Monday, February 29, 2016
Earlier this morning I learned that "Spotlight" won the "Best Picture" award at the Academy Awards, much to the disappointment of the bear attack fans. But as one who has dipped his toe into the art of investigative journalism for the past three years as an amateur, I found the appreciation of the film's message reassuring in today's click-through culture. Being an investigative journalist is not only difficult, but also frightening at times, both professionally and personally. As the movie nicely documents, the revelations of corruption can shake closely-held narratives of decency and trust so critical to important societal institutions. The movie also nicely portrays how difficult it is to fact-check, obtain evidence, and clearly document the story to both gain credibility and affect change. Unfortunately, classic investigative journalism has fallen victim to increasingly limited funding and a world with a shorter and shorter information attention span.
I fear the story of the financial cover-up at the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is quickly falling victim to similar pressures. With the exception of one veteran news reporter at Newsweek, Kurt Eichenwald (see here, here, here, and here), few journalists have had the interest, patience, or fortitude to expose the truth of the multi-million dollar US physician specialty Board certification racket. Perhaps, like the thought of priests caught molesting children, the thought a non-practicing physician cartel extorting high fees from their colleagues for their personal and political gain is too uncomfortable to accept. Perhaps it is too hard for patients to believe that board re-certification is not about assuring their safety, but rather for little more than money and power. But for working U.S. physicians who are still strong-armed into paying into the ABMS cartel every ten years just so they can continue to do the job they love, this coercion is all too real.
Last October, I had hoped this story would be different. I was interviewed for over an hour and a half by a reporter from CNBC at my hospital who was investigating the ABMS board certification monopoly. I was told she also interviewed Richard Baron, MD of the ABIM and Lois Nora, MD, JD, of the American Board of Medical Specialties. I spent over an hour in the interview, had a cameraman shoot shots in of my office with its board certificates, and introduced the reporter to one of my patients (with permission given my the patient first) under the watchful eye of my hospital's PR department. "Finally!" I thought.
But the story never aired. I called and inquired. It was an on again, off again affair, buffeted by more compelling stories of the day, I was told. Then, "we've decided to go forward." But now months later, still nothing.
I believe that freedom of the press and careful investigative journalism fills an important role in our society. I still believe the day will come when the truth about the ABIM's actions will be told and thoroughly investigated to end the injustice and waste from the ABMS Board Certification monopoly. Let's hope last night's victory of "Spotlight" as "Best Picture" at the Academy Awards can rekindle main stream media's appreciation for the importance of responsible reporting unencumbered by political and financial pressures.
After all, this isn't Hollywood that we are dealing with, this is real life, real doctors, and real patient care - even yours.
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Keep fighting the good fight Wes!
The Truth Always Takes The Moral High Ground
There are a great number of high ranking states-persons, journalists and editors who share your disappointment and frustration with our media and legal institutions.
However, the good news is social media documents a steady growing number of informed readers listening to your message and well-researched reporting.
The ethical collapse and corruption at the ABMS is a compelling story for all of us, which we will not and cannot ignor. The clear takeaway from all this is that a change of culture is needed at the ABIM and ABMS.
Other good points to reflect on are physician dissatisfaction/disagreement with the ABMS: the MOC specialty board participation is decreasing as vocal opposition in the media, blogs, and even at ABIM town hall meetings reveal an increasing number of anti-MOC advocates. There are more people out there who understand the ABIM/ABMS financial scandal. Physicians and patients are victimized by and party to this ABMS negligence toward its initial non-pecuniary mission to serve the public every time one of their clients is forced to shell out the money. And every time a taxpayer is asked to foo the bill. This is wrong and immoral.
As the blind eye is opening for many more ABMS clients, the political and financial schemes which have defrauded physicians and the public en mass are exposed by the new seers who feel betrayed. One blog has a lot of power - more than the mainstream media as many refuse (rightfully or wrongly) to accept "official stories" as true. The acts of the ABMS are in clear violation of IRS laws and warrant investigation. The racketeering laws written and enacted in the United States to protect the public (and government) cover a wide swath of illegal activities. We can find several violations in consecutive years, not just a few over several years.
