Read the ABIM “Mea Culpa” in its original text here
Dear Not A Dr. Until You Pay Us:
ABIM clearly got it wrong. We failed launching our meaningless programs by not being able to scare you into submission. We want to change that.
Nearly 80 years ago, the AMA and the ACP schemed together to form the American Board of Internal Medicine.
ABIM was charged with dividing and conquering the discipline of internal medicine from other forms of practice by concocting standards for internists. We pushed hard to extend OUR program concepts to all specialties via the mother board ABMS! Those standards change because internal medicine and its 20 subspecialties are dynamic.
A year ago, ABIM changed its once-every-ten -years Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program to a more continuous one. We easily imposed the “recertification” exam back in 1989 without your input, and we thought we could do it again.
This recent change generated legitimate criticism, but as we did in the past with the recertification exam, we turned a deaf ear. We know you already have meaningful programs that keep you up to date, but we want everyone else to think you do not.
ABIM is not listening but wants to give the impression that we are responsive to your concerns. While ABIM’s Board believes that a more continuous certification helps maintain our combined $5 million dollar cherry picked board member salaries, it is clear that we have to try harder to force MOC down the throats of physicians like yourself.
We ticked off the grandfathered physicians by absolving their certification, but we can’t indenture the younger generation of physicians into perpetual certification/MOC without their support. We want to make it seem like we apologize. We are not sorry.
As a result, ABIM is taking the following steps: Effective immediately, ABIM is suspending the Practice Assessment, Patient Voice and Patient Safety requirements for at least two years. That means, you have two years before we change your certification again if you did not complete these activities.
Diplomates who are currently not certified, but who have satisfied all requirements except the Practice Assessment requirement, will be issued a new certificate this year to shut you up.
Within the next six months, ABIM will still publicly report your status, but will use words that keep us out of a legal bind. What we will add underneath your status will be: “All ABIM certifications issued in 1990 (1987 for critical care medicine and 1988 for geriatric medicine) and thereafter must be maintained through ABIM’s MOC program” to ensure that we can cast doubt about your training to the public.
This means your countless hours of training and practice mean ^%$ (bupkis) without ABIM.
ABIM is updating the Internal Medicine MOC exam because our increasing failure rates have been called into question. The update, much like the exam, will continue to be shrouded in mystery and lack any transparency. This will be incorporated beginning fall 2015 and we will continue to concoct ways to add more subspecialties.
MOC enrollment fees will remain at or below the 2014 levels through at least 2017 which will ensure our exorbitant salaries. By the end of 2015, ABIM will concoct new and more flexible products that we will force you to purchase by using ACCME-approved Continuing Medical Education (CME) products, because it gives the public, hospitals and insurance panels, the impression that you need ABIM, not CME.
Please visit our FAQ page (so we can track you) for more of our double speak. I do want you to know that, since the changes being made are not significant, it will take time until your individual status page looks updated on the ABIM website.
ABIM is giving you the impression that we are changing the way we work so that it is guided by, and integrated fully with, the medical communities’ wallets. However, I know you are a bunch of sheep and the mere impression of action will speak louder than words. Therefore, ABIM will work (aka provide funding) with medical societies (because many have spoken against MOC) and directly with diplomates who already agree with us to seek input regarding the MOC program through meetings, webinars, forums, online communication channels, surveys and more. The goal is to justify our $53 million expenditures and co-create a MOC program that reflects the medical communities’ shared wallets and provides a professionally created and publicly recognizable product for keeping up our salaries.
As the first non-academic physician to take the lead at ABIM, I particularly want to show off my 30 years in a private, community practice, and I see this letter to you as a start – a new beginning to scam you directly. The ABIM Board of Directors, staff and I are fully committed to doing a better job – to ensure that ABIM and MOC evolve to better reflect our priorities, our compensation.
It remains important for me to insist that the public needs to question if physicians are knowledgeable, because simply having a medical degree, completion of residency and obtaining an initial certification is not enough. Internists are justifiably proud and want to show off their skills and we want to profit off your ego. The current MOC program can and should be improved to help you do just that.
Over the next few months, you’ll see more communications from me and ABIM leadership asking you about your vision for internal medicine, the MOC program and your opinions about what it means to be a doctor today. We know you are too scared to respond. We have also created “Transforming ABIM, a Google + Community (more tracking!) that you can join to ask questions and share ideas, and a blog. But we know you won’t participate, especially since we have scared internists with recent lawsuits and have stripped physicians of their certification.
I really haven’t heard you – and ABIM’s Board has not heard you either. We will continue to feign listening to your concerns and concoct programs to make it seem like it embodies our shared values as internists. You need MOC, but we need MOC more. For ABIM, MOC means Maintenance of Cash.
Thank you for your lack of input and feedback that has allowed us to impose recertification on you for the past 20+ years. And thank you for working so hard that you didn’t see what we were up to. This made it easy for us to steal your careers and ruin your credibility while you were busy in medical school, residency, and practicing medicine.
Richard J. Baron, MD, MACP
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Board of Internal Medicine
Read the ABIM “Mea Culpa” in its original text here