But fear not, dear colleagues. I bring you tidings of great joy. The first great Supplemental Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit against the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) was filed yesterday that promises to renew the call for justice on the basis of proper legal procedural grounds:
Defendant American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (“ABPN”) illegally ties its initial certification product, which it sells to new doctors to demonstrate completion of their medical education and assess the quality of their residency program, and its MOC product, which it requires some older doctors, but not all, to purchase throughout their careers to demonstrate lifetime learning or forfeit their initial certification. ABPN brings to the court’s attention Kenney v. American Board of Internal Medicine, No. 18-5260, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164725 (E.D. Pa.Sept. 26, 2019) (“Kenney”), and Siva v. American Board of Radiology, No. 19 C 1407, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200645 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 19, 2019) (“Siva”). Kenney came first, followed by Siva which “agree[d] with the reasoning in Kenney.” Id. at *11.1The supplemental opposition to the ABPN motion to dismiss then outlines multiple legal reasons why the plaintiffs believe the decisions were wrongly decided. In essence, the attorneys are arguing that the facts in this case were not even allowed to be considered past the judges' chambers.
Nothing in those opinions changes ABPN’s unlawful conduct. A critical reading of the opinions and application of the universally accepted rule that well-pleaded factual allegations and all reasonable inferences therefrom must be taken as true compels the conclusion that Kenney and Siva were, respectfully, wrongly decided.1 The tying claims in Kenney were dismissed with prejudice without plaintiffs being allowed to amend, the court finding as a matter of law that separate products could never be alleged. Plaintiffs are appealing that ruling. The claims in Siva were dismissed without prejudice and plaintiff is filing an amended complaint on January 10, 2020.
We can anticipate that the multitude of moneyed interests behind Maintenance of Certification will stop at nothing to assure this unlawful program continues unchecked.
Still, a bit of hope and cheer is always welcome for working physicians this time of year.
P.S.: On a separate legal note:
Remember the Puerto Rican physician, Jaime Salas Rushford, MD, whom the ABIM revoked his board certification and dragged him through the court system since 2012 with a dismissed time-barred cheating claim while the President and CEO of the ABIM simultaneously failed to disclose her conflicts of interest with Kaiser and Premier Inc? Yesterday, the judge issued the following order to expedite the counterclaim suit filed against ABIM by Salas Rushford:
The American Board of Internal Medicine may file its motion for judgment on the pleadings no later than December 18, 2019. Dr. Salas-Rushford will respond no later than January 2, 2020. The Board may reply no later than January 9, 2020. The case schedule will be discussed at the scheduling conference to be held on January 31, 2020. Signed by Judge Francisco A. Besosa on 12/11/2019. (brc) (Entered: 12/11/2019)It seems that case will soon be coming to a head, too.
Readers wishing to support the brave physician plaintiffs involved in these lawsuits trying to end the unlawful Maintenance of Certification program are encouraged to contribute to their GoFundMe campaign.