AMAP in Limbo; When Will Quality Really Catch Fire?

The AMA is evaluating how and whether to proceed with its physician accreditation program, which has been unable to gain attention from health plans and hospitals. Credentials verification and site reviews will be completed for physicians who have applied for AMAP certification, but no new applications are being accepted for now.

The goal was for AMAP to relieve health plans of duplicative credentialing processes; eventually, AMA hoped to create an infrastructure to allow comparisons of clinical quality. But AMAP has lured fewer than a dozen clients, prompting one AMA board member to question whether the issue of quality truly resonates.

Whether Americans are paying attention to so-called report cards is still an open question. A Society of Actuaries study concludes that managed care enrollees don't rely on HEDIS or other barometers of quality to choose health coverage. The society acknowledges, however, that the influence of other potentially important variables — such as family members' opinions of plans — on their selections, and the degree to which those variables overpower quality considerations, is not understood.