55% of the country's internal medicine population—by June 2008.

    The policy calls for recruiting and maintaining 25% of both the allopathic and osteopathic medical students as ACP Student Members by June 2008, as well as 75% of U.S. categorical internal medicine residents.

    According to Joel S. Levine, FACP, Chair of the Membership Committee, the College's recruitment and retention efforts will target younger physicians between the ages of 30 and 40. The plan emphasizes the College's goal of boosting membership among physicians who are women and ethnic minorities and international medical graduates.

  • Recertification. The Regents were informed that the board of directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) approved a proposal to allow substitution of MKSAP 13 for the general internal medicine knowledge self-evaluation process modules in the ABIM's maintenance of certification program.

    The MKSAP substitution component is set to begin in 2005 in conjunction with developing options for recertifying physicians to fulfill the evaluation of practice performance component of maintenance of certification. [See "College and ABIM outline ongoing evolution in recertification"]. The ABIM board also approved the development of a joint ABIM-ACP staff work group to explore approaches to modifying the closed-book secure examination.

  • Information technology and quality initiatives. The Board approved a policy that includes urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to evaluate a physician-directed, patient-centered care model among bidders for Medicare's upcoming chronic care initiative pilot project.

    The model would ensure that physicians retain all medical decision-making aided by decision support tools, such as the College's Physicians' Information and Education Resource (PIER). The three-year CMS pilot will test different care management programs for congestive heart failure, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with the goal of developing a permanent chronic care management model.

    The approved policy also includes supporting the goals of the CMS' Doctor's Office Quality-Information Technology (DOQ-IT) project. The four-state DOQ-IT demonstration project is designed to encourage small-to mid-sized practices to use information technology to collect performance data for quality improvement purposes. ACP will encourage College chapters to participate in the project and push for financial incentives for participating physicians.

    The Board also voted to join with the CMS and the American Academy of Family Physicians to create a quality-improvement partnership. The partnership would work to develop national quality goals to support practicing physicians.

  • PAC. The Regents were informed that ACP Services Inc.—a separate association created in 1998 to provide advocacy and practice management services to members—approved the Regents' request sent earlier this year to form a political action committee (PAC). The ACP Services Inc. PAC will enable internists to voluntarily contribute money to Congressional candidates who support the College's mission and goals. The ACP Services Inc. PAC has registered with the Federal Election Commission and is quickly creating the infrastructure necessary to conduct fund-raising activities.

  • CME credit for Annals. The Board also approved a proposal to develop a CME category 1 credit program for users of the Annals of Internal Medicine Web site. Editors will choose one article per issue to be available for CME credit, with one credit given per article. To receive the credit, readers will answer several multiple-choice questions online.

  • New College Ethics Manual. The Regents approved the fifth edition of the College's Ethics Manual, which was last updated in 1998. Major changes to the manual include expanded sections on professionalism, the physician-patient relationship, third-party evaluations, confidentiality, patient safety and the changing practice environment. The new manual has been submitted for publication.

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