AAPS Has Leave to Amend ABMS Anti-Trust Suit-Wes
The federal court in the Northern District of Illinois has granted leave to AAPS to provide more detail as to how Maintenance of Certification (MOC®) harms patients in AAPS v. American Board of Medical Specialties, 14-cv-2705-ARW (N.D. Ill. Dec. 13, 2017). Because antitrust laws exist to protect consumers, not competitors, the court is requiring further specificity as to the harm to patients that is allegedly inflicted by MOC®.
In addition, the court wonders whether the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and other MOC-related organizations have any control over insurance companies to require MOC® as a condition of participating in their plans. To the extent anyone is aware of a specific relationship between ABMS and insurance companies, or a mechanism by which ABMS may have some influence with insurers, then please let AAPS know.*
AAPS plans to add to its allegations ways in which representations made by ABMS and board-certifying societies harm physicians who decline to participate in MOC®. (emphasis mine) In the past some board-certifying societies have posted disparaging statements about physicians who do not waste the substantial time and money on remaining current with onerous MOC® requirements. For now, the court considers some of these pro-MOC® statements to be mere opinion, which is not actionable, but AAPS can submit stronger examples of unfair disparagement with its upcoming amended complaint.
This legal struggle is far from over, and AAPS observes that earlier this year a district court in New Jersey held there is a valid claim for an antitrust violation by how membership in the American Osteopathic Association is required as a condition of maintaining certification by D.O.s.
The AAPS case was initially filed in New Jersey in 2013 (https://tinyurl.com/ycndp3rx), and the courts have not acted until now, except to grant an ABMS motion to change the venue to Chicago. In dismissing the case as pled, the Court focused on the “voluntary” nature of MOC®. It had not been demonstrated that ABMS has sufficient market power to restrain trade, decrease output, or raise prices. “Antitrust laws protect competition, not competitors” (https://tinyurl.com/yapc4no5). Patients can supposedly find another doctor, or another hospital — somewhere.
* AAPS should look no further than Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan's disenrollment of Meg Edison, MD from several insurance panels and then sending her patients letters about the disenrollment solely on the basis of her failing to pay her Maintenanance of Certification fee. Their near instantaneous electronic collusion with an ABMS member board (American Board of Pediatrics) is damning and is facilitated by the for-profit wholly-owned subsidiary of ABMS, ABMS Solutions, LLC (domiciled in Atlanta, GA) selling Board certification status to third parties. AAPS should also be interested that Margaret O'Kane of the National Committee on Quality Assurance (that sets credentialing standards for insurers) is also a public member of the ABMS Board of Directors.
The issues of whether consumers are harmed could be from the loss of time due to MOC studying and test taking (which is unproven to improve care) of physicians with patients or loss of physicians due to not passing MOC. This most likely has hurt underserved areas with underserved and more likely complicated patients with multiple comorbidites.
If a physician does not pass MOC and then has issues of depression, suicide or issues secondary of not complying with MOC then the physician becomes a patient; ergo he/she is a consumer and MOC hurts the consumer.
If there are any letters from insurance companies or hospitals stating that they do not recognize NBPAS and only the ABIM then by limiting the talent pool with their restrictions, this can be construed as prejudicial and also not allowing consumers to have more options to pick their physican. This would seem to be harmful to the consumer and monopolistic.
If there are enough stories of physicians who have been harmed/embarrassed then this could be also harmful as they are now patients too. The analogy is when volkswagon had emissions problems with their software. one could no directly prove harm but there were mathematical models that the increased pollution did harm. The second analogy is that most individuals know climate change is a problem but can one directly prove that hurricane Irma was directly caused by it.
This case is so important to the health of the United States. It is vital to every patient and physician.
Where are the media advocates speaking for "we the people" to stir up the passion for change that brings real equity, fairness and human rights back into the lives of patients and the sacred profession of medicine?
Where are the dozens of Amicus briefs that should have been filed with the court already by attorney advocates for patient and physician rights?
Why hasn't the president spoken about this? Where are our Senators and Congressman?
Why is the common will of the people (physician and patient) being ignored, thwarted again and again about this urgent concern -- to have more physicians available to more patients.
Isn't it all so very direct and simple if one is not conflicted professionally and being bought off with MOC money.
One of the core problems with the health of the nation is corruption and the existential greed at the heart of ABMS cartel.
The professional medical politicians in charge of the medical boards, Chicago umbrella, medical societies and their infamous partner NGOs have become conflicted beyond belief. They swim like fish in dirty pools of water.
If the Department of Justice, along with the federal courts, cannot see the ABMS corruption clearly and continue to ignore or do nothing to relieve the useless suffering and daily burdens of patients and physicians, then we have a grave problem with the DOJ and judicial system in this country.
They are turning blind eyes toward the monopolistic power of the elites, and deaf ears toward the very people they should represent and protect from harm, but do not.
It harms the public because MOC does not train physicians how to treat environmentally caused disabilities. Quite the opposite. The Choosing Wisely campaign has elements that are written by those who serve as insurers' expert defense witnesses in toxic torts. Policies and physician educational materials are sometimes written to lend false credibility to the insurers' experts in toxic torts. Physicians who do not adhere to the bogus guidelines are sometimes punished by having their licenses revoked. AAPS has prior experience in this realm via their lawsuit against the Texas Medical Board.
From the ABMS Office of Investigations, Director's Chair
MOC is an advanced form of MOB, one degree higher than your typical organized crime, which also has its insiders in government and knows how to push the buttons of the judicial system.
(Or they just press hard on you - mentally, emotionally or physically.)
MOC means "maintenance of cash" through "maintenance of control", i.e., MOC, "maintenance of certification", has everything to do with the "maintenance of corruption".
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