Wednesday, March 06, 2019

MOC Legal Battle Broadens to ABPN

Today in the Federal District Court of Northern Illinois, another class action lawsuit on behalf of over 25,000 psychiatrists and neurologists was filed against the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) by two psychiatrists.

In a script we have seen before, the Plaintiffs brought the action pursuant to the Clayton Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 15 and 26 to recover treble damages, injunctive relief, costs of the suit, and reasonable attorney’s fees arising from violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act (28 U.S.C. §§ 1 and 2). The suit alleges that there is illegal tying of the ABIM’s initial board certification product to its maintenance of certification® (MOC®) product in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and illegal monopolization and monopoly maintenance in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act. In addition, the suit alleges that ABPN's conduct has caused it be be unjustly enriched at the expense of the Plaintiffs and the other Class members.

The Complaint details the alleged harms experienced by the Plaintiffs and the numerous changes to ABPN MOC® the Plaintiffs and Class members endured since its implementation. In addition, the Complaint alleges:
"Between 2004 and 2017, after the advent of ABPN MOC, ABPN’s “Program service revenue” account exceeded its “Program service expenses” account by a yearly average of $8,777,319, as reported in its Forms 990 for those years. During that same period of time, ABPN’s “Net assets or fund balances” account skyrocketed 730%, from $16,508,407 to $120,727,606. In other words, at year-end 2017, as ABPN MOC revenue continued to grow, ABPN net assets (assets less liabilities) more than septupled, which included, according to its 2017 Form 990, almost $102 million in cash, savings, and securities."
The Complaint also details allegations of unjust enrichment by the President and CEO of the ABPN, Larry R. Faulkner, MD:
In 2007, he was paid total compensation of $500,726 as Executive Vice President. Dr. Faulkner became ABPN President and CEO in 2009. In 2017, the last year for which data could be located, his total compensation as President and CEO was $2,872,861, including a bonus of $1,884,920.
This lawsuit follows on the heels of two other class action antitrust lawsuits filed against the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Radiology.

As I've said before, it is critical working physicians see the legal battle against MOC® for what it is: not a campaign against continuing medical education, but rather a campaign against the massive runaway train of economic exploitation, self-enrichment, and micro-management of our professional lives that are now the hallmark of ABMS and its member boards.

I encourage all working physicians donate to our GoFundMe page to help support the next phase of the litigation as ABIM, ABR, and ABPN prepare their responses to the lawsuits.



Dee Luzhans said...

$121 million is a big war chest cached away for expanding and controlling their lucrative MOC markets. ABIM used their "laundered" foundation money "unwisely" on propaganda, the purchase of an "investment" condo, and hiring a thug with a criminal record to lead their "bureau of investigations" -- all leading to numerous legal assaults on candidates and diplomates.

Violations of rights and invasion of privacy have become par for the course at the ABMS medical boards.

It is obvious from the tax form data that the ABPN is playing mind games with their diplomates and candidate. Robbing them blind with their discriminatory MOC mandate and compensating the CEO/President nearly $3 million from ABPN's bloated revenues and profits.

Unknown said...

How do we join the class action suit? The floodgates are opening!!!

Unknown said...

I am a child psychiatrist currently doing the MOC pilot program. For the amount of money spent on this ridiculous waste of time, the quality of the questions is horrible. I’m on several Facebook pages in which issues like the MOC are discussed- there have already been so many questions that have been thrown out. This whole exercise is obviously hastily thrown together and is, frankly, insulting. I shared this ariticle last night and already have a ton of replies from other psychiatrists eager to join the suit. The obscene amount of money that the ABPN has stolen from us through this coercive activity would better be used to protect our field from threats like mid level prescribers who call themselves psychiatrists and insurance companies that minimize our role to that of pill pushers in spite of growing evidence of the efficacy of psychoherapy in changing brain function.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Praise the lord and pass the attorneys and paralegals around.

Jamie B said...

How about passing the hat around!

Anonymous said...

Control the physician workforce and you stand on top of the mountain controlling who gets the water (resources) and where it flows.

Physician autonomy is a threat to the quality assurance cartel and their corporate stakeholders.

That includes many of our legislators who get funding from those same corporate special interest and their lobbyists who all are vying for their piece of the domestic and global financial pie. (GDP and GGP)

Dr. Fiz Bot said...

We may have taken one step forward in this country since the 1960s with the passage of civil rights legislation, but we have taken seven steps back since 2001 in terms of the entire populace's constitutional rights.

The ABIM and their "Cadillac Democrats" have led the charge reversing many of those fundamental rights and guarantees. It does not make sense to me. It just shows who they really serve. (The other party has been traditionally blamed for serving the rich. Go figure.)

Who cares about property rights or civil rights until they have been taken away!

The ABIM/ABMS is guilty of violating the sacredness of personal property. They have discriminated against employees and they have discriminated against their captive corporate clients clients. (Are they truly a non-profit with such lack of charity.) They have abused the legal system by chilling free speech and the right to assemble. The list is long of violatory acts.

The issue of MOC is a deep one and it is unclear to many still why the ABMS/ACGME declared war on physicians and treat them as third class citizens. Taking away their rights. Taking away the dignity of the most educated and intelligent work force in the history of the world. (And today one of the most highly "suicided populations" and most burned out. Comparable, not surprisingly, to serving in a state of continuous military duty/combat.)

When I consider the loan paybacks and calculate all the lost years of employment sacrificed to education/professional preparation, one might be better off just getting a job at a retail store out of high school. Or move to Mountain View, CA after college in San Jose.

With all that the ABMS/ACGME has been doing to destroy physicians, one wonders what they have in mind when the best of the best no longer wish to sacrifice and serve anymore.

