According to a Medscape survey of US internists in 2018, their average salary was $230,000.
That same year, according to recently-released tax documents, Richard Baron, MD, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the ABIM Foundation, earned a cool $1,425,605 and non-physician Rebecca Lipner, the Senior Vice President, and Chief Financial Officer (who has never authored a study that wasn't supportive of the certification industry in her tenure with ABIM) earned $758,502:
(It is also notable that ABIM has a former PriceWaterhouseCooper executive serving as Chief Medical Officer that earns over half a million dollars annually as well).
Internists pay these salaries from their testing fees. Those same testing fees also pay "bonuses" that these executives unilaterally decide to bestow upon themselves, including "retention bonuses." But a "retention bonus" from an "early retirement severance package" makes absolutely no sense at all.
From ABIM's 2018 Form 990:
"IN 2016, ABIM MADE AVAILABLE TO CERTAIN ABIM EMPLOYEES AN EARLY RETIREMENT SEVERANCE PACKAGE WHICH INCLUDED A PROVISION FOR YEARS OF SERVICE. REBECCA LIPNER, ABIM SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF ASSESSMENT & RESEARCH, QUALIFIED FOR THIS EARLY RETIREMENT SEVERANCE PACKAGE. IN AN EFFORT TO ENCOURAGE HER TO STAY, ABIM OFFERED REBECCA LIPNER A RETENTION BONUS TO REMAIN EMPLOYED WITH ABIM AS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF ASSESSMENT & RESEARCH THOUGH 6/30/2018. THE 2-YEAR AGREEMENT, SIGNED IN MARCH 2016, PROVIDED FOR THE PAYMENT OF A RETENTION BONUS WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER 6/30/18 IF CERTAIN TERMS AND CONDITIONS, AS PROVIDED IN THE AGREEMENT, HAD BEEN FULFILLED.AS OF 6/30/18, THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS PROVIDED FOR IN THE AGREEMENT HAVE BEEN FULFILLED. IN COMPLIANCE WITH TERMS OF THE SIGNED AGREEMENT, IN JULY 2018, ABIM RESEARCH, A ONE-TIME RETENTION BONUS IN THE AMOUNT OF $300,000. AS PER INSTRUCTIONS FOR SCHEDULE J, $300,000 WAS INCLUDED ON SCHEDULE J PAID REBECCA LIPNER, ABIM SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF ASSESSMENT..."
Salaries to some executives of the ABIM have almost doubled since 2010. These exorbitant salaries and questionable "bonuses" are little more than taxation to physicians without appropriate representation.
It is time to end this nonsense.