Physicians have long argued that before 1990, board certification was an independent and generally-accepted assessment of the quality of their post-graduate specialty training. After 1990, however, ABMS board certification became two separate products: (1) an assessment of their post-graduate training and (2) a "continuous professional development" (CPD) product tied to their original post-graduate training assessment.
The logic for this two-product theory is simple. Before January 1, 1990, the CPD product was truly voluntary for physicians to perform. But after a trial run of this voluntary testing, fewer and fewer physicians opted to participate in the program in large part because of its unproven value and expense. To counter the declining enrollment, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) "Task Force" (and eventually all other ABMS member boards) decided to tie participation in the ABMS CPD product to the validity of a physician's initial assessment of their post-graduate training:
"Thus, the stage was set for the Board to embark on a new era in which its diplomates would be asked, but not required, to renew the validity of their certificates at periodic intervals or face the uncertain circumstances of loss of their status as certified internists, subspecialists, or holders of certificates of added qualifications."(1)It didn't matter if a physician had participated in other self-directed Continuing Medical Education (CME) on their own accord; unless a physician performed the ABMS-sanctioned CPD program, they would lose their original ABMS board certification credential and the privileges that credential imparts to physicians in terms of academic, professional, and economic value.
This tie between a physician's original post-graduate assessment and lifelong continuous professional development proved remarkably lucrative for the ABMS and their member boards. So much so, that the ABMS CPD program was later trademarked as "Maintenance of Certification®" (MOC®) and had its own profit line on ABMS member board tax forms. The tie was so lucrative, in fact, that the largest member board, the ABIM, created an undisclosed shadow organization, the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation (later renamed the ABIM Foundation) and secretly funneled tens of millions of dollars for nearly ten years without disclosing its existence to physicians and the public and purchased a $2.3 million condominium for themselves. After its public debut online in 1999, the ABIM Foundation later off-shored millions of those funds to the Cayman Islands in 2015.
Is it any wonder that physicians would be upset?
Yet here we are.
So far, the ABMS member boards have had exceptionally good fortune protecting their MOC® product in court, arguing before various district court judges that ABMS board certification is not two products that are illegally tied, but rather just one big "board certification" product.
Last week was no exception. The long-running lawsuit filed by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) suit against the ABMS was dismissed with prejudice. In addition, the antitrust suit field by two psychiatrists against the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) was similarly dismissed (along the same legal lines of the ABIM and ABR lawsuits) but WITHOUT prejudice. (The judge left room here for the original Complaint to be amended - perhaps because the ABR lawsuit was later amended and has been fully briefed but not yet decided).
It is interesting to this observer that there has been little fanfare in the media regarding these last two rulings in favor of the ABMS member boards. I suspect the ABMS and their associated specialty boards know that all eyes are on the ABIM antitrust lawsuit appeal recently filed. That appeal explains the two-product tie created by the ABIM clearly. Perhaps they'd rather not bring attention to that case that's due for oral arguments on the 23rd of October. So much hinges on the outcome of that case for both them and working physicians.
Irrespective of the cases outcome, however, the credibility and value of ABMS board certification has been tarnished forever. Given the revelation of the conflicts of interests and lucrative nature of ABMS board certification, rhe only way the ABMS brand could redeem itself is for a full accounting of all that has transpired against working physicians by these self-appointed non-representative academic physicians and the non-physicians corporate directors now at the helm of these lucrative ABMS specialty boards.
-Wes(1) Richard J. Glassock, MD, John A. Benson, MD, Robert B. Copeland, MD, Herman A. Godwin, MD, et al. Time-Limited Certification and Recertification: The Program of the American Board of Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-114-1-59
Moneyed interests/political agendas and its influence over the judiciary
I read this so-called "Amicus" to the court (below) regarding the ABIM MOC lawsuit. I was outraged as it is obviously funded and orchestrated by the same organizations and people that physicians and patients are seeking protection from - the ABMS and their association of lucrative 'MOC-enhanced' partners.
These are professional lobbyists and political campaign experts who wrote the Amicus. They are blatantly and wrongly trying to influence a federal appellate court judge without disclosing all their moneyed and political ties. For anyone familiar with the facts, ICE and their coalition puts up a thin veneer that wears thin very quickly. In fact the existence of their coalition (Pillsbury/ICE/ASAE) was originally organized to fight/surveil the folks and medical societies in the grassroots anti-MOC legislation movement. They did this almost secretive (clumsy) work originally in state legislatures in behalf of the ABMS/ABIM. Now they have shamefully moved over to trying to influence the judiciary.