And the cover-up continues to dig Nora, Baron and their well-compensated advisory deeper in the hole - a hole of financial liability toward clients and patients who they claim to serve. Insurers of the ABMS will claim their right to not pay out in civil and federal lawsuits because the actions of the ABMS are clearly willful and intentional. This is a point not written about, but consider the Penn State/Landusky pedophile scandal, which implicated Penn State for turning a blind eye and enabling Sandusky.
They did this willfully and even covered up to protect their image and reputtation. The insurers refused to pay on the settlements. Moody's downgraded the financial status to negative. The college football association fined and sanctioned the university - even considered the "death penalty." The ABMS executives should consider the consequences of lying and covering up when they clearly have been caught with their "knickers down."
Sandusky/Penn State/Second Mile Foundation Scandal
I recommend that you keep informing your growing global readership, Wes, regardless of ABMS stonewalling and official resistance. The story of ABMS financial/political corruption and ethical breaches of their executives and officers is just too compelling to ignore.
Truth always wins the battle for the moral high ground - even if the media and government attorneys are slow to react at first.
As stated ,, Dr. Wes -- please keep up,the good fight ! Spotlight film was years ,,, in the making ! As stated before -- patients need to be 'activated' ,,,by docs ! Talk to your patients - hand out web cite contacts . Ask for help ! The kitchen table talk on why this is important to them , their families ! Not just a doctor story -- it Is a patient care story ! Convert the keys points into Why patients / families need to be concerned ! Other -- where are the rest of the docs ? IF ,,, a massive , almost violent response would finally happen --- close to a strike !!! Get media attention -- they are lazy ,,,, they need IT packaged ,,, Please don't give up ! Create conflict ,,,, in the patient base ---- and, tell hospitals to go screw themselves ,if they think that this scam group is good for them & patients . Closing --- sue them ! We need a legal fund to sue the socks off these a-holes !! Where do I contribute !!
It is a steep uphill climb at first in the quest for investigative facts that can lead a reporter to understanding something as convoluted as a church's sex scandal, a boy's club that pimps the very child it vows to protect, or a quality assessment organization that preaches ethics while having none and surveils the internet for cheaters when they themselves are the cheaters and felons.
The learning curve in the beginning is slow. Our thinking is met with our own disbelief and psychological resistance that finds us unwilling to admit what is true as even possible. This latter is what makes the initial investment for any news organization financially risky and often personally dangerous. It is a long difficult process in running with a few facts or a solid hunch to get to the point where it becomes a newsworthy story - one that the editors can approve for publication or airing.
But in the long hard climb the path becomes clearer the closer you get to the top. I suspect there will be a clearing soon for you, Wes, where you will see the connections and hidden aspects better. Where there is the abuse of power we see the same patterns of "deviant behavior" quite often.
I find this story of the ABIM's deliberate financial obfuscation, the hidden political lobbying, decades-long quest for power, lust for luxuries and compensation beyond equitable stewardship of resources to be the kind of story of outrageous hypocrisy that is not only worth telling, but it may expose many of the 'bad actors' to the point where the 'Pharisees' will appear like rank amateurs in comparison.
Is it not increasingly ironic that many of the heads of the ABIM are violators of patient safety being sued by the feds for fraud, or those who put the public at risk with risky untested cost saving recommendations that come between the patient and doctor. You have outlined it well in your previous post/letter to the ABIM blueprint representatives.
It is also interesting that the journalistic excellence that we witnessed in exposing the church sex scandal and the painstaking efforts of former FBI leaders to get to the bottom of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal are good examples of how a free press and government can work together to make the world safer.
Now we need the same kind of joint efforts to make physicians and patients safe from those who claim they are trying to make our nation medically safe. The ABMS leaders become so hard to accept the more we learn of their conflicts of interest and love of money. We see the potential harm or actual harm and do nothing. It is unacceptable to not act upon what we see and understand to be wrong - especially when the blows are directed at all of us in society.
I find the perversion of reality to be a central thread in every story outlined here. It is a thread that must be followed to the end. This is one of the most vital issues of our time - the abuse of power and not really serving those one took an oath to serve. The character, health and happiness of our nation depends on how far we go in investigating and rectifying the systemic problems involving corruption of power and the abuses that follow.
I put some links below because the parallels in the abuse of power are so dramatic between the ABMS abuses and the sex scandals. I find them to be analogous crimes. I mean the Penn State-Sandusky-Second Mile Foundation affair and the Dennis Hastert pedophilia allegations that it is worth looking at closely. We see how records have to be combed with a fine eye for details and how everything fits into the same psychological patterns of power and abuse. Following the money is always a key.
