Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Untold Story of Three ABIM-Sanctioned Physicians

He was a bright medical resident in his third year of internal medicine residency - industrious, committed, a team player. He never thought of himself as special. He had studied hard and achieved much in his short 30 years. Not only was he nearing the end of his residency training in Philadelphia, he was married and had his first child about to be born July 19, 2007. Like most first-time wage earners, his $42,000-a-year resident salary didn't go too far as a result.

As a US medicine resident in his third year of training, he would soon be sitting for his Internal Medicine Board examination in the Fall, a requirement to assure his later employability. So he began the process of registration with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). He read the requirements and the ABIM "Agreement of Conditions" statement on the their website at the time:
Before electronically signing your application, you will be asked to read the following statement:

"By this application to the American Board of Internal Medicine (the "ABIM"), I agree to be bound by the terms, conditions, and rules set forth in the ABIM's Policies and Procedures for Certification and in this Web site, as they may be amended from time to time. I understand that by applying, I am entering into a contract with the American Board of Internal Medicine to provide certain health care operations services, including practice assessment and evaluations. The ABIM HIPAA Business Associate Agreement is a part of this contract.

I agree to indemnify, release, and hold harmless the ABIM, its employees, officers, directors, members, agents, and those furnishing information about me to the ABIM from any claims, liability, or damage by reason of any of their acts or omissions, done in good faith, in connection with this application, information furnished to the ABIM, the evaluation of my qualifications, and examinations. I agree that the ABIM may use my examination performance, training program evaluations, self-evaluations of knowledge and practice performance, and other information for research purposes, including collaboration with other research investigators and scientific publications. In such research, the Board will not identify specific individuals, hospitals, or practice associations. All practice performance data is HIPAA compliant.

I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the information given in my application is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and beliefs.

I agree to be legally bound by the foregoing."
This statement represented the entirety of his "informed" consent for the ABIM's "research" - and from the looks of things, he was "legally bound" to comply. On the web page this  "Copyrighted Materials" clause was included as well:
Copyrighted Materials

The Board's examinations are confidential and copyrighted under the Federal Copyright Act. Candidates agree not to copy, reproduce, reconstruct by dictation or other means, or disclose examination content in any manner. Board Self-Evaluation Process (SEP) modules are also copyrighted works. Candidates agree not to copy, reproduce, or make any adaptations of the modules in any manner; or to assist someone else in the infringement of this or any Board-copyrighted work.

Professionally and financially unable to do otherwise, he completed his application and paid his $1,135 registration fee for the examination.

A short time later, he turned to his program director to inquire which board review course he should attend. He was recommended to attend the "Arora Board Review" course led by Dr. Rajender Arora MD. Others had gone there and given it good reviews. His Pennsylvania residency program thought highly enough of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) sanctioned course that they paid his $1000 registration fee. He decided to attend the board review course offered in June 2007 just before his scheduled board examination in August 2007.

The Board Review Course

Five hundred economically vulnerable residents were in attendance at the Arora Board Review course in June 2007.  The young doctor thought the course was taught well and helped him gain confidence for the exam questions he might encounter. Dr. Arora was a dynamic teacher and the examples and commentary he provided were helpful at teasing out the critical concepts for the examination. At the end of the course, it was mentioned that if he'd like, he could help "pay-it-forward" to his fellow colleagues by sending Dr. Arora information about the topics and questions he could recall that he encountered on his Board examination.

He studied hard for his examination for the next several months, rising early and staying up late and foregoing other social obligations. He reviewed his texts, journal articles, and board review materials. Then the day came for his examination.

He arrived at the test center, checked in, had his biometric palm scan recorded, deposited his wallet, car keys and mobile phone in a locker, was later searched, and finally admitted into the PearsonVue examination computer room. There beside him were others, pounding on their keyboards taking examinations for other trades. He sat and got comfortable. On his computer screen was a big ABIM logo with his name below and a set of instructions. Just before the timed test began, he read a document that threatened him if he shared content of the test. He had the choice: either click "I Decline" and be escorted out of the examination center and thereby waste his test preparation and potentially sacrifice his career as a physician or click the "I Accept" button to start his examination. He accepted and took his test, yet never received a copy of the agreement that he had just electronically "signed."

He thought he did well on his certifying examination. He remembered the general concepts of the questions and while he couldn't remember all of the questions and distractors, he was eager to share what he remembered of the test with the person who helped him prepare, Dr. Arora. After all, others likely did the same for him. He decided to communicate with Dr. Arora via e-mail to thank him for his help and share with him what he could recall as a way to "pay it forward" to others as requested.

Time passed. In late October, 2007 he received notification that he had passed his boards and felt relieved that he had at least secured himself the potential for gainful employment as a "Board certified"  internal medicine physician. He had no intention of repeating that ordeal, at least not in the immediate future. As life would have it, his medical passion had evolved to physical medicine and rehabilitation. His second child was born November 10, 2009 and because residency slots were tough to obtain, he moonlighted to bridge the gap before his second residency in his chosen field began.

On June 8, 2010, he received a sanction letter from the ABIM. In that letter the young doctor learned that the ABIM had suspended his certification for three years because they alleged that he had shared question content from memory with Dr. Arora in violation of the ABIM's "Pledge of Honesty." His board certification status was immediately revoked without due process.