There is a lot of money and power at stake for them, so it is no wonder they are walking on the margins of the law, trying to trip up the court with its flimsy arguments and legal shenanigans. In short they are paid for trying to prevent justice.
If that's not slimy enough, there's more.
Data on physicians and the anti-MOC legislative fights over the past few years were suppled to ICE/ASAE/Pillsbury by the ABMS/ABIM. They even have utilized some (dark) partners - also not disclosed. These organizations have hired "spy companies" like Caveon, which is based in Utah. Highly controversial company involved in spying on school kids in New Jersey. The ABIM/ICE utilize companies like Caveon advancing their corporate agendas. They do so by further invading the privacy and rights of physicians. Eroding the profession of medicine further. Google Caveon and ICE partnerships and ABMS/ABIM Caveon history.
ABIM strong arming? Abuse of power? Spying? Collecting and selling personal data? Yes to all of it. Even seizing property through influence over the courts? Yes. The ABIM/ABMS has a history of it. ABMS even has a for-profit company that comes in handy for that very purpose. It's called ABMS Solutions and it is based in Atlanta, GA.
The media has not covered any of this.
I hope the appellate judge has enough perspicacity and grit to see through the bullshit in this "Amicus". It is filled with corporate talking points, pure propaganda. It quotes and footnotes debunked in-house "science" - almost all of it paid for and written by employees of the ABIM/ABMS and their associates who have a history of shared board embers/executives.
All chasing after the same finite pool of money. This is why the Amicus Act is being drafted in Congress to prevent this kind of tampering/influence. Or at least expose it, by making it more transparent.
Sunshine law coming - "Amicus Act"
Fortunately, there is legislation that has been written by Congressional Democrats in the House to bring some sunshine and transparency to this unbridled lobbying and influence peddling of the judiciary. But unfortunately this legislation will come too late for this case. And from what I read of the legislation so far, it will let many organizations and individuals still fall through cracks. Perhaps even lobbying companies like ICE, ASAE, and their strong-man coalition ironically called "Pillsbury". Essentially these are professional K-street/Wall Street/Judicial lobbyists. Let's hope the Amicus Act is broad and expansive enough.
Let's hope that ICE, the ASAE, and their shadow organization "Pillsbury" is scrutinized and investigated for what appears to be obvious judicial tampering/inluence without proper disclosure. This is one strike immediately against the ABIM as appelee. The ABIM comes with a lot of baggage in this regard. The come to the courts with an obvious history of influence and ex-parte communications. And they have exhibited and uncanny influence over the media.
I suspect, this same kind of judicial tampering/propaganda/influence possibly influenced lower courts erroneous decisions Dismissals disregarding very obvious legal points showing little understanding the reality on the ground. There are in fact two products separate products. Certification and MOC and MOC has been tied to certification. Every physicians knows this. John Benson ABIM's president, even spoke of this himself. It was about creating a new revenue stream for the ABIM, just as 17 other had done already. 1991 when he retired from the ABIM, pensions/budges were on the line at OHSU where he became Dean that same year. His focus was on taking care of OHSU's dwindling finances due to the passage of Oregon's Measure 5 (real estate tax caps for education). But in that case he did not create a new revenue stream, they worked hard to cut budgets to balance the books. ABIM refused to balance the books. Instead they created MOC. Why? Not only did MOC create money for lucrative executive positions, it also created a lever of control over the professional labor force, which is what ABIM/ABMS' large corporate partners also wanted.
Some of the reality on the ground is this: ABIM in 2008/2009 hired a double-felons to investigate physicians and present "evidence" to the courts, which was tainted and manufactured by the ABIM in a "sting operation". The court record is clear. The ABIM executive signatures along side their undisclosed felonious spy/witness is telling. The felony convictions of their corporate hitman, which was never disclosed to the courts.