The leadership of the ABMS, ACGME, ABIM, ACP, AMA, and NQF are hiding behind masks of respectability.
Question: What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor, reporter or an highly paid corporate bureaucrat?
So, what else did we miss recently on the mainstream media news? A CNBC documentary on the ABMS not allowed to air--featuring Dr. Wes "anti-regulatory capture" Fisher, ABIM CEO Rich "we got it wrong" Baron and ABMS chief Lois "more varied sources of MOC" Nora.
Have we not heard of this kind of thing happening before where a MSM reporter and the news gets suppressed, altered, or sent straight to the trash bin?
Yes, it happens, especially when it may expose too many important people in various capacities of public and private service.
Probably better it did not air, Wes. No telling what the highly edited version would look like.
A few sound bites here and there of a stammering anti-MOC madman sandwiched between the well-rehearsed ultimate 'pantsuit gal' saying, "the board sets our salaries," and the most reasonable of casual sporty guys talking about "streamlined egalitarian MOC task forces" and "we have been reaching out to physicians about delivering meaningful relevant MOC."
The expensive "we got it wrong" PR and MSM "excused me while I consult with corporate" editing room wins out every time. Or it gets tossed for showing ABMS' monopolistic ruthless businesses in a bad light. No matter what Baron or Nora says about the ABIM or ABMS it all amounts to the same pernicious pedaling of "intellectual medical malpractice."
But seriously, I'll bet you were great, Wes! And Nora and Baron were just bobble-head dolls like usual.
Maybe there is a happy ending someday and the reporter quits CNBC and starts an independent award winning media site where they can have complete editorial freedom and tell the real story from an objective point of view.
Until then here's a caricature of life
I saw a cartoon recently where a little boy approaches his father who is immersed in a newspaper.
"Daddy, I want a job in organized crime when I grow up."
Father replies without looking up from his newsprint,
"Government or private sector?
"As it dont happen" above accurately captures the disappointment many are experiencing the loss of bringing this important information on the ABIM debacle to a wider audience. I can appreciate at some level for a commercial interest like CNBC, this comes down to a cold business decision: Will the added audience interest and potential increase in viewer share offset the expected blowback from the ABIM/ABMS cartel, their army of attorneys funded by physician testing fees, and of course, the cartel's powerful friends in government, despite ABIM's carefully crafted excuses that their Form 990s were prepared in compliance with IRS requirements despite the blatant use of lobbying activities, again funded by physician testing fees, ostensibly for "communication" purposes.
Given the harsh business realities noted above, while I'm disappointed at CNBC's decision, it is at least understandable that they might decide the cost to air this story was just too much for the perceived benefit. In this context, the real disappointment is reserved for government agencies without a commercial interest, who are charged with protecting the public interest. Where is the State of Iowa Attorney General's office, given the apparent gross violation of ABIM's Articles of Incorporation? Article IV: "The Corporation does not contemplate pecuniary gain or profit, incidental or otherwise, and no part of the net earnings of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit or be distributable to its members, directors, officers or other private persons, except that the Corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth above."
Does the Iowa AG not care about the obvious perception that the State of Iowa is being used as a haven for a cash-laundering scam for an organization headquartered in another state? Does the IRS not care about a 501(c)3 organization betraying the public's interest by using tax-advantaged non-profit status to support lobbying activities to influence legislation?
These government agencies aren't affected by the cost/benefit business realities of media outlets like CNBC. Their ultimate mission is to protect the public interest, regardless of their thoughts about the specific concerns for practicing physicians and for this reason that is where the real disappointment resides.
Persistent reality is very well captured in the remarkable synopsis above - all of it!
"These government agencies aren't affected by the cost/benefit business realities of media outlets like CNBC. Their ultimate mission is to protect the public interest, regardless of their thoughts about the specific concerns for practicing physicians and for this reason that is where the real disappointment resides."
ABIM's Iowa domicile and their continued abuse of lax Iowa tax code is a small black eye for Iowa's Senator Grassley. Of greater injury to the esteemed senator is the blatant fact that the American public and their government were husked and hustled by the ABIM/ABMS and their corporate and non-profit partners who acted as political action committees for the Democratic National Committee - the ABIM domiciled right in the senator's own back yard, while operating out of Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, and throughout the entire nation.
