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College briefs

From the March ACP Observer, copyright 2006 by the American College of Physicians.

CPI now accepting practice applications

The College's Center for Practice Innovation (CPI) is now accepting applications for practices to participate in its premier project.

The CPI will select between 25 and 50 small- and medium-sized practices from among the applicants to participate. The project will offer customized support and resources to test innovative approaches to practice redesign.

Innovations will focus on four priority areas: clinical quality improvement, practice management, physician education and patient safety/disease management. Participants will be chosen to represent diverse practice settings, size, stage of technology implementation, and patient and payer mix. Applicants will be chosen over the next two months.

The center has posted an online application as well as additional information. The first 100 practices to complete the online application will receive a $50 honorarium. Practices that would like a paper-based application should contact the CPI via e-mail.

Additional funding will permit the Center to expand operations so practices not selected in this first phase will be considered for future projects.

For more information, see "Help is on the way for small physician practices" in the January-February ACP Observer.

Coming soon: ACP member survey

The College is gearing up to send out its fourth annual "ACP Member Survey" to randomly selected ACP members.

The survey will be mailed to about 2,000 physicians in late March and early April. Physicians selected to receive the survey are a representative sample of ACP members in terms of age, specialty and geographic location.

The College depends on survey results to learn key information about College members, including:

  • physicians' business and advocacy needs;

  • the size and structure of member practices, to help guide advocacy and practice management resources;

  • members' use of College products, to steer product development; and

  • physicians' use of information technology.

For more information, contact ACP's Office of Research, Planning and Evaluation at 800-523-1546, ext. 2830.

Practices wanted for geriatric redesign pilot

In partnership with the RAND Corp., ACP is seeking medical groups willing to participate in a pilot project to test management strategies of selected conditions in geriatric patients.

The project will test different interventions in managing incontinence, falls and heart failure. Participating physicians will receive training from project staff in identifying and managing patients with these conditions, as well as educational materials. The project will begin this spring and continue for two years.

"It is exceedingly difficult for doctors to manage the multiple chronic problems of older persons within the current time constraints of an office visit," said David B. Reuben, FACP, director of the geriatrics program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). "This program is aimed at reorganizing practice to make it smarter and more efficient, so geriatric conditions can be comprehensively addressed without adding to the length of the office visit."

Dr. Reuben, who is currently the president of the American Geriatrics Society, is one of the project's three clinical leaders, along with William J. Hall, MACP, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, N.Y., and Neil Wenger, ACP Member, who is also at UCLA.

Practices must have at least three or more physicians willing to participate as well as a significant portion of their patient population age 75 or older, and be able to designate one non-MD to act as quality coordinator and interact with project staff. Prior experience with ACPNet data submission is helpful but not required.

For more information, contact Kyle Bartlett, PhD, Grant Administrator, at 800-523-1546, ext. 2838, or 215-351-2838.

ACP seeks nominations for awards, Masterships

The ACP Awards Committee invites you to help identify deserving individuals for the College's awards and Masterships.

Each year, the College bestows 18 awards and a number of Masterships during the Convocation Ceremony at Annual Session. These awards recognize the accomplishments of distinguished individuals in a wide variety of areas, including the practice of medicine, teaching, research, and public and volunteer service.

Individuals may not self-nominate. For all awards and Masterships, each nominee must have a minimum of five detailed letters of nomination and support and a current CV before being considered by the Awards Committee. The College must receive all materials by July 1. Nominations are invited for the 2006-07 awards cycle. New Masters and awardees will be honored at Annual Session 2007 in San Diego.

The "Awards and Mastership Booklet" contains criteria for College awards and Masterships, as well as specific instructions for writing nominating and supporting letters.

The booklet is on the College's Web site. For additional information, contact Membership Services by e-mail or call 800-523-1546, ext. 2714, or direct at 215-351-2714.

College issues new hospital medicine recertification module

A new MKSAP recertification module dedicated entirely to hospital medicine is now available at no charge for MKSAP subscribers. The new module, based on content from MKSAP 13, is the fifth in the series of electronic knowledge self-evaluation modules that MKSAP subscribers can download at no charge.

According to ABIM rules, recertification candidates must earn 100 self-evaluation points, including at least 20 knowledge self-evaluation points and at least 20 practice improvement self-evaluation points.

The other 60 points are optional and can be obtained in either the knowledge or practice improvement category. Up to 80 knowledge self-evaluation points can be earned by using any four of the five MKSAP modules, each of which counts for 20 knowledge self-evaluation points.

All five recertification modules are available on ACP Online.

Governors seek member comments on resolutions

The Board of Governors is seeking feedback from ACP members on 19 resolutions that will be discussed at the spring 2006 Board of Governors meeting in April. Comments must be received by March 17, 2006.

The resolutions cover a wide range of issues, including teaching professionalism in medical schools and residencies, promoting legislation to allow retired physicians to volunteer with no threat from medical malpractice litigation, and developing policy to support funding for cognitive and case management services.