Read this Amicus for yourself and be shocked; it discourages any judge in the country from challenging non-governmental organizations/non-profits involved in the certification process. Why? Because the courts should not interfere and set a precedent for it. As though the graft that we know exists does not exist? That is ripe. Also they claim if the courts meddled with these profitable certification companies. it would set a precedent that might allow a plaintiff to get to first base and go through the discovery process.
They argue that such public disclosure would allow a certification company's delicate finances to be harmed by serious litigation.
Now we are hearing that these NGO's (like ABIM) which has been involved in obvious wrongdoing, are "too small to fail". They would fail by submitting them to the discovery process? What nonsense. They have taken tons of money from physicians and hoarded it away in foundation/piggy banks. Executives at ABIM make a point of stashing their deferred accounts in Cayman Islands investment funds. Golden parachutes.
Is anybody listening to this? The ABIM/ICE's thin legal veneer is almost totally fabricated, simply because they are afraid of being exposed. Executives at the ABIM are cashing in as we speak. Look at the tax returns. Those protected Cayman funds are being drawn upon according to tax filings. Where is the media? The silence tells a story too.
Will a million doctors with stories to tell be silenced by those who have a history of silencing them by mandating MOC and wielding influence over the judiciary and state legislatures. They are doing it again through paid actors/organizations like ICE/ASAE/"Pillsbury". Is this what the courts and the profession of medicine, and our country have succumbed to?
I don't think so, as you cannot silence a million doctors and the patients they serve forever. Patients also suffer from the consequences of MOC. The obvious harms of MOC are many, while the "science" supporting MOC has fallen deep into the chasm. Let's hope the appellate court is not dragged down willy nilly by hired lobbyists and in-house ABIM propagandists. The story that needs to be told in court needs an audience - an audience of their peers.
The ABIM "Amicus"
BRIEF OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVES,
THE INSTITUTE FOR CREDENTIALING EXCELLENCE,
AND THE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION COALITION
AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF APPELLEE
EAMON P. JOYCE*
CAMERON J. GIBBS
SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019
JERALD A. JACOBS
SHAW PITTMAN LLP
1200 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Counsel for Amici Curiae
July 13, 2020 *Counsel of Record
Case: 20-1007 Document: 31 Page: 1 Date Filed: 07/13/2020
CORPORATE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 26.1, counsel for amici
certify that amici do not have any parent corporations, and that no publicly held corporation owns 10% or more of their stock.
ICE Tax filings
ASAE (Note: this organization is involved in paid lobbying, political campaigning)
ASAE tax filings
ASAE Research Foundation tax filings (board members have personal monied interests in MOC)
PCC (coalition of the first two organizations ICE/ASAE using a DC/NY lawfirm ("Pillsbury" for short)
Moneyed interests (MOC has created a whole new industry with lucrative markets.)
Look at ICE partners at the 2020 Virtual Exchange. Many of them are ABIM's partners. Pearson, a British testing/media company has a multi-million dollar/multi-year contract with the ABIM highlighted on Pearson's tax forms. Pearson hires lobbyists to maintain that rich stream of addition testing income which MOC affords.
Strangely however Pearson Vue, a huge partner with ABIM/ABMS, does not appear as a major contractors in ABIM's tax filings. The testing "relationship" gets no mention whatsoever. Why? Is it because ABIM's lucrative "partnership" with Pearson would make the ABIM appear like a for-profit corporation in the eyes of the IRS and the public? Probably so. The MOC stream listed separately on their tax forms is on par with the certification revenue streams. Both separate listings, because they are two separate products/services.
Caveon is another sponsor of ICE. An ABMS/ABIM partner. ABIM's undisclosed felon head of their "bureau of investigations" worked for Caveon at the same time he worked for the ABIM.
Prometric another sponsor of ICE. (An ABMS partner. Promtetric also partners with Caveon.)
Money or quality?
MOC is overwhelmingly all about the money, creating a huge onerous distraction for physicians. Decades of market forces profiting from MOC - all being driven by propaganda, politics and bogus science.