You fight a fair fight in the Senate and House of Representatives to block Obama Care using laws of the land, while Hillary Care zealots and Christine Cassel's illegal manipulation and utilization of the ABIM/ABIMF/ABMS and other organizations got the physicians and public corralled with head-fake promises, regulatory capture and ABMS mandates. Call it what you will, but the ABIM and their cronies do not represent democracy in action. Nor can the fruit of their corporate-inspired actions represent anything universally beneficial to the public.
If that does not pain a bleak enough picture look at the actual history of the ABIM. All the while - for at least the past 20 years - physicians' money was used for political and personal advantages by Kimball, Cassel, Baron, Weiss and Nora. Did it make a difference in the passage and legislative sustain and legal stay of Obama Care? You bet it did. Someone mentioned a tidy timeline here. Yes to that abuse of physicians civil liberties and contractual capture, also. Lawsuits and sanctions. Violent measures undertaken by violent people for power, profiteering and politics - plain and simple.
Think of the consequences of exposing the democratic party and their neoconservative infiltrates as being comparable to the same kind of Watergate-type invasion of privacy/misuse of funds to influence elected bodies sworn to uphold the constitution and laws of the land. Such an illegal band of politicos and their movement would have been crushed under the weight of immense prosecution efforts by our Attorney General in Washington. But not a chance of it.
Below is a link to what I consider to be an award winning documentary that did not air also. I'm sorry that your efforts failed to persuade CNBC from running with your story about the ABMS. Sometimes it is not censorship but fear that dissuades. In the following case - link below - it is both fear and censorship and even the destruction of evidence and possible murder of witnesses. Given that fact that the documentary, "A Conspiracy of Silence" was destroyed, a poor video quality copy was retained and made available online. It makes a lasting impression. Of note is an elected Nebraska representative of the people who felt completely powerless, even with his high position in government. You can see in this man that he has conscience. He was so demoralized to learn about disturbing facts of how even our government...I can't continue, just watch the film, it has adult only content...
How your government works. How the ABMS/ABIM operates in the context of scandal after scandal.
Are physicians being spied on illegally by their "government"?
Has the ABIM/ABMS utilized surveillance methods that clients agreed to? Or has the ABIM violated its clients civil rights and privacy?
Is the ABIM/ABMS a regulatory agency with powers to surveil and collect data on physicians?
Or is the ABIM/ABMS only an evaluatory organization which thinks like and acts like it is a branch of the government? If so, why this false persona?
Does the IRS provide protection to the ABIM/ABMS? The DOJ? The OIG? The state AG?
Does the ABIM have contacts via legal counsel or other high-ranking individuals to the highest courts in Pennsylvania?
ABIM's legal counsel Ballard-Spahr boasts as a partner the former Dem. governor of Pennsylvania who was married to a high court federal judge of the eastern district of Pennsylvania.
Did you know that the former Dem. governor (long time attorney with Ballard-Spahr) was a board trustee of Penn State University during the Jerry Sandusky Affair? The position was handed off to the present PA Rep. governor in 2010?
Were you aware that Louis Freeh a retired former Clinton era FBI director was appointed to handle the Jerry Sandsusky Penn State Second Mile Foundation scandal?
Why was a former Clinton FBI director asked to deal with the Sandusky affair?
Why do Pennsylvania/Chicago/Washington corruption scandals matter? Why does control of physicians matter? Why does certification matter? Why does MOC really matter?
Three FBI whistle blowers on illegal surveillance of public officials using FISA under false pretenses. Clinton white house protection from impeachment? Mentioned is Dennis Hastert and Louis Freeh handling affairs, along with many others.
What Rendell knew and when he knew it interview (Sandusky)
The disappeared DA in the 1998 investigation of Jerry Sandusky.
We were not told about Sansusky? Rendell. How about the missing DA Garca and his Sandusky investigation which he decided to drop for "lack of evidence".
A DA goes missing in 1998 and the big guy did not ask: "Hey, what was that disappeared DA investigating, btw?"
Wes, you wrote, "But for working U.S. physicians who are still strong-armed into paying into the ABMS cartel every ten years just so they can continue to do the job they love, this coercion is all too real."
