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Four National Health Care Organizations to Use American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Board Certification Tools in Their Physician Recognition Program

The majority of insured Americans now receive coverage from health insurance plans that recognize or reward physicians for measuring quality of care through board certification.

Philadelphia, PA, August 7, 2007 – The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) today announced that four national health care organizations are using its Maintenance of Certification program tools to recognize and/or reward quality care. Putting performance assessment and continuous quality improvement front and center in their programs, these organizations – the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, CIGNA HealthCare, Humana and Wellpoint, Inc. – will incorporate ABIM's Maintenance of Certification tools into their quality recognition programs. Since March 2006, 12 insurers across the country have demonstrated this commitment to physician quality improvement, which ultimately could lead to enhanced care for the more than 135 million Americans they collectively cover.

Internists enrolled in ABIM's Maintenance of Certification program who regularly complete a PIM (Practice Improvement Module) can participate in the programs offered by contracted health plans with which they participate. ABIM's PIM is a Web-based quality improvement tool that allows physicians to analyze and evaluate their performance in practice in order to improve the quality of patient care they provide. Physicians can voluntarily authorize ABIM to send verification of their completed PIMs to participating health plans with which they contract, thereby avoiding the administrative burden traditionally associated with satisfying multiple requests for data collection and reporting.

Physicians participating in programs offered by these four national organizations will receive special recognition in the plans' and Association's provider directories, demonstrating to patients and other stakeholders that they are committed to quality care. Specifics vary by organization; more information about each program can be found at: www.abim.org/maintenance-of-certification/earning-points/.

"Increasingly, private payers committed to improving health care quality are recognizing the value of Maintenance of Certification and measurement of practice performance," said Carolyn Clancy, MD, Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Co-chair of the AQA Alliance. "Physician engagement and professional leadership are critical to quality improvement, and I commend the work that ABIM and the participating health care organizations are doing to enhance the quality of health care across the country."

"These organizations understand that ABIM's PIMs offer an effective way to engage physicians in quality improvement," said Christine Cassel, MD, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine. "And by recognizing physicians who are participating in Maintenance of Certification and who have completed a PIM, we together reduce duplicative physician data collection and reporting."

ABIM is also working with Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Health Alliance Plan, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and Tennessee, to recognize and reward quality care.

About ABIM
For more than 75 years, certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has stood for the highest standard in internal medicine and its 20 subspecialties and has meant that internists have demonstrated – to their peers and to the public – that they have the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for the delivery of excellent patient care. ABIM is not a membership society, but a non-profit, independent evaluation organization. Our accountability is both to the profession of medicine and to the public. ABIM is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties. For additional updates, follow ABIM on Facebook and Twitter.