More about ICE/ASAE/PCC/Pillsbury and the ABMSABIM financial partnership/relationship
ABMS MOC® [ABIM MOC®] ICE - exerting influence over state legislative affairs affecting MOC
Tom Granatir, Senior Vice-President, Policy and External Affairs, American Board of Medical Specialties
ICE, ASAE and Pillsbury (ICE 3rd edition Handbook)
ABMS - Tom Granatir and ICE/ASAE/Pillsbury/PCC counsel - Julia Judish
"Healthcare Regulation and Credentialing in an Anti-Regulatory Environment
Tuesday and Wednesday, December 10 and 11, 2019
Citizen Advocacy Center
First Floor Conference Room
1400 Sixteenth St. NW
Washington, DC 20036"
Pillsbury - Certification and Accreditation Law Handbook (published in 1992)
"A comprehensive legal review, in plain-English for non-lawyers as well as lawyers, of all issues arising in certification of professionals or accreditation of entities or institutions by non-governmental organizations. It is the Third Edition of the only book on these subjects, first published in 1992. The book addresses contracts, antitrust, due process, intellectual property, ADA and similar topics. Jerry Jacobs is the principal author; six other Pillsbury attorneys are co-authors."
Association mergers in a time of covid-19. Capitalizing on the pandemic.
Pillsbury/PCC looks to capitalize on economic disaster and garner business an environment of deregulation. (Trade associations count on live events for revenues. They are struggling from restrictions created by the novel coronavirus.)
Yet with physicians and the ABIM/ABMS they are forced to "voluntarily" pay in advance for MOC". They must pay for MOC whether they participate in lapsed testing during Covid or not!
ABIM has strangely operated on deferred accounting for decades with some claiming this kind of accounting is economically unviable. MOC creates a future revenue stream that is captured as current income on paper, although it is not yet received. Debt is transformed into income somehow. The accounting problems are exacerbated as executives pull millions of dollars out of the ABIM's corporate coffers every year. It has shown an acceleration as has been noted in the last publicly available filings. One sees the withdraw of funds/cash payouts have markedly increased for some top executives. Hidden in footnotes at the end of the filings. See below.
More hidden money out the door with a sweet 19% [Cayman Island] return as a bonus?
An early retirement "retention bonus"? for ABIM in-house research - granted to Rebecca Lipner?
AS PER INSTRUCTIONS FOR SCHEDULE J, COLUMN (F), FORM 990 INCLUDES
$302,270 "COMPENSATION IN COLUMN B REPORTED AS DEFERRED ON PRIOR FORM
COMPENSATION IN COLUMN (B)(III) OTHER REPORTABLE COMPENSATION - REBECCA
LIPNER, ABIM SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ASSESSMENT & RESEARCH:
IN 2016, ABIM MADE AVAILABLE TO CERTAIN ABIM EMPLOYEES AN EARLY
RETIREMENT SEVERANCE PACKAGE WHICH INCLUDED A PROVISION FOR YEARS OF
SERVICE. REBECCA LIPNER, ABIM SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF ASSESSMENT &
RESEARCH, QUALIFIED FOR THIS EARLY RETIREMENT SEVERANCE PACKAGE. IN AN
EFFORT TO ENCOURAGE HER TO STAY, ABIM OFFERED REBECCA LIPNER A
RETENTION BONUS TO REMAIN EMPLOYED WITH ABIM AS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
OF ASSESSMENT & RESEARCH THOUGH 6/30/2018. THE 2-YEAR AGREEMENT, SIGNED
IN MARCH 2016, PROVIDED FOR THE PAYMENT OF A RETENTION BONUS WITHIN 30
DAYS AFTER 6/30/18 IF CERTAIN TERMS AND CONDITIONS, AS PROVIDED IN THE
AGREEMENT, HAD BEEN FULFILLED.
More deferred income out the door - taken early by CEO Richard Baron?
AS OF 6/30/18, THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS PROVIDED FOR IN THE AGREEMENT
HAVE BEEN FULFILLED.
IN COMPLIANCE WITH TERMS OF THE SIGNED AGREEMENT, IN JULY 2018, ABIM
RESEARCH, A ONE-TIME RETENTION BONUS IN THE AMOUNT OF $300,000.
AS PER INSTRUCTIONS FOR SCHEDULE J, $300,000 WAS INCLUDED ON SCHEDULE J
PAID REBECCA LIPNER, ABIM SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF ASSESSMENT AND
COLUMN (B)(III) "OTHER REPORTABLE COMPENSATION" FOR REBECCA LIPNER.
