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Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsuit

This is a discussion on Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsuit within the Law News forum, part of the FORUM INFORMATION category; Updated August 19, 2010: BOARD MEMBERS NOW FIND THEMSELVES UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR FRAUD AND NEGLIGENCE The American Board of Internal ...

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Old Jul 22nd, 2010, 02:14 PM   #1
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Default Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsuit

Updated August 19, 2010:

BOARD MEMBERS NOW FIND THEMSELVES UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR FRAUD AND NEGLIGENCE

The American Board of Internal Medicine has bungled its recent high-profile "investigation" according to two groups of lawyers filing charges. Board members THEMSELVES are now under Investigation for fraud and negligence charges. Two groups of class action lawyers are also gathering evidence.

Fraud investigation applies to the following Board members:

David B. Reuben, MD, Chair
Catherine R. Lucey, MD, Chair-Elect
Clarence H. Braddock, III, MD,
William J. Bremner, MD,
Marie T. Brown, MD
David L. Coleman, MD
John G. Harold, MD,
David P. Huston, MD
David H. Johnson, MD
Lynn Langdon (no medical degree)
Sue A. Ravenscraft, MD
Christine A. Sinsky, MD
Robert M. Wachter, MD
Keith R. Young MD



Original story information below:

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) sanctions approximately 140 docs in exam scandal



WACHLER & ASSOCIATES P.C. -- Legal Updates

June 15, 2010: The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has filed suits against 5 physicians for alleged copyright infringement, the misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract. ABIM also immediately suspended or revoked approximately 140 physicians' board certifications. The organization alleges that physicians solicited or shared confidential examination questions used to certify doctors in internal medicine and its subspecialties.

Quote:
Wachler & Associates, P.C., is based in Royal Oak, Michigan, and provides healthcare legal services to clients nationwide. Wachler & Associates, P.C., has represented hospitals, providers and suppliers nationwide in the Medicare appeals process. During the RAC Demonstration program, Wachler & Associates, P.C., represented clients in the RAC demonstration states of California, New York and Massachusetts.
The American Board of Internal Medicine has settled its lawsuit with two physicians it accused of collecting and disseminating questions from the ABIM's certification exam.

Modern Physician (Modern.Physician.com)

July 12, 2010: The lawsuit was filed in December 2009, and after a lengthy investigation, in June the ABIM formally sanctioned 139 physicians who are accused of collecting and sharing certification exam questions through the Arora Board Review, a Livingston, N.J.-based test preparation service. The affected physicians had their certifications suspended or revoked. As of June 28, related lawsuits filed against five physicians in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia were pending.

A settlement was reached June 10 in the initial lawsuit between the ABIM and doctors Rajender Arora, M.D., and Anise Kachadourian, M.D. The settlement included the surrender of Arora's internal medicine, geriatric medicine and gastroenterology certifications and the stipulation that Kachadourian not be allowed to take the certification exam for several years, ABIM spokeswoman Lorie Slass said. The lawsuit stated Kachadourian had taken and failed the test 10 times.

The court issued a permanent injunction barring Arora, Kachadourian, and the Arora Board Review company and its employees and representatives from copying, distributing, displaying or offering for sale any ABIM-copyrighted materials or any material derived from ABIM exams.

More...

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/arti...IAN/307129999#

ABIM Sorts Through Physician Appeals Over Arora Sanctions

WSJ's blog on health and the business of health

July 1st, 2010: We wondered how many of the doctors were appealing the sanctions — which range from a one-year suspension of board certification for sending a small number of questions to Arora after an exam, all the way to an indefinite revocation for “physicians who functioned as ‘ringleaders’; explicitly sought, collected and distributed many questions,” according to the ABIM. (Five physicians were also sued.)

The ABIM wouldn’t give us a breakdown of responses, but through a spokesman told us that some of the physicians have “admitted wrongdoing and are appealing for leniency in the sanction,” which the organization will consider as part of its appeals process. Some physicians haven’t appealed, and “many have asked for extension of the initial response for the appeal and those requests have been granted.” But overall, “most are appealing and a number have obtained counsel,” the spokesman says.

