Friday, July 05, 2019

Subject of Major Lawsuit, ABIM Struggles to Fill Positions

Seventy-three positions are needed for the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) to fulfill "a new governance structure," the ABIM announced on its blog July 2, 2019. True to form for this private organization: the need for a "new governance structure" and how that structure will impact working physicians is not disclosed. Will the ABIM have difficulty filling their positions?

It is lost on few in the medical community that the ABIM is struggling to survive. With its Maintenance of Certification program seen as little more than a revenue-generating scheme of little value to working internists coupled with a formidable class action anti-trust and racketeering lawsuit levied against the organization by four internists, the viability of this once-powerful physician certifying organization is being questioned.

And for good reason.

Trust in the integrity of the ABIM and other member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties that "grandfathers" older physicians' initial certification while forcing younger, more vulnerable working internists to fund the organization by paying larger and larger fees to "maintain" theirs, no longer exists.

The real question now is this: will the other members of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) that depend on the lucrative certification data gravy train keep the organization afloat?  Will politically powerful specialty society "collaborations" that have developed with the ABIM suffer the same fate?

-Wes

PS: Physicians can keep the pressure on the ABIM but continuing to contribute the the GoFundMe page created in support of the many physicians harmed by Maintenance of Certification.


19 comments:

Ed Rico said...

The separate US District Court actions of Kenney et al v. ABIM and Salas Rushford v. ABIM are the only “new governance structures” that ABIM needs. No new salaried positions with obscene compensation and retirement plans for ABIM insiders’ spouses, cousins, brothers-in-law, neighbors, fellow country club members or other cronies requiring obligatory fee increases will be necessary.

Lessons from history said...

In 1986 and 1987 ABIM executives and their "governance structure: engaged in closed meetings about the creation of MOC (maintenance of certification) behind the backs of the public and physicians. The purpose was to pad revenues/profits and increase executive compensation.
But where would they put all those new profits? So, in 1989 they secretly created a "foundation" to transfer money to without drawing suspicion from the IRS or the public.

In 1988, a year before the ABIM created their secret piggy bank called "American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation", some of their investment associates at Drexel Burnham Lambert were facing racketeering charges and eventually pleaded guilty to multiple felonies and paid one of the largest fines in history. ABIM invested with the surviving executives of that organization. 1838 Investment Advisors, which also went belly up. Needless to say Drexel had trouble filling their positions as well and declared went belly up.

Anonymous said...

ABIM under Dr. Baron is caught in a self designed trap. It demands the physicians to embrace transparency, austerity, and intellectual honesty. Yet its existential paradigm is hugely oxymoronic and rife with obvious hypocrisy. ABIM desperately deploys a double standard. The standard it uses for itself embraces monetary waste, outright lies and thuggish behavior. It has the audacity to command the clinicians to "Choose Wisely".

Rich Baron double downs and tragically seeks highly visible speaking engagements at Aspen and TED Talks bemoaning the lack of honesty in American Medicine. He rambles on and on in a monologue fit for a Greek tragedy. He sends a confusing message filled with non sensical anecdotes and irrelevant personal stories. Dr. Baron, you would definitely be the national expert in dishonesty in American Medicine as one of its major architects.

ABIM is under financial duress. It increasingly taps into graduating housestaff and fellows by jacking up their admission price for this 3 ringed circus. Baron is incapable of reducing his overhead. ABIM insists on a massively expensive corporate HQ in the heart of the most expensive real estate in Philly. Rich Baron is paid the same salary as a Neurosurgeon. It is besieged with a multitude of lawsuits spread across the country. Established physicians refuse to pay the MOC tax.

This represents a foreseeable tragedy that is on a trajectory designed, constructed and executed by the willfully ignorant ABIM leadership.

And yet only 1-2% of the physician population has contributed to the Go Fund Me page.

Shame on all of us.

Who's Afraid of the ABIM? (ABMS) said...

The ABIM is a puppet theater. MOC is shadow play full of ABMS propaganda (and fabricated political BS) to make money for themselves and some of the most lucrative parts of the medical industrial complex they serve.

