Newswise — ALEXANDRIA, VA— The American Medical Group Foundation (AMGF) today announced participants in a collaborative dedicated to finding best practices in managing patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). AMGF, with AbbVie’s support, is providing funds for quality improvement initiatives focusing on care management for patients with RA, a disease that affects about 1.3 million people, or about 0.6 percent of the U.S. adult population,1 Recipients are medical groups, IPAs, academic practices, and integrated delivery systems that responded to a request for proposals distributed in April 2014. The participating groups participated in a Kick-Off meeting held Nashville, TN at the Gaylord Opryland, August 13-14, 2014. The kick-off meeting provided an opportunity for groups to network with their peers and to officially present their team’s project to the collaborative.

The Best Practices Learning Collaborative is designed for organizations that are striving to improve the care of patients with RA. Working together, participants will facilitate the discovery, adoption, and spread of care processes that will improve the way in which patients with rheumatoid arthritis experience the healthcare system. The RA collaborative is intended to leverage key learnings and facilitate a how-to approach.

The following medical groups received $10,000 educational grants to support their quality improvement efforts through participation in the Managing Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Learning Collaborative:

Advocate Medical Group, Arlington Heights, IL Colorado Springs Health Partners, Colorado Springs, CO Cornerstone Health Care, High Point, NC Geisinger Health System, Danville, PA Group Health, Cincinnati, OH HealthCare Partners, Torrance, CA Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Pearland, TX Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA The Polyclinic, Seattle, WA Springfield Clinic, Springfield, IL Summit Medical Group, Berkeley Heights, NJ Sutter Medical Group, Novato, CA University of Rochester, Rochester, NY USMD Holdings, Inc., Irving, TX Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA Wilmington Health, Wilmington, NC

In addition, two medical groups have been invited to participate in the collaborative on an unfunded basis:

Premier Medical Associates, Monroeville, PAWatson Clinic, Lakeland, FL

The RA Learning Collaborative is supported by an Advisory Committee of physicians and quality improvement experts to help guide the development of the collaborative:

Jeffrey Carlin, MD, Virginia Mason Medical CenterLen Fromer, MD, FAAFP, UCLA School of Medicine, Group Practice ForumEric Newman, MD, FACP, Geisinger Health SystemRobert J. Quinet, MD, FACP, Ochsner Health SystemRami Rihani, PharmD, Advocate Medical Group

“In today’s healthcare environment, quality outcomes in specialty care, including rheumatology, will increasingly affect provider organizations’ bottom line,” said Donald W. Fisher, Ph.D., CAE, president and chief executive officer of the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) and secretary of the board of AMGF. “Participation in the AMGF Best Practices RA Collaborative will give participants mission-critical experience in engaging specialty departments such as rheumatology in performance measurement and improvement.”

The program offers a shared learning environment where participants can exchange strategies and experiences as they work to improve the care provided to patients with RA. Through a yearlong series of activities, participating organizations will have the opportunity to test approaches and design care processes that are relevant to their clinical and operational models. As a result, Best Practices will be developed and shared around the work of the collaborative groups. The collaborative begins in August 2014 and end in August 2015.

About AMGFThe American Medical Group Foundation (AMGF) is the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the American Medical Group Association and it supports and disseminates research on better ways to deliver health care that is scientifically sound and value-based. AMGF also develops and supports educational programs to enable all stakeholders-providers, payers, policymakers and patients to translate the evidence of what works best into everyday practice.

About AMGAThe American Medical Group Association (AMGA) is a 501(c)(6) trade association representing medical groups, health systems, and other organized systems of care, including some of the nation's largest, most prestigious integrated delivery systems. AMGA is a leading voice in advocating for efficient, team-based, and accountable care. AMGA members encompass all models of organized systems of care in the healthcare industry, including: physician-owned, independent group practices, integrated delivery systems, hospital-affiliated medical groups, independent practice associations (IPAs), academic and faculty practices, accountable care organizations, and high-performing health systems. More than 150,000 physicians practice in AMGA member organizations, providing healthcare services for 120 million patients (approximately one in three Americans). Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, AMGA is the strategic partner for these organizations, providing a comprehensive package of benefits, including political advocacy, educational and networking programs, publications, benchmarking data services, and financial and operations assistance.

1. Helmick CG, Felson DT, Lawrence RC, Gabriel S, Hirsch R, Kwoh CK, Liang MH, Kremers HM, Mayes MD, Merkel PA, Pillemer SR, Reveille JD, Stone JH, for the National Arthritis Data Workgroup. Estimates of the Prevalence of Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Conditions in the United States. Part I. Arthritis Rheum 2008;58(1):15-25.