The National Committee for Quality Assurance has begun listing physicians who demonstrate high-quality care for patients with heart disease or stroke on a Web site patients can use to obtain referrals.
The Heart/Stroke Recognition Program, developed by the NCQA in conjunction with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, lists physicians and practices on the NCQA Web site.
The program, announced Tuesday, also will provide names of physicians to patients who call, says the NCQA, an accreditation group for health plans based in Washington, D.C. Health plan Web sites also will recognize the physicians, the NCQA says.
Through a pilot of the new program, 26 physicians and practices already have achieved HSRP recognition, according to the NCQA.
The committee says the new program is modeled after its Diabetes Physician Recognition Program (developed in conjunction with the American Diabetes Association), which has recognized more than 1,800 physicians since 1997.
The committee says that among DPRP-recognized physicians, the rate of patients with properly controlled cholesterol levels doubled from 37% in 1997 to 74% in 2002.
"Achieving this recognition is especially gratifying since it speaks to our focus on preventive health measures," says Roy Blank, M.D., of Monroe, N.C., who holds recognition in both DPRP and the new HSRC.
"The process has helped us to design comprehensive care programs for people who've either had a stroke or heart attack or are at high risk of a cardiovascular event," Blank adds in an NCQA release.
Physicians can participate in HSRP through an interactive survey that costs $450.
To earn HSRP recognition, NCQA says physicians need to submit the following data about their patients:
- blood pressure control (defined as a blood pressure level below 140/90 mm Hg)
- cholesterol screening (complete lipid profile)
- cholesterol control (defined as a low-density lipoprotein [LDL, or "bad" cholesterol] level below 100 mg/dL)
- use of aspirin or another antithrombotic to prevent blood clots
- smoking status and cessation advice or treatment