Friday, March 02, 2018

ABMS, Online Testing, and Breaches of a Physician's Right to Privacy

Are the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) violating US physicians' right to privacy through their online certification process?

Who is in charge of ABMS/ABIM testing security?

ABIM has been advertising Maintenance of Certification® (MOC®) using two-year assessments in the "privacy of your home or office." They are avoiding the obvious fact that they are not ready and the platform is wholly untested for the theft of identity, credit cards, bank accounts, email content, patient information, and the whole gamut of personal and professional information. 

If the American College of Cardiology (ACC) is involved with the ABIM to promote their products, then they, too, are either totally ignorant of this or purposefully turning a blind eye to this reality.

Recall that ABIM's former Direector of Test Security was never formally disclosed to physicians in 2008, nor was his departure from ABIM last year. That individual used an online alias that never hinted at his past nor disclosed his relationship with the shady test security firm, Caveon, with whom the ABIM is using for their (unsecure) Knowledge Check-in's. It was only after a Puerto Rican physician who was sued by the ABIM for possible copyright infringment (a case which they lost), that the true identity and troubling background of ABIM's Test Security Director became known. That Test Security Director's also worked (works?) for Caveon. Caveon uses a former Ballard Spahr (ABIM's legal team) lawyer, Mr. Marc Weinstein, to target test-takers they feel may have cheated. This opens a huge Pandora's Box of concerns for physicians who undergo online "continuous certification." The potential to ruin a physician's hard-earned reputation and professional credibility on the basis of an online proctor's insinuation of an errant keystroke pattern or suspicious gaze during testing without due process is real. And Caveon's system test security system offers no credible safeguards against identity or credit card theft, or mirror-imaging of our computer's files or keystrokes for their purposes.

Are physicians really going to allow such testing tactics to occur in our own homes?

Not only no, but hell no.

This MOC® craziness has to stop. It is now officially violating physicians' civil liberty protections.



Belmont Report and MOC said...

Justice delayed is justice denied

Invasion of privacy and destruction of constitutional rights with the possibility of data theft!

These are real issues for docs and their patients, and instead of making propaganda to remake the broken brand, the ABIM should be held to the task with hard questions asked from their clients, legislators, department of justuce and from the media. These issues need addressing now, not later. The ABIM should be taken to court over this. A federal court needs to issue a ban on MOC and two-year testing until facts are known. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Anonymous said...

We really don't have disclosures from the ABIM ever about the things that truly matter. They whine aobut reporters who are "shrill" and use a litany of lame excuses to never respond to hardball questions. They only know how to play softball with their own media contacts when the questions and answers are prepared and known in advance. This should be investigated by proper authorities how they control the flow of information and pertinent facts.

Anonymous said...

Two-year ABIM MOC testing and the dangers involved (not forgetting that it's coerced on us)

I think there should be a full disclosure about who and what they are using in terms of personnel and platforms to invade our lives and professions. We were told by the ABIM that the first two-year "Knowledge Check-in" would not count. Now we know why.

It appears we are being used in a beta test experiment (guinea pigs and rats) without being informed or pertinent facts disclosed. Again the ABMS has physicians held virtually at gunpoint without a right to work if we do not participate. Unless one is grandfathered, which is discrimination.

Anonymous said...

What is ABIM/ABMS policy and what is their actual practice about upholding privacy and maintaining our civil rights under federal and state laws? What waivers of these rights are we expected to sign "at gunpoint" in their extortion racket called MOC?

Anonymous said...

This whole certification process has gotten out of control. It does not make anyone better off -- patient or physician -- it just makes everyone angry. When is it going to stop!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Baron's Hail Mary Pass

It is too late in the game to fix a totally broken team. (Team ABIM/ABMS)

They have fumbled the ball too many times to be trusted in a professional league. Dr Baron has simply run out of time. The ABIM is for all practical purposes defunct. They did it to themselves by cheating and going behind the backs of referees to do it all.

We all know what they have done for decades and in the most recent decades in particular. It just does not sit well with anyone who has even an inkling of it all. From the condo purchase to political strong arming using felons and dirty lawyers who violate us. It's is no different than hiring underworld figures to influence elections. It is illegal.