The complete text of each resolution is online. Members can provide feedback via an easy-to-use online response form.

All comments will be forwarded to the appropriate ACP Governor to use as part of their testimony at the meeting. ACP's resolution process allows chapters to bring issues before the Board of Governors as resolutions.

If approved, the resolution is forwarded to the Board of Regents for review and action.

New HIV patient education video now free to members

ACP has just released the "Living Life to the Fullest: A Guide for HIV Positive African Americans" patient education video, free to College members.

The video, featuring actress Veronica Webb and Super Bowl football champion Spencer Tillman, discusses how HIV positive African Americans can live longer and more rewarding lives. The video explains what HIV is and gives recommendations on how to prevent the spread of the disease, as well as tips for how those living with the disease can maximize their quality of life.

Members can order the free DVD and accompanying guidebook (a shipping and handling fee will apply) online or by contacting ACP Customer Service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600. Use product code 700450020.

College issues FAQs on 2006 payment and claims process

ACP has posted replies to a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the initial 2006 fee reduction in physician payments and the return to 2005 payment levels.

The new ACP guidance is based on information released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Highlights of the new information include:

  • Physicians do not have to resubmit claims made while the 4.4% pay cuts were in effect. The CMS has said it would reprocess all 2006 claims that were submitted before new legislation was passed.

  • The agency will pay the difference between the reduced fee schedule and the one based on 2005 rates no later than July 1, 2006.

  • Most Medigap plans and some secondary insurers will also make automatic adjustments, although physicians may have to resubmit some claims to secondary insurers.

  • The CMS plans to offer physicians an additional enrollment period to allow them to reconsider their Medicare participation. That extended period will last 45 days and will begin as soon as the legislation is enacted.

The FAQ list is online.

Wanted: clinical skills, medical informatics proposals for Annual Session 2007

Two College subcommittees are accepting proposals for interactive skills workshops to be presented at Annual Session 2007. Annual Session 2007 will be held in San Diego, April 19-21, 2007.

The College's Clinical Skills Subcommittee is seeking interactive workshops designed to help physicians acquire or improve skills in physical examination, communication or specific procedures. Workshops should have a high likelihood of changing physician behavior using proven teaching techniques or new and innovative teaching strategies that have yet to be tested.

ACP's Medical Informatics Subcommittee is also seeking proposals, particularly for workshops that focus on the use of technology and computer applications in patient care and practice management.

Workshops should encourage use of technology and computer applications that have been shown to improve quality of care, patient safety and practice management efficiency.

Proposal forms are available online. The deadline for the Clinical Skills Subcommittee workshop proposal is April 1 and the deadline for Medical Informatics is May 1.

College Regent and Officer nominations due Aug. 1

As part of the College's ongoing effort to include ACP members in the nominations process, the 2006-07 Nominations Committee solicits your recommendations to fill new Board of Regents positions that will become vacant in 2007.

The Nominations Committee is particularity interested in receiving nominations of women, ethnic minorities, international medical graduates, chairs of medicine and practicing physicians. Regent nominees must be ACP Fellows or Masters. The committee will give all nominations careful consideration.

When considering potential candidates, please keep in mind such qualifications as commitment to the College, dependability, leadership abilities and the facility to represent the College in diverse arenas. If you choose to nominate an individual, your letter of nomination should highlight these characteristics and should specify the reasons you feel your nominee is qualified for the position.

You must use a standard, structured nominating proposal when submitting a nomination for a first-term Regent. The letter of nomination, which is required, should include:

  • a brief description of the nominee's current activities;

  • special attributes the candidate would bring to the Board;

  • current and previous service in College-related activities; and

  • service in medical and non-medical organizations other than ACP.

A seconding letter must be submitted for each nomination. Without the appropriate material, the nomination will not be advanced for review.

Regent candidates are required to have one letter of nomination and one letter of support (the author of which will be identified by the nominator). Officer and Regent candidates must have new letters of nomination and support each year, as the old letters are discarded. If candidates receive more than two letters (nomination and support), these additional letters will be discarded.

Please send your confidential nominations no later than Aug. 1 to: Nominations Committee, attn. Pat Carter, ACP, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1572. You can e-mail questions to Pat Carter or call toll free 800-523-1546, ext. 2815, or direct at 215-351-2815.

New free ACP video helps asthma patients

ACP has just released "Living with asthma: A guide for African American families," the newest in its collection of patient education DVDs and videos. The free DVD and accompanying handbook help educate patients on how to manage asthma and prevent complications.

The DVD features Olympic gold medalists Vonetta Flowers of the U.S. bobsled team and basketball star Sheryl Swoopes, and helps patients discover asthma triggers, prevent breathing problems and understand asthma medications.

Members can order the free DVD and guidebook (a shipping and handling fee applies) online or by contacting ACP Customer Service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600 (product code 700460010).

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