His mind spun. "How in the world?... What happened?" His life, quite frankly, had gone from idyllic to uncertain in an instant. He couldn't sleep. He was humiliated and had to tell his wife. But one thing he was sure of: he didn't want to have to take the test again. Four years of medical school. Three years of residency. Night call. Sleepless nights. Finally, realizing the magnitude of what had happened to him and the possible lifelong ramifications, he retained a lawyer.

He spoke with his lawyer - someone he'd worked with earlier. She was sympathetic. So calls were made to the ABIM's lawyers. At first, ABIM lawyers were unyielding: it was a three-year sanction and then he had to retake the examination.

A short time later, his lawyer called him to tell him about this article that had appeared in the Wall Street Journal June 9, 2010. He was not the only one; there were 138 others. His penalty could have been worse, he was told. At least he wasn't formally sued but his privileges to practice medicine were temporarily suspended at one of his hospitals from 2010 through part of 2011 and compromised his ability to moonlight to pay for his children's daycare.

"I can't take that test again. I just started my residency!" he thought. After pleading with ABIM, the sanction was reduced from three years to one on July 28, 2010, but he appealed this decision since the financial and professional implications of even a one-year sanction were devastating.

Months later after more letters and were exchanged a plea "deal" was struck with the ABIM April 5, 2011 - the ABIM agreed to settle with the doctor for a $5000 fine along with 20 hours of community service in a medical-related charity and proof of completion of an ethics course.

What choice did he have but to agree to those terms?

Cancelled Check Paid to ABIM to Reinstate Board Certification*
(Click to enlarge)
Finally on 1 Sep 2011, the young physician's Board certification was reinstated but the scars linger. From now on, he must always explain that he was "sanctioned" by the ABIM when completing a hospital credentials' packet or being licensed by his state. Needless to say, he no longer practices in a hospital setting.

Commentary: In retrospect what this young doctor didn't realize at the time was that the Arora Board Review course was secretly recorded as part of an ABIM-sanctioned "investigation," apparently without law enforcement  oversight.  On the basis of that recording and evidence gathered by a undisclosed ABIM employee that secretly attended the review course, this "evidence" was presented before a federal judge by Christine Cassel, MD, Ms. Rebecca Baranowski, and A. Benjamin Mannes (the ABIM's currently employed "Director of Investigations" who carries two felony convictions (for impersonating a police officer and carrying an unregistered firearm) and has unfettered access to the ABIM diplomat's files and personal information). On the basis of that information, the ABIM was granted a writ to seize under seal after providing $10,000 in collateral so Federal Marshals could secretly invade Dr. Arora's residence with ABIM attorneys accompanying them. According to court documents, the ABIM obtained images of Dr. Arora's computers, hard drives, and 36 boxes of course materials. To the best of my knowledge and belief and on the basis of this ABIM "letter of concern," only after obtaining those computers did the ABIM discover the emails of who attended the Arora Board Review Course course and had communicated electronically with Dr. Arora.  The earlier communications with Dr. Arora were thought to be private and occurred without financial renumeration to either party of any kind. As such, it appears the raid was little more than a fishing expedition for physicians' emails and addresses who attended the board review course. It appears to me that because the young doctor's email to Dr. Arora was found on one of those computers, and he represented a vulnerable target, he was immediately sanctioned without due process. Dr. Arora, on the other hand, worked a separate settlement deal with the ABIM that has never been made public.

Same Course, Different Doctors, Different Sanctions

Another Arora Board Review sanctioned physician-attendee had a different penalty imposed.  Not only was this physician sanctioned for three years initially, this physician was later forced to sign an agreement with the ABIM that he had committed an ethical violation, had his upcoming subspecialty medical board examination cancelled, and was required to re-take his internal medicine certification examination. But this was not his most difficult problem.

After learning of the ABIM's sanction, his state licensure board also required the physician pass a "maintenance of certification" examination, take an ethics course with an "unconditional pass," do 50 hours of community service, pay a $1000 fine, and provide peer review references before state would re-issue this state license to practice medicine. His online credential verification still documents his sanction today. All of these actions did not include the legal expenses the physician incurred to defend himself with two separate state licensure boards (WA and TX) and the ABIM itself.

Ongoing Litigation

Some nine years after the June 2007 Arora Board Course, the ABIM has still not finished sanctioning physicians. Jaime Salas Rushford, MD, a Puerto Rican physician who attended the same Arora Board Review course, learned of his sanction by the ABIM on 8 May 2012. In his sanction letter, his certification was revoked indefinitely. Shortly thereafter, Salas Rushford also learned that he had been sued by the ABIM as well. What the ABIM had not anticipated was that Dr. Salas Rushford's parents are lawyers. They filed a counter-suit (begins on page 32). The case has been ongoing four years later and full details of the ABIM's operations and tactics are being systematically uncovered in documents on Dr. Salas Rushford's website, doctorsjustice.com. Millions of dollars in legal fees paid by physician diplomats continue to flow to the ABIM's legal team. Unfortunately for all US physicians, this story is far from over and will likely become, as described by the Pennsylvania Medical Society in their recent vote of no confidence (more here), "the most expensive medical mistake in the history of medical education."

