Friday, January 16, 2015

Grass Roots: It's Time To Take Action on MOC

As many long-term readers of this blog are aware, because of concerns over its coercive nature, I have been investigating the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program implemented in large part by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) since studying for my third round of re-certification.  As part of that investigation, I have uncovered what appears to be a carefully crafted propaganda campaign using poor scientific methods, non-practicing authors from think-tanks, the veterinary profession, and the ABMS/ABIM hierarchy to serve as "evidence" of the program's legitimacy, as well as much more troubling financial dealings of the ABIM and the ABIM Foundation.

I brought these concerns to the leadership at the Heart Rhythm Society via an email left on their website on 2 January 2015 that included a link to my investigation of the ABIM's tax records.  The Heart Rhythm Society's office as closed at that time (they returned 5 January 2015), but I never received a response to that email initially.  So I called the Heart Rhythm Society on the 14th of January and asked to speak with Mr. James Youngblood, their President and CEO, about my concerns regarding the ABIM. I seems he was unavailable at the time but I was assured they had found the email and that I would receive a response  "in 24-48 hours." Yesterday I received the email and this is what he said:

"Sorry for the delay in responding to your email request. We appreciate the information you shared and your opinion in this matter.  Regarding your follow-up voice message inquiring about what the HRS offers in support of ABIM-MOC, HRS provides the opportunity for members to earn up to 42 MOC medical knowledge points on a complementary basis. (Opportunity for MOC points expires 10/15/15)

We have extensive additional information provided at

We have provided ongoing feedback to the ABIM around our concerns with their approach to the MOC program. We will continue that dialogue.

With regard to an financial concerns with ABIM, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and inform our members should any action be required.

Thanks, J

James H. Youngblood
Chief Executive Officer
Heart Rhythm Society
1325 G St. NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
(Phone numbers redacted)
It seems the very public outcry by practicing physicians over the entire ABMS/ABIM-MOC program is being met with little action despite the evidence of its corrosive effects on our profession of medicine. Therefore, I have decided to begin a grass roots effort to ask my own professional medical society, the Heart Rhythm Society, to immediately cease their promotion and marketing of the ABMS/ABIM MOC program and instead to turn their considerable resources to removing the corrupt ABMS MOC program from the Affordable Care Act. To that end, I am now circulating a petition for Heart Rhythm Society members (and other interested practicing physicians) to sign to send a clear message to our society's leadership that we need more than words, we need action, to stop the use of this unproven and unethical MOC program that has been foisted without evidence of its effectiveness for improving patient care upon practicing US physicians. Anything less is unacceptable, given what we now know about the program.

I would ask that Heart Rhythm Society members who agree with this petition to sign it and designate their membership status with the Heart Rhythm Society in the "Notes" section and then send it on to your colleagues. 

It is time we send a strong message to our professional organizations that we demand more than words in response to our deep concerns with the ABMS/ABIM MOC program.

Thank you -



Anonymous said...

I thought Marilyn Tavenner was the new CEO of HRS. Just kidding. I wonder where she ends up. United, Aetna, Cigna...start the bidding war.
I will be joining Paul Tierstein's new board certification program.
I admire your tenacity; however, these 'professional societies' are all about the 'elite' in medicine enriching themselves monetarily (this includes obtaining titles or positions that are responsible for allocation of our tax dollars...can you say the slush fund CMS center for comparative studies) or building egos.
Keep up the pressure and the hard work.

Ellison Berns said...

Wes, you need to send your work about the MOC process to the NY Times, WSJ, Chicago Tribune and Time magazine. One of these folks will help you follow the money trail to the truth. Your work and passion about this sheds a much need bright light on the corruption occurring in medicine today by those who stand to gain financially by unproven over-regulation.