It all has to stop now. MOC has to stop.

Madhu said...

I heard that Dr. Baron worked formerly (trained decades ago) at Bellevue Hospital. I thought they had a reputation of treating people better than this. Whatever Baron did in the past he has certainly been compromised ethically, while daring to utter the word ethics in his "lectures" and "interviews".

Of all people Richard Baron should know better than keep using physicians and patient data illicitly or not. It is ethically wrong. Morally decrepit. It is wrong, I agree to keep conducting experiments on us or our patients. It is wrong to risk our data to unproven and untested platforms and people we do not know. New start ups, for example. Or older ones. There are legal documents that expose things hidden from the public as you say.

Now in this latest round of stupidity, Dr. Baron (one of those lifelong professional medical politicians who pretends to be a doctor) is literally using unproven testing platforms. He is frankly doing work for testing and security interests in order to test for bugs in their platforms which I understand are completely untested and may be full of security holes.

And we know nothing about the untested and unvetted third parties that Dr. Baron is contracting with. This is very shady and puts Dr. Baron in the worst possible light as a purveyor/pusher of unproven MOC theories and technologies to turn a quick buck to stay afloat and pay his humongous and totally unjustified salary.

ABIM's financials show near insolvency. This is not just my opinion. If Dr. Baron is doing all this to justify his own enormous paycheck and that of his cronies at the ABIM then it needs to be investigated.

The high overhead of executives at the entire ABIM elite (and ABMS medical boards and their umbrella organization in Chicago) pushes the envelope for finances at the ABIM. This is the reason that the costs for certification are so high and re-certification was invented. For financial gain and profit. And political ambitions to be fulfilled. This too needs to be investigated and indictments handed down. The entire ABMS is involved in price-fixing and restraint of trade. IT is a monopoly. The feds need to enforce the laws on the books and judges need to pay attention to the dire need to do so in existing cases.

Keen said...

In a desperate condition one wonders what foolish things will be done at the expense of hard working physicians who are largely uninformed about the fraud/malfeasance that is taking place right under their noses.

All this "work to improve" is all about the money and control which is slipping through their fingers rapidly. This "listening and improvement" is a total farce. It is being done in behalf of partner companies at physician and patient expense.

The whole reform at the ABIM is about preparing ruses. Misstatements and misdirection to thwart off real vulnerability and attacks from the media and authorities, who should be on to the ABIM and ABMS by now.

15/20 said...

Dr. Baron is walking a thin legal line and possibly moving outside the parameters of what is legal. There are potential repercussions and legal liability that I expect to ensue from this latest round of controversy coming from the ABIM.

It is just the latest financial escapade and personal insanity that the ABIM proposes in order to get out of financial and ethical hot water. (And the twilight zone of legal nightmare they and we must live daily.) MOC offerings and the "changes" offered are all a ploy to distract everyone with two-year testing. It is not an improvement it is a devolution of a practice whose time ran out long ago. MOC should have been stopped dead in its tracks years ago. But then the ABMS bribed the older doctors who should have put their foot down immediately in the late 1980's and early 90's.

The ABIM and ABMS want to slip this latest educational impostor past physicians and the public before anyone has time to blink. This is their entire modus operandi for years at the ABIM.

Taxman said...

It is totally reprehensible imo to use advertising firms or hire former advertising agents at the ABIM to misrepresent reality and market products which are unsafe for the public. MOC has been exposed and really needs to be ferreted out by the authorities at the highest levels. The ABIM pretends to be a higher authority when they are just a well-connected proxy for the healthcare industry and special interests.

ABIM has recent partnerships with Wolters Kluwer UpToDate and a longstanding one with Pearson Vue. They have people working in high level positions masquerading as Chief Medical Officers, who worked most of their careers for Wall Street mergers and acquisitions. They have political operatives in a charade of musical chairs playing at being "chiefs of staff". What kind of game are they playing. These busisness relationships and employees who don't belong need to be disclosed fully with correspondence and memos made known to us. We need to see contracts.

It has come to the point that we no longer trust, nor should we, the ABIM or the rest of the dubios medical boards.