Epilog

Given what we now know about the ABIM's long-standing tenuous financial condition, the "research" the ABIM performed and funded from these vulnerable diplomat's exam fees without true informed consent, the undisclosed lobbying that ABIM participated in as a non-profit outside of federal regulations, the years of fraudulent tax filings, the funneling of $55 million of ABIM diplomat fees to fund the ABIM Foundation that performed additional "research" and purchased a luxury condominiums for its use, it is hard to imagine the ABIM has physicians' or our patients' best interests in mind. Furthermore, the American Board of Medical Specialties' (ABMS) (who overseas all of the ABMS member boards, including the ABIM) earlier Senate testimony that claimed they are expanding "new kinds of (undisclosed) partnerships with public payers, private payers, and particular patients and consumer groups who represent them to get a deeper appreciation for the kinds of information they seek and their expectations for care..." with numerous undisclosed revenue streams, there is only one question to ask of these unaccountable cartel-like physician credentialing "non-profit" organizations now.

Did the ABIM act in the public's best interest by sanctioning the many vulnerable resident physicians who attended the Arora Board Review course or did they engage in extortion for the ABIM/ABMS's financial benefit as a result of the ABIM's financial largess using police-state tactics?

-Wes

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

*The redacted canceled check and redacted documents above were all used with the ABIM diplomats' permission.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...


Hmmmmmm. Sounds like ABIM tacitly admits that the extent of its damages was easily rectified by $5000 and an "apology".

Contrast that against the monetary value of damaging a physicians reputation for the life of their career. No comparison.

Pretty clearly an act of extortion on the ABIM's part.

How much of the diplomates dollars have been thrown at lawyers to pursue $5000 and an apology per each case?

Anonymous said...

Decided to answer my question asked above.

Check out: https://twitter.com/charlespkroll/status/746694766675501056

Wow! $10 Million over 7 years!

Not even counting the felonius, cop impersonating and illegal gun toting Mr. Mannes's salary.

Yep, It's a shakedown.

Anonymous said...

There is sufficient evidence on your blog to warrant a DOJ investigation leading to the indictment and conviction of key players of the ABIM and ABMS in federal court. How deep is the corruption? It extends all the way from Wall Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. These greedy people are so corrupt they have their fingers of influence all over the DOJ and the courts.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing about this malady that plagues medicine.

CMR Thompson said...

Shocking. Something must be done to rectify this situation and bring justice to the countless numbers of physicians who have been harmed and continue to be wronged by the ABIM and ABMS.

Dr. Goddard said...

Just a few drops of MOC is no different that imbibing the quackery of the 19th century medicine show!

Disgusted Democrat said...

What extortion! It is pure deceit. Fraud. Christine Cassel, Lynn Langdon and Richard Baron never disclosed their secret felonious weaponry they used on physicians and in duping the courts--the overly ambitious crooked cop, A Benjamin Mannes, alias Ariel B. Mannes. Never told about him or their illegal methods, false testimony, and judicial tampering, to any of the sanctioned and sued.
And the means they use to maintain their Empire of MOC is fraud and deception on a scale no one could believe. Thank you for exposing it and we wish the PA Medical Society in gathering evidence and presenting it to the DOJ for criminal pursuit. I won't stand for these white collar criminals to get away with their murder of medicine and what they do to patients with that criminal foundation via Choosing Wisely!
Look at the last paragraph of this congratulations letter about MOC and who signed it. Welcome to the corrupt world of the ABIM. Surprise surprise! It's signed by Christine Cassel, an insider that could not be any more on the inside--short of being inside a jail. (Plagiarized from the MSM about her boss Hillary.)
http://www.medtees.com/content/ABIMCongratsLtr_Redacted.pdf

O'Reilly said...

Wes, in your commentary about the ABIM v ABR you called the seizure of Dr. Arora's private property a "fishing expedition".

I agree it violated everyone's civil liberties and human rights in America.

Look at what is happening in Turkey with the president there. He is suspending human rights, sacking all the deans, teachers--60,000 potentially under investigation with pre-coup lists of his political adversaries. He is suddenly declaring a state of emergency to purge and get greater control. Reporters allege the president's family was getting IS oil and selling it to the EU. Some reporters say the coup was a sting operation just to persecute his opponents. Who knows the truth! It is so convoluted and corrupt.
Could that kind of thing happen in our country. Suspension of our bill of rights, for example. Well, folks, you are looking at it with the ABIM and their secret goon-squad/"we are listening to you" mentality and lies. The ABIM/ABMS (all the boards were in on it) has usurped Madame liberty and our good friend Mr. Constitution. The ABIM suspended all privacy, human rights and civil liberties years ago.

Pay up now every year they say! The ABIM/ABMS extorts money literally at the point of a felon's gun and a Wall Street insider's corrupt digital pen.

Words of caution. Don't ever sign nothin' with them!

If you have over payed (everyone has) or been part of their illegal inquisition (thousands of them), call a lawyer. Freeze their assets; recover the money stolen and laundered over the years by Cassel, Baron, Langdon, Mandes, Kimball, Benson, Strozeski and friends.

Anonymous said...

The BS of making the physicians attending one of their ACCME approved board prep courses, pay a fine, take an ethics class and do community service! These people take the cake at the ABIM with their hypocrisy--no, strike that--their criminality and certified brand of hypocrisy.

Army doc said...