This really bites home, but for many physicians who have more than one certification it is like a knife that cuts into the budget and takes time from patients, real study, and your family. Like your kids never get sick or you! We can't balance it all. And the pain of dishing out the money every year is just like we work for a mafioso dom. This newest sudden and latest strong-arm demand of forking over hundreds every year is even harder for many of the physicians who work part time and or their private practice is underwater thanks to the mess that this admlinistration and the HHS, EHR, and payers have made of medicine! Many docs area being forced out, maybe moving away from family if your specialty is under-represented in the job market. Or you have to retire early. But you can't make your house payements then. They are evil!
2001 Rare Award, Girls' Boys' Town to Dennis Hastert
It is clear the ABIM will enjoy a respite while physicians are distracted with MACRA, MIPS and APMs. The appetite of the sheep herd (aka clinical physicians) to mud wrestle with the ABIM's corrupt structure is super low. My prediction is the ABIM will continue to exist during this war of attrition. Who will blink first? The ABIM or the rest of us?
I think it is safe to say, CNBC, Congress, the IRS, the DOJ could care less about the ABIM MOC debacle. Therefore, it will be up to us to continue this campaign. The most effective, most direct way to hit back at the ABIM and Rich Baron is to continue to defund their operational budget. If you suck the gasoline out of the ABIM engine, pint by pint, their massively inefficient, bloated, machine will lose power and stall out. And let this be a warning to every other slimy physician organization that is in cahoots with the ABIM- namely the ABMS, the ACC, the ACP, HRS, etc etc. If you continue this money game, your members, your constituents will continue to defund you and you will no longer exist.
The ACC has the audacity to beg for more ACCPAC money and yet their attempts to support its constituency is offset by their relationship with the ABIM. Drs. O'Gara and Jessup and Dec, long time well regarded cardiologists in the ACC, talk with a forked tongue when it comes to the ABIM. They try to offer lip service to the ACC members while at the same time skulk around dark alleyways in Philadelphia plotting with the ABIM on how to squeeze more money out of the Diplomates.
We are watching you very closely. Let's hope you aren't labelled as traitors to your profession.
Here are some interesting statistics.
In the next twenty years, the number of Medicare enrollees will increase by about 50%.
In the next twenty years, due to the lowering birth rate, the Medicare tax base will shrink by about 50%.
In the next twenty years, the number of clinical physicians willing to put up with onerous tasks like MOC will shrink by about 25%.
So if the ABIM are running around touting MOC and screaming about incessant, non sensical quality metrics that bog down those of us who are actually taking care of patients, and there is this imminent fiscal crisis and workforce crisis, who will actually be around to take care of this massive tidal wave of sick/dying patients in an environment of evaporating resources?
In 10-15 years, Rich Baron, Johnson, O'Gara, Wachter, Jessup, Dec, et al will all be Medicare recipients. Eventually, they too will get older and their health will start to wobble and fail. Remember folks, they are flesh/blood just like the rest of us.
Who will take care of them when they all get sick?
Will we want to take care of them after selling out their profession and their colleagues?
Are we obligated to take care of this band of traitors and con men/women?
Food for thought.
The irony of that impending situation is just sickening. Isn't it?
In FY2015, the ABIM ran a $2.7M deficit. Keep up the money fight. If the ABIM runs out of money and spend what they have suing doctors and dumping the $2.3M condo at a massive loss, then this smelly organization will start to lose its power. Their budget is largely from us- our fees and our willful transfer of our hard earned post tax dollars to their coffers. They have no other revenue stream and there is no way we are going to let any central government agency dump tax dollars into their capital budget. The physicians control their financial and political destiny and the ABIM knows it.
Chop down the ABIM everyday. Death by a million papercuts. It's already happening.
Your efforts at energizing the rest of us is huge but it is clear the central agencies have more pressing issues- ISIS, the Presidential Election etc. The Internet and SoMe will memorialize this narrative but our voices are drowned out by the dissonance of the constant stream of background political noise.
ABIM and the MOC is not on their radar screen especially if Jessup and Dec are running around back stabbing us and double talking to the very agencies that you have been lobbying.
We all need to focus on the money.
I agree with the above statements. We take away their money, Rich Baron no longer has a job. Jessup and Dec no longer have their stipend from the ABIM. Does anyone truly believe they will continue their role as traitors and spies for free?