We also want to know what the IRS wants to know if the ABIM or ABMS are really non-profit organizations providing a real service to the public. Or if they are a self-serving for profit business serving insurers, big pharma, political parties, and making big profits, at physicians expense, to pay themselves high salaries. It is obvious to this blogger that like many others that have been exposed recently for cheating, the ABIM without any doubt falls into this category of cheaters.

Dr. Baron should be asked to resign as should the head of the other medical boards, and recently appointed ABMS chief who keeps silent about all this as well.

AntiMOC Doc said...

Totally unacceptable. I second your "HELL NO" to this MOC mess. It is all seven steps in reverse.

Anonymous said...


Ending Harm said...

Dr. Baron, there is one vital thing that anyone who was rational, had a backbone and did not prostitute themselves out for money would do.

That one vital and necessary thing is to end mandatory MOC now. MOC has opened up a Pandora's box of nightmarish conditions full of onerous, insane, and redundant requirements for physicians.

Most importantly it literally limits access to care for the patients who depend on us. Patients have a right to care!

We lead by example. It is time for real leadership and not cowardly submissiveness.

I beleive Dr. Fisher is showing us how to be true to the profession and the public.
He is showing us how to lead by example with integrity. He and countless others have been attacked for pointing out the corruption and how wrong MOC is for the profession.

It is time to really listen and act on what Dr. Wes and hundreds of thousands of other physicians are saying and believe is right. We all believe MOC is wrong. We all want MOC as a mandate to end.

There are literally millions of lives at stake.

Dr. Baron, you cannot blame this on the insurers and hosptials or any of the other partners which you and others within the ABMS have worked with to create and establish MOC, such as the NCQA.

End MOC! It is the only rational course of action to take and it is the moral thing to do when we face the facts and look within at who we really are and what we truly believe in.

MOC is about the money. MoC is about control not self-regulation. MOC is manipulative and it has abused all who come into contact with it.

MOC has literally ruined lives and it ruins the integrity of all who touch it in the profession at every level, especially the ones who sell MOC at the executive level to the the public for obscene amounts of money.

Let's return to the beginning, to fundamentals and to our roots. Make certification for life once more, and make it so for every physician. Then we will have true self-regulation again.

20/20 views said...

The ABIM/ABMS is objectively speaking one crazy sour pie with four and twenty odd birds baked inside.

When the pie is cut open the birds begin to sing what a crazy dish the ABMS is indeed.

We can clearly see that the ABMS pie is comprised of 90% psychosis with an appropriate dollop of propaganda heaped on top. Their unsavory fabrications, which they keep inventing at huge expense to "physician clients", are directed primarily at themselves (the fabulously rich executives) in order to maintain their continuous state of disengagement with reality.

I'm not sure what fills the remaining 10% of the pie, but it certainly has nothing to do with science or education.

Anonymous said...

Skimming the cream!

MOC: the beginning of the end! said...

ABMS MOC brought about the deliberate demise of self-regulation and continuous learning in the profession of medicine . . . . the death of continuous learning (CL) and self-regulation (SR) began with the rise of autocratic external ABMS rule.

MOC produces an opposite reaction (result) to the stated ABMS objectives. said...

MOC is the epitomy of Einstein’s rule that “insanity is to continue doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Lisa said...

Shortly before JFK was assassinated he expressed concern about a plan to enslave every American. If anyone thought he was BSing then I think he's been vindicated.

The intrusive surveillance is going on in almost all areas possible. Are they going to try to protect physicians from identity theft, for example? When you think about the recent Equifax breach it almost seems like there is an intentional plan to expose everyone's data, call it a breach, but then they can study us all as lab rats.

Was Obamacare really going to be great for all Americans? Of course not: the main point is that the government gets to collect copious amounts of detail on all patients, physicians and other providers (Yup, I know you hate that term but you must admit not everyone is a doctor whose going to be an eligible provider, and you would have a hissy fit if we said 'ok let's just call everyone a doctor')

The real beauty of ACA is that CMS is the easiest fraud money--not for the doctor whose got to put up with all kinds of hassles for the low reimbursements to treat the patient who in turn has the lowest value per dollar of any other possible system. No, the shell corporations make the big bucks, low overheads as they aren't seeing any patients or having to deal with other burdens that physicians go through. Do I have proof? No, just seeing how this is set up though I know some of the money is going that way and CMS is not going to catch on. Billing outsourced to Pakistani and Indian companies, yes that sounds valid, but some of that is probably funding Al-Quaida and other terrorist groups.

