Being an ABMS Portfolio Program Sponsor is a Value-added Benefit to Physicians, Community

By: Christopher Bell, MS, MBA, Executive Director of the Monroe County Medical Society on September 9, 2019

In September 2017, the Monroe County Medical Society (MCMS) was approved as an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Portfolio Program® Sponsor, the only county medical society in the United States to receive this designation.

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We wanted to participate in the Portfolio Program because it is a natural extension of our guideline implementation work that is spearheaded by our Quality Collaborative. Formally established in 2006, the Collaborative promotes the implementation of high-quality health care in a seven-county area. The Collaborative has 30 members, the majority of which are physicians representing multiple specialties, community health partners, and insurers. It serves as a unified, objective, clear, consistent physician voice advocating for quality improvement/performance improvement (QI/PI) by:

  • providing physicians with information, education, and tools to help them continue to provide evidence-based medicine;
  • developing and assisting in the implementation of community clinical guidelines and best practices;
  • assisting in the implementation of data-driven, outcome-oriented QI initiatives; and
  • working collaboratively with other community partners focused on addressing QI and health care disparities.

Physicians periodically asked about receiving continuing certification credit for participating in MCMS-led QI/PI projects, so becoming an ABMS Portfolio Program Sponsor was a way for us to offer a value-added benefit to our members and the community. We also offer our certified physician assistants continuing medical education credit for participating in QI/PI initiatives through the ABMS Portfolio Program’s agreement with the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Currently, we are providing Improvement in Medical Practice (IMP) credit to physicians participating in two QI/PI projects: improving asthma management in children and improving the identification and treatment of adults with major depressive disorder in the primary care setting. For both these initiatives, which started in January 2018 and will run through December 2019, MCMS reports and reviews the quarterly results. There are 20 practices with 90 physicians participating in the asthma management initiative. Approximately 140 physicians comprising 47 practices under one system are engaged in the major depressive disorder initiative. For the asthma project, we have seen a reduction in the number of unspecified asthma diagnoses and increases in both flu vaccination rates and the generation of asthma action plans. We are currently reviewing additional QI/PI projects for which physicians can obtain IMP credit in 2020.

After becoming an ABMS Portfolio Program Sponsor, we were approached about offering IMP credits to board certified physician panels at two external organizations. One such QI project focused on improving human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates among adolescents in New York State. Eight pediatric practices (41 providers) participated in the one-year QI initiative that included receiving provider-focused educational materials regarding the importance of HPV vaccine and cancer prevention, strategies for delivering a strong vaccine recommendation, evidence-based interventions to improve vaccination rates, and cancer prevention booklets for their teen patients. Each practice reviewed their HPV vaccine initiation and completion rates, for 11- and 12-year-olds and 13- to 18-year-olds, before the start of the initiative, then six months and 12 months after the interventions were implemented. Increases in practice-specific HPV vaccine series initiation and completion rates were as high as 25 percent and 11 percent, respectively, for the 11- and 12-year-old cohort. For the 13- to 18-year-old cohort, seven of the eight practices showed increases in HPV vaccine initiation and completion rates, with practice specific increases as high as five percent.

Being an ABMS Portfolio Program Sponsor has been well received by our physicians; it is definitely viewed as a value-added membership benefit. They are pleased to be earning IMP credit for their QI/PI efforts. And we are pleased to continue offering it to the physicians within our community and greater New York.

© 2019, American Board of Medical Specialties.

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