Good diabetes monitoring brings docs recognition

You’re monitoring your diabetic patients closely, collecting outcomes data, and improving your practice. But will anybody notice — or care?

They will with the new Provider Recognition Program of the American Diabetes Association in Alexandria, VA, and National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in Washington, DC. The two organizations plan to publicize a list of exemplary physicians to employers, managed care organizations, and consumers.

To qualify for the recognition, physicians and groups of primary care providers must provide direct, continuing care for at least 35 diabetic patients over a 12-month period and submit data on 11 measures. The program includes random, on-site audits of the validity of data collection.

Physicians who meet the criteria set by the American Diabetes Association receive "recognition," while those who greatly exceed the criteria will receive "recognition with distinction."

"My hope is that both consumers and payers of health care will want to know which physicians have been recognized," says Richard Kahn, PhD, chief scientific and medical officer of the ADA.

This is the first time that the NCQA, an organization that accredits health plans, has co-sponsored an outcomes-related program geared toward physicians and group practices.

"There’s a dire need for information on the part of purchasers and consumers not only about health plan quality but about the quality of individual providers," says NCQA spokesman Barry Scholl. "We are not equipped to do all the important work that needs to be done to provide that kind of information. But we think that by supporting and endorsing the work of expert organizations like the ADA we can help to drive the creation of [such] programs."

Application materials for the program cost $65 and include a computer disk that can be used to submit data to the ADA. The completed application must be submitted with a $1,200 fee. Recognition is valid for three years.

[Editor’s note: For more information or to request application materials, contact the American Diabetes Association, 1660 Duke St. Alexandria, VA 22314. Telephone: (703) 549-1500, Ext. 2202. E-mail: prp@diabetes.org.]