Wes, it seems by comparison Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme is a cupcake with white frosting compared to the extent and scale of ABMS' greed, financial fraud and clandestine political activities.
Especially so, when you realize the illegal use of the medical boards and umbrella organization in Chicago to strong-arm and hoodwink the public and physicians into blindly accepting their healthcare reform. It was all done without revealing the underlying corporate and personal agendas.

Madoff only cheated his clients out of their entire savings. The ABMS/ABIM cheated the entire nation out of something even more precious. Democracy and rule of law. It is unbelievable when you look at the compass and scope of their greed and political corruption how they advanced their system through monetary theft, graft and the manipulation of physicians and the public.

G. H. said...

We need to hear more personal stories like this. Great reporting, Wes!

Drew said...

We know enough about the problems the ABMS has created for medicine.
We know the deceit used to put physicians in the dirty cycle called "pay for play". We know how their bogus foundations have abused noble words like professionalism to push their unsavory research and propaganda.
We've understood how Choosing Wisely is a corporate cost-rationing plan where the sell-out medical politicians lobby for special interests just to receive personal kickbacks and to hide their money laundering.
We've seen how the whole of the ABMS and their partners in crime have put the patient in harms way.

It's time to close down the bloated medical bureaucracy that serves Wall Street, corporate America and the elite 1%. Just shut it down. It is a house of cards.

If there is to be any certification let it be for life. And let it come from honest people and relevant non-conflicted institutions who will democratically elect clinicians and teachers to insure educational quality. Keeping current should never come again from corrupt politicians like Christine Cassel, Bob Wachter, Lois Nora and Richard Baron, who have proven only one thing to us. That money and pursuit of partisan politics at the expense of the taxpayer and hard working physicians is all they care about.

There ABMS results have been disastrous. We can't accept a failed system that fails physicians and patients for their dirty million buck salaries. We can't have lazy medical politicians sit around working from their homes or put together last minute "we are trying to listen to you" outreach seminars where only their cronies are invited. No more. I vote no confidence in the ABMS and ACGME. I have never seen such greed, corruption and political skullduggery!

Anonymous said...

A note on ABIM's intent to conduct acts of public fraud and perjury

Dr. Richard Baron, his chief medical officer, Dr Battaglia, and chief of staff Ms. Suzanne Biemiller I'm sure will be uncomfortable with this following bit of news from Reuters. It appears public fraud (of the ABIM type) is a very serious charge and one taken seriously by the federal government.

Fox News and the ABIM have egregious public violations in common. They both have employed public frauds to offer fallacious expertise on matters of national and public security. The only difference is Fox claims to have had "no knowledge" of the fact that they "contracted" a complete and utter fraud committing intentional acts of public fraud, whereas with the ABIM there is ample documentation--both public and internal--to implicate the ABIM in knowing intentional acts of public fraud and most likely perjury.

I am speaking about ABIM/ABMS' fraudulent "director of investigations", A. Benjamin Mannes (aka Ariel B. Mannes) and their complicit acts of public and federal fraud thrust against the public trust and federal court system.

It is a court-documented fact that the ABIM knowingly put forth their fraudulent director of investigations, A. Benjamin Mannes, to represent them in front of a Pennsylvania federal judge signing his and their names to a tainted investigation which presented "false evidence" in a court motion.

Mannes, ABIM and Ballard Spahr presented flawed testimony in order to obtain an ex-parte writ to seize Dr. Arora's property and go fishing for physicians. (Unconstitutional violations/persecution/prosecutions resulted.) ABIM and their powerful Washington lobbyists and testing company cronies wanted anybody and anything they could find on vulnerable candidates and diplomates involved with attending a competing board prep company the Arora Board Review. The fruad was motivated by greed and politics. Money and power.

I would like to know how Pennsylvania Federal Judge Curtis Joyner who signed off on the writ to seize property feels about all this now; or if he thinks justice was served, considering all of the lives that were destroyed by the ABIM, Ballard Spahr and the fraudulent investigative prowess and testimony of Ariel Benjamin Mannes and his Ballard Spahr accomplice and his financially conflicted partner at Caveon testing security company.

Mannes is a double felon, and prior to that he was thrown off the police in DC for egregious violations against citizens privacy and civil liberties while ignoring/violating police procedure and protocols. Mannes also lied about this and covered it up on his publicly viewable CV. We can include a great many names here involved in aiding and abetting Ariel Benjamin Mannes in the defrauding of federal courts and the public. These names include Christine Cassel, Ms. Rebecca Baranowski, Eric Holmboe, Robert Wachter, and in particular (the future jewel in the ABIM's CEO crown) Dr. Baron who was in charge of aspects of the legal representation violating and persecuting physicians.

Yes, Dr. Richard Baron! According to Ballard Spahr attorneys, when asked who was in charge of at least one law suit of the legal team pursuing physicians and competing board review courses, it was stated by Ballard Spahr attorneys that Dr. Baron was in charge of part of this heinous project to destroy lives in their pursuit to restrain trade in their market. As soon as Dr. Arora was knocked out of business the ACP moved into the lucrative New Jersey/Pennsylvania/West New York area markets. * - see footnote at bottom

Will the DOJ take the ABIM/ABMS acts of public fraud seriously. The consequences have known victims with monetary and emotional damages far exceeding the ABMS' resources. Will the DOJ protect the public as they are required?

continued...

continued... said...