And even paper and pencil has been banned in healthcare. And we have little time to question why as our digital partners slow us down and create egregious errors that we never made before.

Revolving door bureaucrats have created a mega billion dollar industry and for some reason don't get acknowledged for that. But seem to get paid a king's ransom for it. (Only discovered when someone exercised their right to independent thinking and apply it to unaccountable organizations and their leadership.

Unknown said...

Yes, but my colleagues have made a deal with the devil by going along with it. We need to take back our profession. I myself do not accept any insurance and do not do ehrs. I was beginning to apply to law school when it dawned on me that people would be willing to pay for good care. And by keeping the overhead ( paperwork, billing, etc) low it is actually affordable! These days a nurse practitioner can go right out without the enormous loans and time commitment and is given the same rights and in many cases, nearly the same income! Hello? WE are in the drivers seat! Let’s see how the HMOs and the hospital conglomerates ( antitrust, anyone?!) can function without us!

Anonymous said...

Physicians should wake up, and perhaps even walk away and form their own alliances/groups again where possible. Small business has been the backbone of American economy in the past. It should be so again. Employed physicians are experiencing a meddling bureaucracy and management that is both inept and menacing at the same time.

And for perfidious/unknown reasons executives at the ABMS MOCsters are happy with it all and continue provide an artificial support for the continuous corporate takeover of medicine. They are doing this through consistent backdoor brokering/lobbying/consulting in order to undermine a physicians ability to do their jobs. Impinging on a physicians rights to work and get paid for it. Encroaching on a patients right to have a high level of care. Quietly replacing physicians/clinical doctors with less-skilled/less-knowledgeable practitioners and assistants.

EHR is creating long waiting lists due to the burden of physicians and providers spending disproportionate "bundles" of useless time-consuming tasks fulfilling their "new deal" digital obligations. Hello printed TARP money. Hello conflicts of interest. Hello carpal tunnel.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to a free-thinking society that really tried to work together to solve problems.

Selling out to the corporate devil resulted in part from signing on to the illusion of security when the foundations of medicine were being torn down by corporate politics, propaganda and social engineering. I'm not sure physicians sold out to the devil. It appears more that physicians were sold out and forced to march into the trenches, from sweet deals made to an anointed few. Conditions were elaborately created from a deluge of legislation and underhanded corporate manipulation resulting in an arbitrarily created healthcare crisis. Corporations along with their representatives in government created a highly liquid healthcare crisis based on a suffering populace.

It is clear that we have gone from bad to worse when physicians and providers cannot order a medication, test or a test strip without "big brother" tapping you on the shoulder. More time wasted. Fewer precious minutes for patients adding up to hours in a day. More staff required. More managers to manage them. More expenses. Higher revenues needed to be in the black. CEO's pay increases based on comparable organizations with a similar level of revenue.

Objectively speaking, paper notes take less time (get rid of the useless metrics) and one could spend more time with patients and see more of the sick ones knocking on the door who need help now not tomorrow. Finishing notes at night takes away from any possibility of family or family life.

Born Again: The Secret New Life of a Generic Anesthetic said...

Depressed About MOC? Fret no more. Soma is here to take the edge off things.

"Fast-Acting Depression Drug, Newly Approved, Could Help Millions
A nasal spray version of the drug ketamine has shown promise as an antidepressant, even if its properties still aren’t well understood."

"Antidepressant Based on Ketamine Gets Backing From FDA Advisory Group

At the FDA advisory committee meeting, J&J presented results from five phase III trials and several smaller trials of the drug, which together included more than 1,700 people. Only two of the five phase III trials showed positive results, and the people who received esketamine improved only slightly more than those who took a placebo."

"Ketamine is a nasty drug,” says advisory council member Steven Meisel, system director of medication safety at Fairview Health Services in Woodbury, Minnesota. But he was convinced by a J&J survey of its participants, who said that they were willing to risk the hallucinations and other side effects because their depression was so intolerable. “We don't take patients’ voices into account as often as we should.”

Electroshock MOC (A Bad Social Experiment).) said...

The MOC Shock Treatment - 30 years of bad treatment/ill effect for the sake of profit

"What these shock doctors don't know is about writers and such things as remorse and contrition and what they do to them . . . Well, what is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure, but we lost the patient."

-- Ernest Hemingway, talking about electric shock therapy, as quoted by author and confidant A.E. Hotchner in his book "Papa Hemingway."

Article published in 1985 one year before the ABIM/ABMS met to decide about the imposition of time-limited certifications and their proposed imposed therapy. The MOC shock treatment.

Anonymous said...

How can we join the class action lawsuit? Haven't been able to find it online.

Unknown said...

Contact the lawyers listed at the end of the complaint.

Anonymous said...

The class-action lawsuits taking on the ABIM and ABR (and others) have been long overdue. It is difficult for doctors, drowning in a sea of quality assurance mandates and bureaucratic red tape, to fathom even a fraction of the harms these particular medical boards have inflicted on physicians (and patients).

Fireside Alibis said...

It's odd that the mainstream media is silent about these lawsuits and the underlying issues.

(Well maybe it is not so puzzling!)

Chris Cassel in Fireside Chat with Bob Wachter - getting their stories straight.

Anonymous said...

I wrote in asking the ABPN to see the literature or data that shows the public demand, which is used to justify recertification and MOC. No response of course. Does anyone have any idea if there really is a demand? I have never heard of anyone in the public even being curious about this, let alone demanding it!

I am a triple boarded physician and just took my 3rd recertification; I've spent thousands of dollars and countless hours on these. Why don't NPs and PAs need to recertify if we have to? Makes no sense.