PART I, LINE 7:
ABIM HAS A BONUS POOL FOR TOP EXECUTIVES. THE BOARD EVALUATES THE
PERFORMANCE OF EACH EXECUTIVE BASED ON PRE-ESTABLISHED OBJECTIVES FOR A
COLUMN (F) - RICHARD BARON, ABIM CEO:
GIVEN YEAR AND THEN DETERMINES WHETHER A BONUS IS APPROPRIATE.
COMPENSATION IN COLUMN (B) REPORTED AS DEFERRED ON PRIOR FORM 990 -
BECAUSE UNPLANNED CEO TRANSITIONS ARE DISRUPTIVE AND EXPENSIVE FOR
ORGANIZATIONS, IT IS A COMMON FEATURE OF CEO CONTRACTS TO CREATE
RETENTION INCENTIVES TO ENCOURAGE THE CEO TO COMPLETE THE CONTRACT. THE
5-YEAR EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT FOR ABIM CEO, RICHARD BARON, PROVIDES FOR
ANNUAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO A DEFERRED COMPENSATION PLAN, WITH THE BALANCE
TO BE PAID TO DR. BARON UPON THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF HIS CONTRACT
ON JUNE 30, 2018. THESE CONTRIBUTIONS HAVE BEEN REPORTED-BUT NOT
PAID-EVERY YEAR ON THE 990.
FOR YEARS ENDED 2014 THROUGH 2018, ON THE APPLICABLE ANNUAL FORM 990'S,
ABIM REPORTED BUT DID NOT PAY DEFERRED COMPENSATION, DUE TO RICHARD
BARON, ON SCHEDULE J COLUMN (C) "RETIREMENT AND DEFERRED COMPENSATION"
IN THE FOLLOWING AMOUNTS:
TOTAL 2014 TO 2018 $302,270
UPON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF HIS EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT, IN JULY 2018,
ABIM PAID RICHARD BARON, ABIM CEO, THE DEFERRED COMPENSATION REPORTED
BUT NOT PAID IN PRIOR YEAR'S ($302,270) AS WELL AS $55,537 INVESTMENT
EARNINGS ON THE DEFERRED COMPENSATION BALANCE. ON THE CURRENT FORM 990,
THE ENTIRE AMOUNT, $357,807, (INCLUDING AMOUNTS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED),
IS INCLUDED IN COLUMN (B)(III), OTHER REPORTABLE COMPENSATION.
Visa vs Osborne/ Osborne vs Visa (ABIM/ABMS and most or their "non-profit" associates are trade associations.)
This highly cited anti-trust case referenced above concerned "trade associations" setting rules for banks in order to increase ATM fee profits - while squeezing out competition. This case was significant enough for the ASAE to compel their association attorneys to file an amicus to the Supreme Court. One can see from this highly publicized case that the ASAE/ICE/PCC/Pillsbury have much greater concerns than just MOC. Their attempts to influence an Appellate Court Judge is revealing. If trade associations did not engage in anti-competitive activities there would be no need for the ASAE(dittos) to have a full-time legal team specializing in anti-trust issues/illegal acts and publish so much on the subject.
All the obvious judicial smokescreens seem to indicate there are a great number of illegal fires involving trade associations that are plain enough to see.
The ASAE had the following to say in 2016 just before the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear the case.
"The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the case, but the DC Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated it last August, ruling that Visa and MasterCard “member banks used the bank associations to adopt and enforce a supracompetitive pricing regime for ATM access fees.”
The argument was that members of the banking associations voted for particular board members, who then instituted ATM access fee rules with the purpose of protecting themselves and Visa and MasterCard from competition from alternate ATM networks, creating a conspiracy.
ASAE’s interest in the case concerns the legal rules governing associations and their members. In its amicus brief, ASAE argues that the appeals court decision means that member banks—or members of any association, by extension—can be found to be engaged in unlawful concerted action based on conduct that is inherent to being a member of an association, such as abiding by its rules or voting for its board members.
'The notion that these organizations and their members can be blamed for acting like associations, without any indication of complicit design, imperils the good that associations do and risks chilling the societal benefits that come with them,' the brief says."
[Much of the same chilling doublespeak that is found in the ABIM AMICUS from the ASAE/ICE/PCC-Pillsbury "coalition" addressed to Judges Kelly and Beetlestone. Such Amici of the court threaten to undermine justice by hoodwinking the judiciary.]