Reuters report on FOX News imposter and his intentional acts of public fraud

"WASHINGTON - A man who has appeared on Fox News as a guest "terrorism analyst" was sentenced to 33 months in prison on Friday on charges that he fraudulently claimed to have been a CIA agent for decades, U.S. prosecutors said."

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-twenty-first-fox-crime-analyst-idUSKCN0ZV21Q?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

* http://www.gofrontrunners.com/the-latest-on-FRONTRUNNERS-case-against-ABIM.htm

Attorney for ABIM/Ballard Spahr claiming to report to Richard Baron
Now works for Cozen O'Connor (Dr. Arora's current and past law firm. What are the chances of that! Well, they are just steps away from each other.** - see footnote below
https://www.cozen.com/people/bios/boote-robert

Melanie Miller attorney for Dr. Arora in ABIM v ABR and 2016 deposition ABIM v SR.
https://www.cozen.com/people/bios/miller-melanie

** For those not familiar with Philadelphia. Ballard Spahr offices (ABIM )and Cozen O'Connor offices(Dr. Arora)are just a few minutes walk depending on how many attorney acquaintances/adversaries/ friends you run into along the way or if you go for coffee together or a drink after work.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the ABIM v. Arora settlement made available to interested parties. It is very relevant as a court document imo.

Wes, or anybody know what threats were inflicted or concessions offered in suing Dr. Arora and getting him to capitulate. We understand that the ABIM may have used nationality/race as a legal card to threaten/discriminate against Arora.

They stop at nothing to get what they want. ABIM obviously did all this in order to get at physicians already coerced into the corrupt "pay for play" system of the ABMS!

But what more did they want? I would like the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask Drs Cassel and Baron that question.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered putting your blog and twitter account combining it into a book format. It might be the wave of the future? Perhaps someone could edit it with national best seller and modern format in mind to get the word out about the corruption in our midst.

Daydream with a probability factor of 59% said...

Sounds like President Trump does not think too highly of wasteful and corrupt bureaucracies like the ABIM as in "Good morning, Dr. Baron, YOU ARE SO FIRED!"

"A taxi is waiting outside. We will box up your things for you and mail them to the YMCA. By the way, your accomplice, Lynn is already in the cab."

Not suitable for print said...

And look at this article below on the CIA fraud...

Maybe the Dailykos could do an article about ABIM's Benjamin Mannes for impersonating a "director of investigations", FBI NGO "Board Director", counter-terrorism special agent, testing security expert, managing director of testing security at Caveon, impersonating a police officer on his resume and in public, impersonating a policy expert for the White House PCAST advisor Christine Cassel, etc., etc.

And of course all the while Mannes was impersonating an ABMS investigator/secret agent working behind enemy lines for the ABIM and then lying to federal courts about his expertise and impartiality, and not to forget lying his the countless certification organizations about it all.

And then there are the minor charges of falsifying his past turning himself into a Hollywood script writer and reality TV superstar. Mannes should be looking at 40 years, unless they find his secret gun cache. Then you can tack on a whole lot more than just a $50 dollar fine. And we won't mention any of the private threats and shady financial deals he made over the years. But then Mannes would not be so well suited for ABIM employ if he was not a liar and a cheat who worshipped money and power.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/4/29/1521463/-Fox-News-guest-analyst-pleads-guilty-to-charges-of-fraud-after-claiming-to-be-CIA-operative

Anonymous said...

ABMS is a gang of mob families under the protective umbrella of a machine gun.

Anonymous said...

Fricking unbelievable! Where the hell is the FBI investigation?

Oh, I just remembered the ABIM is an organization made up of self-appointed professional medical politicians who got there via vast left-wing networks of revolving-door organizations loyal to Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Christine Cassel, Robert Wachter, Richard Baron, Lois Nora, Kevin Weiss, Andy Slavitt, Wall Street, big banks, the medical industrial complex, testing industry, global publishing/media syndicates, Standard and Poor's, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ABMS, ACGME, AMA, ACP, Joint Commission, AHRQ, United Health, Cerner, Epic, Jonathan Gruber, the sundry Obama/Clinton health appointees, and the rest of the "who's who" of backdoor financial scandals, public fraud and political mayhem.

Anonymous said...

You know, Wes, you should have thousands of comments on this one blog posting alone, and not just a couple dozen. It is outrageous and illegal what they have done and continue to do. And those thousands should also contact their state attorney generals, the FTC, DOJ, IRS, SEC and create a permanent record on the ABIM in a database and expand that to all the medical boards and their main political offices in Chicago. This is public fraud and extortion. It is racketeering. The ABIM and the others are absolutely guilty of crimes and should not get away with any of it.

Asia M. said...

Waste, fiduciary carelessness/recklessness and total negligence! The ABIM board is proven to sign off it; absolutely complicit in the criminality. Look at the history of Wachter, Cassel and Baron and all the rest!

Anonymous said...

Strong-arming and politics as usual at the ABIM

Anonymous said...

What's going on? More frauds with hidden agendas like Mannes added to the payroll?