If you really think about it, and about everything we've seen the government do, I challenge anyone to find someone who would be surprised we don't fund terrorism this way. Judicial Watch seems to catch on to more of what we expect the DOJ to be hard at work on. Face it, we're sort of lucky questionable asset seizures are taking place instead of chasing people around the bathroom.

Every physician has been turned into a data-entry clerk to database detailed information about every patient so we can all be studied as lab rats. We are moving toward more "population health" mentality where you have to get treated only for what the group is being treated for. So have the flu now or don't go to a doctor and bother anyone with crap that's outside of what's trending. It's like "soup of the day" so stop trying to take a patient history to determine what the diagnosis is, because that's not how we're doing medicine anymore. This way there can be more nurse practitioners to replace doctors, because only the specials will be done that are appropriate to the group of population not people and patients.

The mortality rate keeps going up since the government decided we would "help everyone" and do ACA, which ended up increasing the cost of healthcare beyond what we could have thought or imagined. Now they're "doing more" about opiod crisis, so I wonder if you have the flu at some point and that's not trending will you get referred to an addiction treatment center? There will probably be a few that happens to. It helps to just say it, put it out there, in writing, and perhaps people will be embarrassed at some point and we'll stop doing things in a stupid way.

I'm still getting Experian alerts that appear to be bogus because Equifax breach helped create a greater fear-market. It's trending...

Anonymous said...

HELL NO!!! The intrusion and control are just getting worse (not surprisingly). They would because they could. Just like ALL abusers. ABMS/ABIM HAVE to be dismantled, not just MOC. It is rotten to the core.

Anonymous said...

The betrayal is deep and broad, which reflects the rotten core at the ABIM/ABMS.

Yes, the corruption and abuse go way beyond MOC.

Who in their right mind would hire a violent felon with a history of abusing civil liberties as a bad cop (before being terminated by DC Metro Police for such abuses) to deliberately intimidate and willfully violate physicians' rights and sacred privacy. It is way beyond MOC.

There should have been a minimum of 50 indictments handed out by the justice department lodged against the ABIM and its executive along with the rest of the ABMS beginning in 2009.

Richard Baron was right there with Christine Cassel, Lynn Langdon, Kevin Weiss, Bob Wachter, and Eric Holmboe, in the thick of it - along with all the other executive at the ABMS and its member boards who were and still are acting outside the margins of the law in an abuse of power and engaging in unfair trade practices.

It is also unprecedented that so-called thought leaders like Chris Cassel, Bob Wachter, and Rich Baron are still allowed to practice medicine or remain certified. But that just shows you how deep the corruption really is. Every board member covers up this corruption, to the last man and woman at all the specialty boards. They have been pimping for special interests and maintaining enterprises engaged in racketeering and irregular business alignments right along side the executives. And they approve and maintain the offensive salaries that continue to put member boards such as the ABIM at or near insolvency.

MOC is the tip of the iceberg of this scandalous lot who use the member boards as shell corporations for self-dealing and political machinations in complete and total violation of the law.

What is also unprecedented is how physicians are in such a sorry condition today that they have to bend over and take it. State legislatures should ban MOC in every state and territory and then after that have the attorney generals of each state investigate the corruption and giving out indictments to those involved at the the ABMS, ACGME, AMA and other collaborative associates in collusion with insurance companies and certain large hospital association and corporations.

This sick game which the ABMS and ACGME deals in along with elite core entities associated with the AMA has gone on far too long. Who is going to clean house when it is such a mess.

Anonymous said...

Are the state medical boards corrupt too? Why are they not intervening on such obvious issues of patient access, harm to other physicians and corruption of such high proportions? These complaints and concerns have hopefully been sent to the medical boards. It will be a dark time for them too when all find out they were negligent in their fiduciary responsibilities.