For the ABMS, physicians and patients are there, not to be served (benefited/protected), but rather to be used for their own selfish purposes. Any 8-year-old child could see through the maintenance of certification ruse/shadow play. Why is it so difficult for physicians (who are obviously misinformed) and the public (who are literally uniformed) to wake up to this harsh and brutal reality. What would it take for physicians and patients to join together and do something about the ABMS three-ringed-MOC-shadow-circus before all are devoured. (When you are eaten it is too late. It is life not a video game.)

Just as in the story of the Three Little Pigs, any child knows you need to build a house of brick to withstand the forces that are trying to devour us. The lawsuits are part of the house of brick that physicians and the public need to protect themselves. There are many who have learned recently about the absolute abuse of power, corruption and corporate thuggery of the ABIM/ABMS. We hope that the investigations shed more light on the tragic situation, and that the court actions against the ABIM/ABMS will provide the relief we all are seeking and sorely need.

Looking at the difficult situation with the MOC battle and how many powerful forces/corporations/government revolvers there are trying to control, demoralize and "put the squeeze on" patients and physicians, it is vital that everyone comes together and contributes a solid piece of the "house of brick" that will aid in protecting us.

Stories and their endings are written by those who give their voice publicly and in private. Each of us is that brick that will build the house which can withstand "the wolf" and turn the tables on the betrayers who have taken over/invaded our house/profession/homes.

Contributing to the PPA legal fund (this could also stand for Patients and Physicians of America) is and integral part of giving one's voice to help end the assault that is taking place against patient and physician rights. MOC inhibits the right to receive care and restricts the right to work. We need to be free of a governance structure that has gotten away from itself and its core mission of providing medical specialty certifications. The ABMS with its penchant for MOC money and the political power it provides them has morphed into a cleptocratic monopoly that virtually harms everyone.

Unknown said...

The ABMS is the Enron of US healthcare and is now perceived to be disreputable and fraudulent by all except its dwindling band of die hard shill supporters. As discovery proceeds in the handful of lawsuits with more on the way its structural supports will weaken with the resulting collapse of this rotten edifice being sudden. Never again can US physicians allow their "governance" to fall into the hands of such an egregiously thieving rabble. Board certification must return to being lifetime with other board organizations being encouraged to enter the marketplace. The ABMS monopoly must be destroyed. State mandated CME can be the only continous certification metric going forward.

minuteman said...

The ABIM and ABIM Foundation should stop blocking comments on their public media sites. Or they may be getting lawsuits for violating freedom of speech.

Ed Rico said...

Minuteman: The First Amendment protects free speech only from restriction/interference by the government. Speakers have no First Amendment protection of free speech against private corporations, such as ABIM. Yet another reason why self-appointed, unelected, unaccountable organizations like ABIM should never hold this degree of control over physicians and the public.

Executive Parking on Walnut Street? said...

Busing and the ABIM (Your MOC fees at work in the high rent district of Philly!)

While physicians are being marched to the back of the bus politically and financially via MOC mandates, executives at the ABIM choose luxury over cost savings. More examples of waste, elitism, and fuzzy math entries on their tax forms.

ABIM must be hustling to get their muddled tax manipulations in order for the lawsuits/courts. It is clear from recent tax filings that ABIM even paid some penalties on under-reported taxable fringe benefits recently. This time the manipulations appear to be executive parking benefits (and transportation). Looks like the benefit paid out exceeded the IRS allowance.

I wonder which top executives are raking in this financial perk for parking in downtown Philly? It is a considerable sum. And pocketing the savings at physicians' expense. You'd think they'd try to cut down on expenses and be sensible by moving out of the high rent district where you have to pay outrageous rent. Plus on top of that humongous lease they are dishing out excessive amounts of physicians' MOC money for fringe benefits such as executive parking. Can't the executives pay out of pocket for their parking with their obscene salaries or take the bus like everyone else?

The ABIM is creating a large carbon footprint in Philly, while hoarding/wasting finite resources just for their own vain outdated ideas about themselves as a privileged class.
Same "buy a condo with chauffeur and luxury town car" kind of dim thinking.

