Medical Peer Review Overview, Background and Goals

In response to the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1987, national medical specialty society and health care organization leadership founded the American Medical Foundation for Peer Review & Education (AMF), to provide good faith independent assessment of the quality of medical care. As a non– profit 501 c (3), it is the leading consulting agency in the United States for hospital and medical staff peer review and on-site physician continuing education.

The National Leader in Peer Review

We are the national leader in the independent review of physician and specialty services. We have worked with medical institutions, healthcare corporations, state licensing agencies, the Federal and State Governments. We have assisted thousands of hospitals in 50 states and territories; achieve higher standards of patient care through fair and objective peer evaluations, specialty department review and education, credentialing support, on-site physician education and continuous quality improvement.

AMF peer reviewers are among the foremost medical educators and practitioners in the nation.

Our distinguished consultants review charts; conduct on-site reviews and educational preceptor programs; mediate and arbitrate problems of both individual practitioners and entire specialty services, and offer the continued guidance that facilitates critical decisions.

We have reviewed urban and rural institutions, private and academic hospitals, and facilities ranging in size from 20 to more than 1,000 beds. We have been successful in resolving quality-of care and physician staff issues, interdepartmental conflicts, and consequences of faulty leadership in both community and teaching hospitals.  AMF has assisted problematic hospital residency programs with complex attending issues utilizing our Residency Program Consultation Council (RPCC). We are called upon by state licensing agencies assessing quality-of-care in carrying out and setting regulations.

Our division, the Foundation for Advanced Medical Education (FAME), was created to assist in the resolution of the problems discovered by peer review of physicians utilizing new procedures and technology. In 2001, FAME received a $2,000,000 grant to create an innovative methodology to be used as a template for future training and retraining of practicing community surgeons. FAME administered this grant which was implemented by six prestigious specialty societies including, the American College of Surgeons (ACS), Society of Thoracic Surgeons/the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons (STS/AATS), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), and the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions (SCA&I). Several of the publications describing this method and the results are available on our website and can be accessed by visiting Publications.

As a non-profit foundation, we received grants every year for more than 13 years from the C.V. Starr Foundation which enabled us to assist more than 130 small and hospitals that would otherwise have been unable to afford impartial peer review.

We maintain independence from all other medical or legal entities in order to ensure the highest possible degree of fairness and impartiality to those under review.

Since our founding, we have served physicians, specialty departments, hospitals and other providers in balancing responsibility for quality medical care and patient safety with the individual rights of staff physicians. This peer review procedure, executed by recognized and impartial medical experts, provides confidential medical opinions to hospital chief executive officers, administrators, boards of directors, peer review committees, medical staff leadership, quality of care personal and hospital counsel.

Our peer review teams focus on rapid identification of the critical issues facing hospitals and their professional staffs. We realize that the entire institution suffers when staff conflicts, performance problems, credentialing issues, or educational deficits occur. With the pressures of the medical marketplace, institutions must act rapidly and efficiently to resolve such problems and disputes. Our goal is to inform, reduce risks, and offer practical solutions that benefit the entire institution. The Foundation for Advanced Medical Education, (FAME), can provide customized educational programs that a medical staff needs to bring their performance into line with the exacting standards of today’s carefully scrutinizing clinical environment.

Strategies for Success

We recognize that hospitals, physician practices, and other health care providers have little margin for error when it comes to maintaining high quality standards. Managed care companies and other third party payers insist that contracting practices and institutions demonstrate their quality-of-care. Morbidity and mortality rates, for example, are prime considerations in the success of a health care institution. We provide valuable assistance to help hospitals demonstrate quality and to deliver cost effective quality service peer review. Following the review, we offer a number of educational options that can change physician techniques and behavior in a positive way. Our experience has been that the majority of peer reviews show a need for education, not punitive action.

AMF Faculty