Sunday, January 05, 2014

American Board of Internal Medicine Changes Governance

Recently, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced "new policies to include non-internist and public members in ABIM governance."

Internists and subspecialists in medicine everywhere should wonder why.

The reason posited by the ABIM was the following:
"These historic governance changes recognize that although ABIM is of the medical profession, our primary responsibility is to the public, to our patients,"  said Dr. David H. Johnson, Chair of the ABIM Board of Directors (editor's note: very strange quote, if I might say). “ABIM's obligation is to ensure that our policies and programs are meaningful to both physicians and patients. Without the public voice, we don't have the full picture we need to meet that obligation and fulfill our mission.”
What could possibly go wrong?

Once again, we see the insidious creep of the ethic of caring for the collective superseding the ethic of caring for the individual.  Rather than physician organizations fighting tooth and nail for our patient's best interests in our new hostile environment hellbent on either cost savings or profiteering, the ABIM has acquiesced to a more "socially-conscious" ethic that places the needs of a certain collective (perhaps one that funds the organization?) before the needs of our individual patients and their doctors.  Is this just so they can remain politically relevant?

Perhaps this move is in preparation for the deployment of the mostly non-physician Independent Payment Advisory Board that will begin to make health care rationing decisions on the basis of "cost-effectiveness" in 2015. Perhaps it is so the doctors-members of the ABIM can feel better about their their abandonment of their physician membership in favor of appearing "inclusive" as they become a money-making CME-granting body.

Either way, doctors should understand whom the ABIM has officially abandoned with this governance change in spite of the spin: our patients.

And that, quite frankly, is a shame.



Unknown said...

Agree completely.

Anonymous said...

"... our primary responsibility is to the public, to our patients," said Dr. David H. Johnson, Chair of the ABIM Board of Directors

If they felt any responsibility, they should unequivocally demonstrate their ridiculous MOC program actually accomplishes something for the public. As is stands, it appears the only thing MOC accomplishes is revenue generation for the ABIM.

Anonymous said...

If they truly felt any responsibility to the public, they would unequivocally demonstrate their MOC process actually accomplishes something "for the public" and is not just for ABIM revenue generation

Anonymous said...

I can only agree with Dr Wes and the working physicians that the whole MOC process is contrived to make money. The ABMS and ABIM are pyramid schemes designed to extort cash from the physician base and inflate the apical players pocketbooks and egos. The only thing they offer is "confidence" offered to unsuspecting patients and physicians through their certificates and as such are the ultimate "confidence scheme" and con artists I know.

Anonymous said...


Regarding Dr. Johnson's pathetic "desperate odd-fellow society" proclamations, allow me the artistic license of paraphrasing a line from The Shawshank Redemption:

"Board Certified? It's just a bullshit word. So you go on with your MOC requirements, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit."

That's my attitude. I'm finished with the game. If Board Certification is synonymous with competency, then why isn't the Chief Architect of ACA himself, none other than Ezekiel Emanuel, board certified? (Source:

Anonymous said...

Maintenance of Certification must go: One physician's viewpoint
Publish date: JAN 23, 2014 Print
By: Paul M. Kempen, MD, PHD
- See more at:,0#sthash.iiLoEJfG.dpuf