American Society of Association Executives (Founded
ASAE has a huge certification business of their own with 3-year renewals.
ASAE also offers a 401K plan for "organizations like yours".
Fabricated "facts"? Tampering with courts? Do we need a judicial review?
It's important to note that even though the ABMS, ABEM, ABOG, and ABP are members of ICE, they are not accredited by this organization or any other trade association involved in accreditation. These are unaccountable organizations as are the ABIM, ABR, and ABPN along with the rest of the ABMS medical specialty boards.
The ABMS/ABIM's relationship and history with ICE/ASEA/PCC is more than concerning. The conflicted nature of these organizations is more than clear when put under a spotlight. ICE/ASEA/PCC's egregiously conflicted attempts to influence state legislatures and judiciary using propaganda, talking points, and science fiction from the ABMS/ABIM negates much of the legal and ethical validity of ICE/ASEA/PCC. Such misconduct harms those many trade associations they claim to represent. I would object to this kind of unilateral behavior without consulting clients first.
Who is going to hold those who offer accreditation/certification services for the accreditation/certification trade associations accountable? This is quite an ugly legal/ethical mess they have created for themselves and their members, partners, and those they accredit and certify.
ICE MEMBERS LIST SNAPSHOT
***American Board of Emergency Medicine (American Board of Emergency Medicine) Other
American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) Healthcare: Other
American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) Healthcare: Other
American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) Other
***American Board of Medical Specialties Healthcare: Other
American Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry (ABMSP) Healthcare: Other
American Board of Nursing Specialties
American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) Healthcare: Other
***American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) Healthcare: Other
American Board of Optometry (ABO) Healthcare: Other
American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS) Healthcare: Other
***American Board of Pediatrics (American Board of Pediatrics) Other
American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) Healthcare: Other
American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (ABPLM) Healthcare: Other
American Board of Surgical Assistants (ABSA) Healthcare: Other
American Board of Toxicology, Inc. (ABT) Other
American Board of Wound Management (ABWM) Healthcare: Other
I hope the lawyers that are fighting ABIM, show that ABIM has physicians (maybe 20-30%) who only took the initial ABIM exam and are Board certified for the rest of their life. How can they say that the 2 products - initial and MOC are one product when some of their physicians took only the initial exam and are Board certified by them for life????
It's a court of law, not a court of justice.
It's a court of justice, which is the basis for all law. Judges bear the name Justice.
This is all about the bureaucratic physicians protecting their turf. Pure and simple. The certification industry is a multibillion dollar industry with a full corps of lazy, over paid, devious non clinical physicians trying to make a name for themselves. Rich Baron's annual salary almost doubled since 2014. NBPAS and anti MOC legislation were neutralized by this cohort of politicians whose sole purpose in life is to burden their colleagues with MOC. No one cares. There is too much apathy. Clinicians will fade away to be replaced by ANPs and PAs. One day when Baron and Nora and Chazal are old and looking for a clinician and that person is an ANP who never had to take MOC, what will they say then?
Is the ABIM keeping up with current changes in international privacy law?
Privacy Shield just took a big legal hit. (Privacy Shield is no longer valid in the EU, because an Irish court has ruled that US privacy law does not protect EU citizens according to the stricter privacy laws that EU citizens enjoy.)
Why don't we have equal or better privacy laws in the US?
I doubt if the ABIM and other medical specialty boards (who collect data globally and domestically) were ever in compliance with EU laws when you look at how they have disregarded the privacy of physicians and their patients here in the US. Shameless disregard for US laws and the right of individuals.
Were any of the medical boards ever certified with Privacy Shield? It is highly doubtful since the ABMS and 24 medical specialty boards have never been certified as trade associations with anyone. Never!
What is the problem for them with getting certified or accredited? Accountability! Plus they would not meet the ethical and legal standards which everyone else must adhere to as professionals running a trade association that sets standards.
Read what Dr. Wes Fisher, a very fine investigative journalist, wrote about data collection and the medical specialty boards. This is why physicians are in court fighting for their rights.
MOC is an illegal money grab; a stab in every physicians' back.
You can also see on the IRS website, which medical specialty boards (including the ABMS umbrella) have not earned that extremely important IRS letter of determination. Proof that they have gone through the rigorous IRS evaluation process to qualify as a non-profit "charity" or "public service" organization. You can see who claims to display form 1023, but in truth nowhere to be found.