The squeeze is on. Chip away at their cash flow and the ABIM will no longer be financially healthy enough to operate.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
The central agencies are interested in the ABIM debacle but we have been doing it all wrong.
We've been appealing to their sense of injustice and moral outrage. They could care less about right vs wrong as it pertains in our world. What we should have been shaping for them is just how much money they are losing because the ABIM and the ABIM Foundation are non profit entities.
Non profit entities enjoy Federal, State and Local subsidies against their tax burden for property, payroll, income and capital gains. We are talking about massive amounts of money given to churches, hospitals, schools, universities, charitable organizations. But that sentiment is changing. Local governments, State governments and municipalities are fed up with these "non profits" hogging up space and resources and not contributing to the coffers for upkeep and carrying costs.
You can bet, the ABIM and the ABIM Foundation pay a pittance to Philadelphia and Pennsylvania when it comes to property and business taxes. You can bet the $2.3M condo is being subsidized by John Q. Public who lives in South Philly and the milk farmer outside of Harrisburg.
Universities, Hospitals and other non profits are being sued and squeezed to cough up for services rendered by City and Local Governments. What does the ABIM contribute to the local Philly community? I bet they take a lot more than they give. Think about it-Philly Police, Philly Fire, Philly garbage/water/sewer, Philly traffic/parking etc etc.
The citizens of Philadelphia are getting ripped off by the ABIM.
I wonder, just how much money the ABIM and the ABIM Foundation would have to cough up if the Mayor of Philadelphia took a good long look at the ABIM's ledgers and their reported status as a "non-profit" organization?
I bet Mr. Kroll could come up with some real interesting numbers and then multiple it by 20 years.
BTW who is the Mayor of Philadelphia nowadays?
Is Princeton University or the ABIM more worthy of its tax exempt/non profit status?
Me thinks the good citizens of Philadelphia are being ripped off by Dr. Baron et al.
If the City of Philadelphia would do what the State of Illinois did, how much money can they recoup from the ABIM? Let's just state the ABIM's value to society and the community of Greater Philly is not much compared to a hospital.
Looks like they were already sued by Philly in the early 1990s
Now they are picking on the MEDICAL STUDENTS
What the heck is happening? They are cannibalizing our future.
The Appearance of Profligacy. A Little More About Lavish Pay and Dickey's Dacha.
When speaking about the "appearance of profligacy" of ABIM executives and officers, Robert Wachter said Richard Baron "is paid to run a large, complex organization in a swirling political environment."
Perhaps, if the ABIM were not a political organization in the center of political swirl, Dr. Baron's compensation would be brought in line with the articles of incorporation which state "no personal inurement" - only compensation "for services rendered." The ABIM, I would like to remind the board of directors, is a non-profit certification company, not a full-throttle political lobbying machine with executives pushing their partisan politics - receiving exorbitant salaries in order to use the ABIM's large revenue streams to help steer the political currents.
It is not in line with IRS rulings that a secretive Foundation be used as a slush fund/insurance policy for fiscal irresponsibility. The ABIM and its Foundation should not be used to pad "executive bank accounts" and fulfill personal desires and comforts far beyond what is reasonable.
The ABIM was never intended to be a large complex organization.
The original articles of incorporation state nothing whatsoever about paying the board or officers any money or granting of favors whatsoever. It was a volunteer organization without compensation. In order to fulfill its original mission it should be totally voluntary again - take the money and politics out of it - or close the corrupt doors forever and let competent residency and fellowship programs competed to create free voluntary certification tests for life that fit it into a program's duration. When you graduate you are certified for life. No more being tested to death. CME as required by the state for licensure is sufficient.
Bob Wachter spoke about the Ayer Building condominium: "Of course; politically it was a dumb thing to do. Is it a scandal? No."
Again, Wachter who helped purchase the condo for Christine Cassel and her husband's use when in Philadelphia speaks about the ABIM Foundation and politics in the same breath. What is unclear is really how the condo was utilized on a daily basis, by whom and for what purpose. I would like to see a complete record of its use. Otherwise we are led to believe that they had activities not in keeping with a non-profit/apolitical organization.
Deep Concerns About the ABIMF Condo.