I am angry about all this, Wes. And much more. Look at the "fraudulent presentation involving the hiring and employment of their "Chief Medical Officer", Richard Battaglia. Baron, Wachter and others at the ABIM lied to us in presenting him falsely, and I am angry about it. Look at all the carrying on - all these "we are listening" bullshit in-house sessions with a few photos snapped of the ABIM conference room black board. It is utter nonsense and pure crap.

It is fraud how they are presenting the organization, their activities and executives. Consider Mannes fraudulent CV and testimony. Now look at what they have not been telling us about the rest of their executives and directors. They lie to us.

You know when you apply for residency, fellowship or any position as a physician if you withhold any part of your history you are a fraud. No gaps left unexplained? Well, look at the following involving the ABIM's Chief Medical Officer and what the ABIM is not telling us and how they present him as a clinical physician. Even the title Chief Medical Officer is fraudulent. Where does the ABIM fraud stop! It is a front organization for racketeering, politics and money laundering. When can we stop pretending that the emperor has no clothes and tell the truth!

They turn residents over to the ABIM for reprimand if there is something left out - even a gap in your resume - and they cry fraud. And you carry a reportable event for life or worse as we read in your blog. But we have a double standard with the ABIM and ABMS.

Many have said that the ABIM is involved in window dressing to cover-up the criminality. It looks to me like the CMO Richard Battaglia is part of the damage control and aggressive plans to expand and continue their overreach and reckless fiduciary stewardship. They are engaged in preparation for more political activity to gain further control. I am convinced of that from their past activities and present posturing and announced plans to come into our homes with punitive surveillance software to MOC us until we are dead.

It all amounts to more plans to increase their racketeering through financial mergers? Look at the new physicians they just hired. It is scandalous and fraudulent to say we are listening when it is politicians and financiers who are listening.

more...

Anonymous said...

If one is not familiar with the far-reaching philanthropy of the Lion's Club,
Look at the huge checks paid out to foreign governments and associated international organizations on their 990's. We are not suggesting conspiracy theories or globalist political collusion like some, only good old fashioned potential for ABIM / ABMS or "pwc" executives greasing the palms with money/lobbying/influence pedaling, and that appearance of conflicts with the "pwc" ABMS / ABIM / Lions Affiliate foundations should have been disclosed.

For some American's the mere mention of some organizations like Lions and its affiliates put them in a frenzy over globalist political intrigue. I see it differently; I see only the potential for the ABIM to expand its reach and fill its historic penchant for greed.

http://www.lionsclubs.org/resources/all/pdfs/lcif/lcif-fy15-form-990-pdc.pdf

Anonymous said...

I am angry about all this, Wes too. I am also puzzled why your excellent work do not attract more then a few comments? Why 99% of people are so silent?I came from totalitarian country to embrace the freedom of the speech and the law. Why it is so quiet around here? I do my best ( $$) to support doctorsjustice.com (18784 views as of today but only 2,214 followers!), I do support NBPAS, I do talk to my State Medical Association, my hospital staff etc ... Should be straightforward case for any smart lawyer (s) (and potentially very $$ rewording!?)- but do not see that many takers - something is very strange. America - help me to understand it !

ABIM Keeps Heaping It Out said...

Dr. Richard G. Battaglia named Chief Medical Officer of ABIM

Dr. Battaglia will form a Clinical Affairs Department to incorporate physician perspectives into ABIM activities

Philadelphia, PA, October 30, 2015 – The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is pleased to announce that Richard G. Battaglia, MD, has joined the senior leadership team of the organization and will serve as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) leading ABIM's effort to incorporate feedback from practicing physicians and key stakeholders into clinical aspects of all of ABIM activities, including Certification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC).

http://www.abim.org/news/richard-battaglia-named-chief-medical-officer-of-abim.aspx

Dr. Battaglia served as a primary care internist with Health Care Plan/Univera, a multi-specialty physician group in Western New York, before transitioning into leadership roles. At ABIM, he will report to President and Chief Executive Officer Richard J. Baron, MD.

As CMO, Dr. Battaglia will build and lead ABIM's Clinical Affairs efforts to support the organization’s work in defining and assessing physician competencies. The department will more fully integrate physician voices into the design and operation of ABIM activities to ensure that all products and services, including Certification and MOC, contribute to the highest quality practice of medicine and better outcomes for patients.

“ABIM remains committed to working with the internal medicine community to ensure that our products and programs evolve to better reflect the complex and rapidly changing nature of medical practice,” Dr. Baron said. “With experience as a practicing internist, physician leader and healthcare consultant, Dr. Battaglia has a deep understanding of the many challenges physicians face day-to-day in practice. His expert perspective and ability to foster connections across the community will be vital to all aspects of ABIM's work, including efforts to improve MOC.”

In addition to working as an internist within Health Care Plan/Univera, Dr. Battaglia held various leadership positions, including Medical Director of the Medical Centers Division and Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs/Corporate Medical Director. He also served as Medical Director for Medical Partners of Western New York and led an initiative to unite that group with a regional family practice group and became CMO of the merged practice. Dr. Battaglia has participated in national initiatives at the Group Practice Improvement Network and The HMO Group, which focused on improving the quality of health care delivery. He worked with the National Committee for Quality Assurance for 10 years, including a term as Chairman of the committee charged with accreditation decision-making. Most recently, he was a consultant for national and international organizations, including academic medical centers, health systems, community hospitals, medical groups, payers and national physician certification organizations.