The determination letter on the IRS site and display of form 1023 on a company's website means that they were put to the hardball test to see if they are meeting requirements and keeping up. It means a measure of compliance with current standards, laws and IRS rulings governing non-profits. If they don't have form 1023 displayed this often spells trouble for the public. Not having a form 1023 draws a red flag concerning their "mission" and what they actually told the IRS. One is reminded of the ABIM Foundation's "trust campaign".
What hypocritical propaganda and damaging disservice to the physician's oath.
We understand that the ABIM has misleading information on its website and by doing so betrays public trust. They claim to display this form 1023 on their website, but in fact they don't even possess a form 1023 to display. They never even went through the process to comply and assure the public. This is a hard ball company that takes no prisoners, yet they are playing softball among themselves in the back offices in terms of their own compliance.
Squatting on 80-year-old tax and privacy laws
A lot has changed since the 1930's with local, state and federal law. Many of the ABMS medical specialty boards are literally squatting on outdated laws that do not protect the public from self-dealing and predatory business practices. In other words they are grandfathered into their tax exempt status. Privacy violations involving digital collection of personal data was not even conceived of in 1936.
What does this mean?
Without that determination letter or form 1023 displayed, the ABMS and most of its medical specialty boards have not been reviewed by the IRS according to today's strict standards, rulings and laws. If they are not current with that form and letter, the ABMS/ABIM have not been held up in the bright light of current IRS review. If the ABIM or any of the board have not had that spotlight on them, it means they do not measure up with the higher degree of scrutiny and standards of today.
ABMS MOC's digital cash cows®
As we've seen with all the recent and past scandals and politically dumb decisions we can see they are not keeping up except with the collection of money and data. They are not compliant and acting in good faith. Otherwise there wouldn't be all the negative history, egregious conflicts of interest and so many other violations.
Privacy and constitutional rights have been trammeled upon, stomped into the sod. Physicians and patients have all suffered. ABMS MOC® and the monopoly game their quality cartel plays in concert has destroyed privacy. It has destroyed free markets. It has destroyed lives. MOC provides the digital grease to make their profits increase.
The data money grab
Without ABMS and medical specialty boards self-certifying with Privacy Shield nobody is protected from their tyranny and money grab. The ABMS, along with its for-profit subsidiaries have been involved in domestic and international data collection and sale/transfer of private data to third parties*.
Trade associations that skirt the law
Trade associations that skirt the law and fail to self-certify with Privacy Shield - which includes a legally binding pledge to follow privacy laws - should be banned from conducting business in the United States and anywhere else they operate in the world until they comply. Currently in the EU violators are fined a minimum of 20 Million Euros and must comply.
Self-certificaiton with Privacy Shield
The public cannot be assured until the whole of the ABMS takes that legally binding pledge with the US Department of Commerce's Privacy Shield.
Mandatory or voluntary change of 501(c)(3) status
It would be a good idea for legislation to be passed mandating that those 501(c)(3) organizations such as the ABIM, if they cannot voluntarily put their companies under IRS review and request a change in status from 501(c)(3) to 501(c)(6) companies, which would automatically qualify them for self-certification with Privacy Shield.
IRS, DoC, ITA, FTC review
Given the large amounts of data collected both domestically and internationally, given what they do with that private information, including the massive sales of their data, we question whether there can be any qualifying 501(c)(3) companies among the 24 medical specialty boards, if a proper review by the IRS, FTC, Departments of Commerce, and International Trade Association ITA were performed. Because the ABMS and boards have turned into big data corporations it should be investigated for violations. If violations are found it should be mandated that they change their non-profit status in order to comply with self-certification and the laws they would be under with Privacy Shield.
International demand for privacy
To bring privacy compliance current the US and International Communities must reach out and contact their representatives and demand greater protection under the law. This includes the data collection activities and other commerce conducted by the ABMS, the 24 Medical Specialty Boards and ABMS' for-profit corporate subsidiaries. These subsidiaries include the for-profit ABMS Solutions, ABMS International, and ABMS Singapore.
People demand a higher standard of privacy, government agencies and courts should demand transparency and enforce compliance.
*including google analytics
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