Sunday, December 30, 2018

My Example of ABIM's Deceptive Trade Practices

As I work to complete my first 100 "MOC points" suddenly due 12/31/2018, I think my readers should be aware of the deceptive trade practices that have impacted me since I paid for the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification® (MOC®) program in 2013.

First of all, after realizing my Board certification in Cardiovascular Diseases would expire in 2013, I paid for my Maintenance of Certification product to qualify to take my recertification examination in Cardiovascular Disease the Fall of 2013. At that time, I was subject to the ABIM's "double jeopardy" situation - if I did not pass my Cardiovascular Diseases re-certification, when it came time to re-certify in Cardiac Electrophysiology, it too would expire since the Cardiovascular Disease requirement was a pre-requisite for sitting for my Cardiac Electrophysiology re-certification examination. (This "double jeopardy" requirement was removed in 2015).

After paying for the ABIM MOC® product, this flier was sent to me explaining "Maintenance of Certification at a Glance."

On page 2 of the above flier, we can clearly see that I purchased the ABIM MOC® product that required only "100 points of Self-Evaluation of Medical Knowledge and Self-Evaluation of Practice Performance credit" to be in good standing with the ABIM for 10 years.

After completing the secure examination in the Fall of 2013, I received this letter on 22 January 2014 notifying me that I had passed the Cardiovascular Disease examination. It stated by Board certification "will remain valid until 2023." Also on that letter, I was told that "requirements to maintain certification will be changing in 2014."

Little did I know that after 2014 they would require twice as many MOC points (100 "points" every five years) to keep my time-limited ABIM board certification in good standing.

I did not agree to this change when I purchased my MOC® product from ABIM. As a result, I have now spent an additional $1675 purchasing continuing education modules from the American College of Cardiology to meet this new requirement.

While I am not an attorney, I believe changing these rules for the MOC® product that I had already purchased in 2013 from ABIM represents deceptive trade practices and will not rest until the ABMS MOC® product and its requirement for continuous certification (with its continuous payments to the ABMS member boards and their supporters) comes to an end.




Here is what is wrong with this process. Why is a career attorney bureaucrat who is a DC hired gun even allowed on the ABMS commission? Does have any COI's? Does his law firm get a piece of the action?



Anonymous said...

Convincing argument that ABIM engaged in deceptive practices. The deception you write about is very similar to what we all have suffered.

TIME TO TIME said...

My note may be signed late, from time to time.

I may have to charge overtime, from time to time.

The server may go down, from time to time.

Unknown said...

I just passed my electrophysiology boards and am already dreading going through this process in the coming years. With the current rules in place my Internal Medicine and Cardiology board certifications have been easy to maintain as you are given a lot of MOC points just for participating in fellowship and/or passing subsequent ABIM boards-- but soon I will find myself terminally sub-specialized and out of the protective ACGME cocoon.

Your post hits on what is most irritating with this process though, the money! If it was just the time needed to do continuing education that would be one thing-- but almost every course/event/etc offering CME/MOC points involves you shelling out hundreds and thousands of dollars. Its a RACKET. And the giveaway is that they don't offer easy free options for earning the points. You would have to cobble together dozens/hundreds of online modules earning .25-1 points to get to 100, but they'll let you pay through the nose for something no more educationally rigorous that gets you all you need in a few big chunks. The greed is quite transparent.

Young physicians get desensitized to this abuse early on-- even the USMLE Step exams aren't cheap. I was one of the first classes to take Step 2 CS (clinical skills) which involves forcing graduating medical students to pay $1000 (plus at least that much in travel and lodging to make it to only one of a few test sites nationwide) for the privilege of doing standardized patient exams. A process that begs the question: if you don't think a graduating student can do an H&P, what is the point of medical school accreditation???

And then after shelling out all that money for your MOC points they change the rules a few years later and ask for more. Scoundrels.

Alan Kogan, MD said...

How many MOC points do I need to retire from practice?

Anonymous said...

Since 2001 A_B_I_M's monetary demands have increased dramatically, while constitutional guarantees have been abridged and privacy obliterated by the executives and directors.