Dr. Battaglia, a board certified internist participating in MOC, received a biochemistry degree from Canisius College and his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He completed his residency through the University of Rochester Primary Care Program in internal medicine and also served as Chief Resident.

“I look forward to joining ABIM’s talented staff and physician leaders as we identify the mutually held values of a diverse, dedicated physician community through conversation and collaboration in order to produce a credential the public trusts and that internists and subspecialists are proud to earn and maintain throughout their careers,” Dr. Battaglia said.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardgbattaglia
http://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/health-services.html

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Richard-Battaglia/48144879

64 million dollar question said...

Let's Play ABIM True or False
(The Two Richards - ABIM's Punch and Judy MOC Executives.)

True or False? The ABIM is a multi-specialty clinic with talented professionals that you would entrust your life, money and health to.

T or F? Dr. Baron is a talented and very rich 'happy-go-lucky' Philadelphia clinician with the highest possible online reviews/ratings who also works part-time clocking in 35 hours-per-week as CEO of the ABIM.

T or F? Dr. Baron's primary ABIM role is patient safety making sure patients and clients coming to his Walnut Street Clinic are going to receive the best possible care at the lowest possible price.

T or F? The ABIM is not a clinic and is not involved in the practice of medicine. But instead the ABIM is an expensive leased property full of politicians and bureaucrats paid outrageously high compensation packages totaling over 60 million dollars for dispersal to a handful of non-practicing clinicians who collectively create the lowest possible value to the healthcare system at the highest possible price.

T or F? The ABIM is not a lucrative political action committee associated with the democrat party and healthcare reform as many people claim. It is not involved in fund raising and money laundering. It was not in its current corrupt iteration version 2.0 founded by Christine Cassel and her mentors Harry Kimball and John Benson in 1975. There was never any secret seed money given to them tied to private corporate donors and slush funds. No money passed between ABIM executive hands and the tobacco industry during the 1960's, into the seventies and beyond.

T or F? ABIM is a well-known and trusted Philadelphia Hedge Fund established in 1976 with many happy clients who invest in the firm only to have seen their investments grow at rates that have not only beaten the markets in terms of returns, but outpaced most hedge-fund benchmarks by 10%. ABIM boasts an investment lineage back to the Drexel in the early 19th century.

T or F? Dr. Richard Battaglia was hired in OCT. 2015 by Dr. Richard Baron to form a Clinical Affairs Department to incorporate physician perspectives into ABIM activities.

T or F? Richard Battaglia served as a primary care internist with Health Care Plan/Univera, a multi-specialty physician group in Western New York [25-30 years ago] before transitioning into "leadership roles" as Dr. Baron so creatively describes in the ABIM press release.

Sixty-four million $ question said...

T or F? ABIM's newly appointed CMO Richard Battaglia actually is a business advisor to Richard Baron and his corporate cronies who intend to create even more onerous and costly MOC in the future, but are searching for new venues to pay for it and the ever-increasing ABIM salaries and legal fees.

T or F? Richard Battaglia is a non-clinician hired by Richard Baron and fraudulently presented as a "physicians physician" just as Robert Wachter presented Richard Baron when he became the new CEO replacing Christine Cassel who played the game of "medical chairs" moving over to sit in the leader's seat at the National Quality Forum.

T or F? Richard Battaglia before coming to the ABIM to work on behalf of physician clients worked as financial and business advisor in the lucrative healthcare industry specializing in healthcare reform and how to take advantage of it.

T or F? Dr. Richard Baron, with his "treatise of transparency" failed to mentioned to hard working physicians who pay for his compensation and legal fees, keeping him out of jail, that Richard Battaglia has worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) - a company with 35 billion dollars in revenues - where he (Battaglia) worked as a financial manager and business director for the previous 15 years.

T or F? Richard Battaglia passion for the past 25 years is pushing onerous bureaucratic "quality assurance" constraints. While at the same time making a market out of the HMO healthcare model, just like Rich Baron. Both Richards claim to be getting or trying to get the highest possible quality of care at the lowest possible cost.

T or F? All executives at the ABIM are secretly working for Hillary Clinton and owe their livelihoods and start in the healthcare business to Hillary Clinton.

T or F? Physicians are sick and tired of the redundant useless scheming of the ABIM and ABMS. Their appetite for money is voracious. Clinical physicians would like to be free of the ABMS and focus on real CME. "Just shut it down, end mandatory MOC they say."

More Admins than Docs said...

"Dr. Battaglia, is a board certified internist participating in MOC." - Dr Baron

Actually Battaglia was a "grandfathered diplomate" who never participated in MOC. Battaglia only started participating in MOC as a condition of ABIM executive employment. Several board directors are no longer there because of the requirement. They just would not put up with the MOC BS or were too old they said to comply with everything else they had to do in medicine. So they just advise now unofficially.

Battaglia's private words and thoughts about MOC do not support Dr. Baron's enthusiastic presentations. Trust me.

"MOC keeps doctors out of clinical practice and makes us pursue more lucrative positions in business, lobbying, medical politics $$$ and administration."

Battaglia's actions in life speak louder than any of Baron's MOC propaganda. Neither Richard Battaglia, Richard Baron, Robert Wachter, or Christine Cassel would ever say anything to malign MOC, the cash cow, because it pays/paid them handsomely to compromise their dignity and self-respect happy to keep up the constant lying for $$$.