Were the ABIM executives and officers utilizing the condo to serve personal interests and possibly political ambitions. Christine Cassel's partner Mike McCalley was paid travel expenses and provided with lodging when accompanying Cassel to Philadelphia.
This travel money would have come from the ABIM and the ABIM Foundation which owns the condo. Typically an organization like the Institute of Medicine (IOM) - a division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine - will demand that a spouse be doing work related to or for the Institute/Academies in order to qualify for travel reimbursement. Why the free ride at the ABIM for use of the condo and travel? Is it or should it be legal according to IRS rulings - depending on its use? Regardless, I cannot accept such profligacy with physicians' money.
Some interesting facts about the ABIMF condo with the notorious limo and chauffeur, full concierge services, may emerge as Philly folks do talk a bit; but it would be better if the ABIM Foundation gave a complete accounting of the ABIMF condo's complete related finances, and the condo's intended purpose and actual use.
I would like to have an account of not only who the "guests" were at the condo, but where the chauffeur picked them up from or drove these guests to. Was it Whole Foods (probably not) or was it a popular destination many Philadelphian's and several Ayer residents frequent - the Penthouse Club?
ABIM's Condo advertised as a "Tremendous Entertaining Space".
Another famous Ayer condo owner (a Philly baseball all-star) who had difficulty selling his unit purchased around the same time as the ABIM's 2.3 million dollar unit. Was the condo the Foundation's "lobby/hobby house" and/or "home away from home" for Cassel, Wachter and others."
Utley puts his Ayre Building penthouse up for lease with the option to buy.
What do you think about the "politically dumb" ABIM condo and its use?
You make the call.
The Pressing Need For A Free Press
The ABIM, ABMS, AMA, ACP, ACGME, etc, and the corrupt corporate/government cronies they serve are undermining/killing their hosts. Passive dim-minded physicians and insouciant patient populations are lining up to follow the corporate piper. The political/corporate music has us hypnotized to just walk quietly to the showers or over the cliff.
US oligarchs via the mega banks, federal reserve and other brokers of the financial system - along with insurers, corporate monopolies and subservient elected government officials - are waging a war of attrition and propaganda on all Americans. Many are becoming aware of this through the alternative media.
It is refreshing to see that there is another piper, albeit a muted voice in the distance speaking the truth and trying with enormous self sacrifice to get it out - saying among other things that we are being duped by a corrupt bureaucratic system.
It is not confined to the "quality assessors" who are little more than prime examples of the "super-conflicted" state of things.
The CNBC editorial censorship is an example of this conflicted interests. It is propaganda and attrition of the news in action. This attrition and fable-like tablets given in the place of real food starves the mind and destroys one's passion for a better life filled with real knowledge and moral strength to fight for that better freer and happier life. From such editorial censorship/claims there is little appetite for real news, the bought-off media becomes the other major corrupt partner in the crime to undermine the real welfare of all.
All eyes are on the next presidential hopefuls who vow to their SUPERPAC OWNERS that they will fix this rigged system for the American people. If the system remains corrupt and rigged after yet another round of hopeful elections, is it the fault of those who take advantage of us if the system remains rigged/corrupt? Or is the blame for such a broken system the fault of those who allow themselves to be used and trammeled upon.
Only dissemination of the truth can give us a fighting chance. "Bully for this blog" and the few who contribute, even if the voices must remain anonymous in fear of reprisal. If one had real representation in our government - and hence at the ABMS - who would remain apathetic or frozen in time with fear?
As you march off in tune with the times, don't forget to ask for your washcloth and bar of soap. If not for yourselves, think of your children. Look down at your young ones or strong college-bound ones and weep for the state of things if you still have anything left alive inside.
Wes, "the thought of priests caught molesting children, the thought a non-practicing physician cartel extorting high fees from their colleagues for their personal and political gain" is wrong but accepted as status-quo. The shock-value is only that someone got caught. Churchianity's doctrine of Total Depravity--> everyone's being totally depraved. It's preached from pulpits, taught in Sunday school. Sinners! Sinners! That's where the reward is! Grace, grace, sin more. Perhaps the Nation's moral compass needs rethinking. Resurrect your granddad maybe to give the country a talking to?
Prayers going out to you that you will go all out twitter shitlord someday soon! I wish we could use time travel and give some of those old people twitter accounts and smartphones to get this country back on track.
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