Welton, medical director at the Hunter Acres Caring Center in Sikeston, is one of 80 physicians who completed the CMD requirements and were certified at the December 2004 meeting of the AMDCP Board of Directors.
Since the program's inception in 1991, only 2,038 physicians nationwide have received the CMD designation.
The CMD program was created to enhance the profession of medical direction throughout the long term care continuum, which includes nursing facilities, hospice assisted living, home care and subacute care, and to reinforce the leadership role of the medical director in providing quality care.
The program recognizes the dual clinical and administrative roles of the medical director and requires indicators of competence in both areas. The dual nature of the necessary skills makes the position of medical director unique in medicine. The certification process is based on an experiential model that incorporates mechanisms such as fellowship programs, board certification in a medical specialty, American Medical Directors Association-
sponsored comprehensive courses in medical direction, continuing medical education programs and administrative experience to fulfill certification requirements.
Federal regulations and changes in the health care environment have established the role of the medical director as central to the delivery of quality care. The increased presence of managed care in long term care settings has emphasized credentialing and CMD certification has taken on additional importance. The CMD designation indicates professional competence to long-term-care providers, government and other quality assurance agencies, consumers, and the public.
Currently administered by the AMDCP, the program was established by the AMDA after three years of research and development to define the core skills and knowledge necessary for effective medical direction.
Response to the program has been very positive, according to the AMDA. Its members have predicted the program will increase personal satisfaction and pride and recognition of the medical director role in addition to enhancing the state of medical direction in long term care and providing a stimulus for medical directors to obtain new knowledge and maintain competence.