Has the ABIM changed? Are they changing? Not in the slightest. They are getting worse and even colluding with medical societies to maintain the MOC gravy train.

990-T
https://www.irs.gov/government-entities/federal-state-local-governments/qualified-parking-fringe-benefit

Anonymous said...

More double speak from the ABIM's "peripatetic CEO" (and President)

Brace yourself for more BS from the ABIM's Dr. Baron on "trust". After a recent TedTalk (Windy City) and Aspen Ideas Festival in CO., this time other cronies are publishing their disinformation campaign/diversion tactics in the NEJM. July 11, 2019, Page 182.

After systematically destroying trust in physicians for financial and political reasons since the dawn of the new millenium, the ABIM is now trying to give the final death blow to physician trust by telling us we need to get to know our patients through collecting personal data on them, just like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple do for their clients

Anonymous said...


Many people report being blocked from making comments on ABIM/ABIMF's social media. That's a suicidal decision on their part as it goes against theri recent claims of transparency and being a "transformed" organization. Blocking is another aspect of controlling the narrative through propaganda, obfuscation, disinformation and stonewalling.

Anonymous said...

Even on their commercial site when making email inquiries, it is rare to get a response from them. Why is that? This lack of response goes for requests concerning personal account related matters as well.

Atticus Finch said...

The ABIM/ABMS has helped create a new vulnerable population in the United States. Physicians.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_K._Cassel

Anonymous said...

The only way to transform the ABIM is to painfully engage it as an insider. Take Wes' update for what it's worth. Everyone should apply for these open positions. Throw the bums out.

ABMS MOCSTERS said...

"Corporate baggers" living large at our expense.

Hardly the bum's modus operandi to buy condos, offshore millions to the Cayman's, and gift the former CEO of the ABIM over 1.7 million in her last year. Big money for Chris Cassel and now Rich Baron to pratice "partisan politics" in DC and appoint/groom their own unaccountable cadre of corrupt professional medical politicians.

Robber Baron's "of the Profession" said...

Corporate proxies working for the elites and not the public's well being.

Premier Politicians said...

Certifiably corrupt for life and thumbing their noses at us from their corporate campuses.
Certification is for the masses working in the trenches and certainly not them!

OnlyBoth and the Benchmine of Publlc and Private Data Collection/Sharing/Analysis said...

People Who Are Into Politics and Profiteering From It

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/onlyboth-inc-launches-new-hospital-benchmarking-engine-300704941.html

Christine Cassel and the Marketing of Quality (Consumer Friendly Data Points)

"Having been deeply entrenched in the quality of care movement over the last two decades, I see how important transparency is to performance improvement," Dr. Cassel said. "But transparency only works if consumers and providers alike find the information accessible and meaningful. Automated benchmarking technology provides a clear means for providers to access comparative performance data, and has the potential to change how consumers access reliable provider performance data as they make choices about care." - Christine Cassel

Hospitals and Nursing Homes
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/onlyboth-inc-launches-innovative-technology-to-transform-nursing-home-benchmarking-and-deliver-performance-transparency-300597525.html

NQF ADVANTAGE PLUS said...

Foxes In the Henhouse

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/onlyboth-discovers-unique-comparative-improvement-insights-across-us-hospitals-300832339.html

https://www.cms.gov/medicare/quality-initiatives-patient-assessment-instruments/qualitymeasures/index.html

Unknown said...

AnonymousSun Jul 21, 11:37:00 AM CDT

"The only way to transform the ABIM is to painfully engage it as an insider. Take Wes' update for what it's worth. Everyone should apply for these open positions. Throw the bums out."

I disagree. Only route is to refuse MOC, let your faux ABMS certification lapse, and practice unbound out of network with insurers at a hospital not in thrall to ABMS. The ABMS is now far too rotten and corrupt for internal "transformation." Nothing ventured nothing gained. Join NBPAS or just behave as a de facto grandfathered non MOC compliant certificate holder. Physicians, awake from your slumber and get off your godamn knees!