Dear American Board of Internal Medicine: Bite me

A few months back I told you a bit about what internists do to maintain their board certification. I suggested that the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) eliminate the expensive, time consuming process perhaps in favor of a less formal, ongoing education program. Well, you gotta watch out what you wish for.

Today I received an email from the Board—the board which just gave me a 10 year certification—that it ain’t over. After having been assured that my two year of preparation and examination, costing me about $2000 and endless hours, I will now be required to pay the board $200/year and engage in even more busy-work with false supplements like Protandim, such as taking quizzes and collecting patient data (oh, and BTW, is there some sort of IRB approval for all this data-gathering? DrugMonkey?)

When the Board implemented the 10 year certification process it grandfathered in members who had been certified by a certain date. This new process has no such provision: after having spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours with the understanding that I won’t have to do this again for several years, I’m now told that I will need to keep going.

This will take away from patient time and from other educational activities. Instead of choosing my own educational programs, I’ll have to use that time and money to do modules from the Board.

I know it’s not all that dignified, but I must tell the ABIM: you’ve jumped the shark with this one. Practicing internists don’t have time or money for your bullshit. Please fuck off.

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  1. Uncle Glenny

     /  April 6, 2013

    Sounds like someone came up with No Physician Left Behind!

  2. Marni

     /  April 6, 2013


  3. Rober Ringler

     /  April 6, 2013

    Either your residency failed to tell you about the ongoing Maintenance of Certification process, or you were asleep. It’s been a requirement for 7+ years now. #nofreelunch

    • Incorrect. This is entirely new. Ive been in practice almost 15 years and just finished the MOC process and my recert exam. The new process requires a fee every year and continued work on modules, most of which is busy work and either not relevant to my practice or to simplistic to be in any way useful.

  4. SurgPA

     /  April 7, 2013

    It will come as little solace that the NCCPA (PA certifying agency) is going to put us through similar hoops with similarly dubious educational benefit. Must be some new buzzword among the administrative class in medical education circles.

  5. mike

     /  April 7, 2013

    this is extortion. Considering that reimbursements are down, NP/PAs are competing more than ever…why should I even bother. We are fucked no matter what. I say we start a new board certification that isn’t a rip off. Hey ABIM publish your financial records!

  6. marcsf

     /  April 8, 2013

    Please see for recent news about abolishing MOC. There are plenty of us trying to eliminate this scourge

  7. marcsf

     /  April 8, 2013

    sorry, that is

  8. Moderation

     /  April 9, 2013

    This has happened with American Board of Pediatrics as well. I have been in practice for about 15 years as well and the ABP has pulled the same crap, only it is every 7 years. There is nothing more hypocritical than grandfathering in older physicians. Seriously what is the rational reason for grandfathering someone. I could easily make the argument that the farther you are from residency the more intense the certification requirements should be. None the less these changes appear to serve to do nothing but bring more money into the Boards. Additionally, these boards have you between a rock and a hard place. I am sure they would say that you can be licensed and practice medicine without their certification, but that is a bunch of crap. You need their certification for insurance companies and hospitals to pay and give you privileges. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind taking my board exams every 7 years and completing my CME requirements, but the new requirements that have been added are just busy work that allows the board to charge me additional fees. Fuck you seems like an understatement.

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