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ABMS Scandal, Board Certification Alternatives

I come across some interesting facts from time to time and wrote recently about the ABMS’s terrible monopoly in the board certification process of physicians. Apparently, I’m not the only one who has noticed the ABMS scandal but there seems to be some uproar that a non-profit organization somehow managed to have $24,000,000 in surplus.

There is a problem with presidents and CEO’s getting paid a tad under $1,000,000/year to be part of the executive leadership – it’s excessive. Executives certainly deserve a decent income because they are the ones responsible for ensuring that all appropriate physicians are certified but there is no need for a surplus especially when MOC’s have been coming under as much scrutiny as they have.

There is a whole other problem when ABMS executives falsely report their incomes, that’s when the patrons start calling foul. I would liken ABMS to the BBB, the Better Business Bureau.

People believe(d) that the BBB is some powerful entity that has powers beyond what they marketed to the consumer. In fact, they are simply a private entity that has taken it upon themselves to mislead the public, without any government backlash, into thinking they are some central agency in charge of keeping businesses legit. The BBB is as legit of an agency as Yelp. You can complain to them and they can come to my mechanic shop and ask me to do xyz and I would have no obligation to talk to them.

Alternative To ABMS

The MOC argument has been beaten to death – I don’t think we need to rehash it. The data that ‘supports’ MOC as a good tool to keep physicians competent comes from … ABMS.

If you are tired of the ABMS’s tactics, switch to NBPAS. It’s much cheaper and there is no more testing you have to endure. Think you need MOCs to stay competent? There are enough MOC opportunities to have you swimming in questions ’til the end of eternity.

The ABMS Scandal

The following 5 points are offered by me to argue against the ABMS’s ability to do their job effectively and honestly. The case against them is building up and I’d love to read some feedback from my readers if you think otherwise.

#1. Where are our MOC fees going to?

So there is that thing about the $24,000,000 surplus. The problem is that no such organization would have a need for such a crazy surplus (they aren’t manufacturing solar panels). If they really need the surplus. If a ‘reserve’ is needed then that needs to be part of the business plan which must be made publicly available as a non-profit organization.

The public filings for any 501c organization can be researched for free online.

#2. Impressive Earnings For The Executive Team

Here is the ABMS leadership team. Feel free to type in the salary of whichever doctor you like on that team to get an idea of their income. While researching their names, I believe you will come across some interesting commentary.

#3. Underreporting Income – I’m Sure It’s Just An Oversight

Apparently their income is reported one way to the public and another way to the IRS. The tax return is also public and I couldn’t make as much sense of it as the author below. But let’s just say that the reported $245k is not what the executives actually earn.

#4. Do What You Preach

How about the President’s own board recertification habits? Surely she must have kept up with MOC’s… maybe not.

#5. Drumming Up Business Overseas

When you are a non-profit, it’s important that you use people’s money as if it’s your own. Well, apart from the impressive executive salaries needed to keep us certified, there seems to be some impressive entrepreneurial endeavors going on as well. Not to mention, some luxurious getaways.

Take Home Message

I am not trying to tell a business how to be ethical. However, I don’t believe that the ABMS has my best interest in mind. Nor am I happy about supporting such luxurious expenditures and salaries.

In order for such organizations to justify charging me so much money, they have to put me through unnecessary MOC’s and recertification testing. Thankfully we can choose to not be certified by ABMS and go with NBPAS instead. Is NBPAS recognized by your medical group? Probably not.

This blog is about the autonomy of time, and financial freedom, and about learning enough about the world of personal finance that we no longer feel like pawns. The less we become dependent on the income from our jobs, the more options we have and the better decisions we can make. I can still practice medicine with large medical groups with only an NBPAS board certification but I won’t be able to be a full-timer there – and that’s perfectly fine. Thankfully I have afforded myself such an option.

3 replies on “ABMS Scandal, Board Certification Alternatives”

About time that someone told the ABMS to stop harassing doctors with their unnecessary tests.

Though not all employers accept NBPAS as a board certification, plenty do. NBPAS doesn’t require regular test taking in order to stay certified. ABMS’s main goals are monetary. Their second objective is being an oversight committee much like the medical boards which means they don’t answer to physicians but to the public and the hospitals. My quality as a physician won’t change because my board certification stamp reads NBPAS versus ABMS and since I don’t need more policing, I choose the former.

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