A group of osteopathic doctors have filed a class-action lawsuit against the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) seeking to recover millions of dollars in annual membership fees that the doctors allege they have been forced to pay for years to the organization.The AOA forces hefty annual membership fees to the paid to "maintain certification" and the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) assures fee payments to themselves by changing lifetime "board certification" to a time-limited credential without proof of patient benefit - both are variations on the same monetary theme.
The money, according to their complaint, is paid as a condition of obtaining and maintaining physicians’ board certification in any advanced medical specialty. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Camden, N.J., contends the requirement that they purchase memberships is illegal, has no reasonable connection to the advanced certification and violates the antitrust laws.
This new class action suit adds to the politically-connected Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)'s growing "Maintenance of Certification" headache. First, it was the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) with their 24 member boards (including the ABIM) having an antitrust lawsuit filed against them. Now, its another member of the ACGME, the AOA, seeing similar legal action.
Who will be next?
When more details of this corrupt "Maintenance of Certification" program surface, I suspect there will be many more lawsuits. No wonder the ABIM Foundation moved $6.5 million of ABIM diplomat's assets offshore to the Cayman Islands: legal battles.