The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), in the midst of a global pandemic and record levels of physician burnout, medical education debt, and retirements, added insult to injury to the dwindling internal medicine physician workforce by raising their annual Maintenance of Certification (MOC) fees 25% from $165 in 2021 to $220 in 2022. Physicians with more than one certification can add another $120 per year for each additional certification the want to “maintain.”
Physicians receive nothing new to explain this massive single-year increase in fees for their “MOC points.” It is just the same old every-10-year high-stakes test (or if a doctor prefers, answering hundreds of proprietary timed “longitudinal assessment” questions pushed to their cell phone as they try to do their jobs).
Because the ABIM’s MOC product is now indelibly tied to the validity of a doctor’s initial ABIM specialty board certification, physicians that work at hospitals that require board certification from an American Board of Medical Specialties’ member board like ABIM, they will be left with little choice but to pay the fees and participate in this product’s requirements if they want to maintain privileges at those hospitals.
But that is not how it always was. And while the Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit sided with ABIM in the antitrust suit against them, in oral arguments (1:57:00 in the transcript) before the judges of Court of Appeals of the 7th Circuit in a similar lawsuit against the American Board of Radiology (ABR), the judges seemed to take notice of the importance of the HISTORY of how that tie was established. While we cannot predict how the Appellate judges will rule in the ABR antitrust case, there might be a glimmer of hope for working physicians employed at hospitals to end the gaslighting and forced participation in ABMS Maintenance of Certification for credentialing if the court remands the ABR case back to the District Court level.
Physicians interested in help in the forced participation in the unproven MOC program are encouraged to join PPA (its free and allows us to know who our supporters are) and consider a donation to the legal effort via our GoFundMe page or directly to PPA and (earmarking your donation “Legal” in comments).