A dignity and self-respect they may have had way back during their residency.

MOC is Bad for a Patient and Their Doc said...

MOC money corrupts and unlimited MOC money corrupts absolutely.

Look at what the ABIM/ABMS executives have done with the MOC money! MOC has lined their executives' pockets with hundreds of millions. Moc pays for their partisan political projects. MOC is lobby power to 'set' healthcare policies for the ABMS and their corporate cronies.

MOC money has upgraded their backchannels to the US government.

We all know or should know by now about this profound outrageous truth. MOC pays for regulatory capture and that will only get worse unless physicians and patients wake up and join forces putting on the gloves and kicking shoes to fight.

MOC is not only just a redundant unproven expensive system of 'pay for play', it is painfully clear that MOC harms medicine absolutely. It harms patients. It harms physicians. It buys access to the peoples' government.

MOC aids and abets corporations to continue supporting a monstrous healthcare system that creates limited access to healthcare.

In the name of 'universal' their 'healthcare monster' means to create limited access and higher profit for the corporate stakeholders. That 'monster' thrives on the bloody lie that we have better care at lower costs.

The malady of bureaucracy.

That monster takes a large skilled force of highly trained physicians and turns them into an army of frustrated clerks who must now waste time filling in onerous forms and make time-consuming life-draining phone calls rather than promptly treat the many patients lining up at the door not able to get in to be seen.

The 'monsters of MOC', their executive administrators and corporate cronies have helped create a nightmarish system with bureaucratic delays, bullying and fear mongering that engenders hapless conditions for an endless backlog of insurers and pharmacies to demand useless "proofs", while making error after error expecting the physician to fix it at the expense of their dime and time.

The monster creates "upended costs" and "inverted realities" through financial subterfuge and propaganda which keep patients from getting the care they need.

Ladies and gentlemen and very beautiful children, welcome to the brave new world of digital corporate (fascist) medicine where there is every bit a virtual shortage of physicians as is (or has been) experienced by our seniors, veterans, and foreign totalitarian regimes.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned totalitarian regimes on this blog asking for Wes to explain what is wrong with physicians here in free democratic America who remain silent and who have not vocalized loudly their opposition to the outrageous exploitation and extortion that is going on by the member boards and ABMS. Many have not exercised their voices and engaged their will to protect those hallowed rights and freedoms.

I want to know why also! It is horrible what is going on at the ABMS and it is passively condoned and enabled by complicit parties and with a convenient payment by check or plastic card. One signs a pledge, which is nothing more than a deceitful 'take it or leave it' contract with the ABIM, or ABP, etc. That online contract you don't get a copy of strips away the civil liberties and privacy opening you up to civil and criminal prosecution.

The ABMS 'cheaters' have lobbied and lied about it and created a fail-safe mechanism of control and endless streams of profit. The profit and control will go on and on unless we stop that flow of money by withholding that payment.

We need help to do so. We need Oklahoma-type anti MOC legislation in every state that gives back the right to practice medicine without the ABMS' interference and flack between doc and patient. And the highly trained physicians need to get their rights back with the ability to choose their CME and how they exercise their commitment to continuous learning.

Factoid: Russian physicians are federal employees paid by the state about 300-400 dollars per month for their services. The hours have increased and computerized records have only made things worse. The pension age was in the past set at 60 for men and 55 for women who would get a similar monthly retirement amount of 300-350 dollars to live on.

No one is retiring as you could well imagine. Property values have escalated astronomically because banks are considered unsafe places to put your evaporating money; instead they are investing in real estate. Or just padding the mattresses and hollowed out books with rubles. The best hedge against inflation has been always to buy a TV, a household appliance, clothing, or a car.

From what I have been told, many still consider the Soviet price stability of the 60's, 70's, and early 80's to have been the best years for them where you could always afford a loaf of bread, milk, meat, yoghurt, and good ice cream; and you could grow some potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage and carrots. The food was organically grown.

WorstWachterianNightmare said...

Wall Street's in Charge of the CMS - Note Andy Slavitt worked for United Health/Optum, was a McKinsey and Co. strategy consultant, and investment banker for Goldman Sachs.

Andy Slavitt is the Acting Administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, a position he has held since May, 2014. A leader of the team which repaired healthcare.gov after its problematic rollout, he was nominated by Barack Obama to run Medicare and Medicaid in July 2015.[1][2][3]

Slavitt was previously executive vice president for Optum, a subsidiary of United Health Group, and CEO of Optum Insight. In 1999 he founded Health Allies, a healthcare company, and served as its CEO until 2006, when the company was acquired by United Health.[4][5] Earlier in his career, he was a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company, and an investment banker with Goldman Sachs.[6] [7]

Slavitt graduated from The College of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and earned an MBA at the Harvard Business School.[

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Slavitt

Anonymous said...

The killer in all of this is sleazy Christine Cassel the former ABIM director is not partaking in MOC and her only active certification is the grandfathered IM from 1979. Then add on doctors who have actually worked with her clinically and think she is a baffoon. She's not a doctor, rather a politician. You honestly can't make this crap up.

Brandi said...

This no different than Madoff scamming his clients. This country was built on corruption.