More...

http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2010/07/...ora-sanctions/

About ABIM

Certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)

Quote:
For more than 70 years, Certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has stood for the highest standard in internal medicine and its 19 subspecialties and has meant that internists have demonstrated – to their peers and to the public – that they have the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for the delivery of excellent patient care. ABIM is not a membership society, but a non-profit, independent evaluation organization. Our accountability is both to the profession of medicine and to the public.

Source: www.abim.org
Quick facts about ABIM Certification
  • ABIM certifies one out of every four practicing physicians in the United States
  • There are more than 200,000 ABIM Board Certified physicians
  • A patient’s most frequent encounter is with an internist

The subspecialties of Internal Medicine include:

Adolescent Medicine
Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology
Critical Care Medicine
Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism
Gastroenterology
Geriatric Medicine
Hematology
Hospice & Palliative Medicine
Infectious Disease
Interventional Cardiology
Medical Oncology
Nephrology
Pulmonary Disease
Rheumatology
Sleep Medicine
Sports Medicine
Transplant Hepatology

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)

ABIM is one of 24 medical specialty boards that make up the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Through ABMS, the boards supposedly work together to establish common standards for physicians to achieve and maintain board certification. The boards were founded by their respective specialties to protect the public by assessing and certifying doctors who meet specific educational, training and professional requirements. ABIM is an independent, non-profit organization.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2010, 02:52 PM   #2
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Default ABIM versus Arora Board Review

ABIM, Arora Board Review Settle Test Prep Questions Suit

After failing to prevail on its lawsuit, the ABIM has settled the original suit with Arora Board Review which claimed the test prep company “illegally obtained and disseminated copyrighted test questions” for use in Arora’s course. (The ABIM’s recent actions against physicians came from evidence gathered as part of this case.)

The ABIM and an attorney for Arora say that the settlement includes the following:
  • Arora is allowed to offer test-prep materials but won’t run live review courses.
  • A permanent injunction filed in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania forbids Arora from “creating, reproducing, copying, distributing, offering for sale, selling and/or publicly displaying” any materials that infringe on ABIM’s exam copyrights or “were derived in any way” from the exams. And it agrees not to collect, solicit or encourage third parties to collect or share the contents of the exams.
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Old Aug 21st, 2010, 08:49 PM   #3
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Default re: Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsuit

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, August 12, 2010

The major target of the investigation was Arora Board Review, a New Jersey test-preparation course that apparently for years shared information garnered from physicians who took the ABIM test with other would be test takers, according to ABIM. The principal of Arora Board Review has surrendered his certificate to perform the tests. ABIM also has filed court action against Arora personnel for improperly disseminating copyrighted test questions.

The ABIM has sent what some have dubbed "shame on you" letters to about 2,700 physicians who took the test. These doctors were not accused of wrongdoing, but the board believes should have known what was going on and possibly revealed the conduct to the board.

For those 139 physicians whose certificate faces possible suspension, the appeals process is beginning, and already seems drenched in bureaucracy and potential conflict.

There is some talk that the penalties may be too harsh, and that possibly the ABIM should consider education programs and other procedures for physicians who may be sanctioned, instead of certificate removals.

The ABIM has questions for itself it should have answered as well.
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Old Aug 21st, 2010, 09:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsu

The Board has created an utter mess. The Board is cheating it seems to me.

They sent out form sanctions letters that were not backed up by support. Many letters make multiple charges and the Board never really had or has any evidence.

If even one of those allegations is false I would recommend you sue the Board or join the others doing so.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2010, 12:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsu

Can I still join all of this if I sent them a statement settling?

I did so under duress. I really could not afford to litigate this whole matter.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2010, 10:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsu

Certainly you can if it was made under duress.

Also I think the Board's failure to prevail in their lawsuit against Arora was interesting.
They had to settle because they would have lost.

My instructors were always telling us to take all the courses?? Where was the Board while all of that was going on the last 15 years? How could any doctor or student know there was anything not correct.
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Old Aug 25th, 2010, 10:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsu

The stem of this thread suggests that fraud and negligence charges have been or
are being filed by two groups of lawyers against ABIM.

Can you PLEASE provide specific information:
  • What law firms are involved in filing these charges?
  • What venue? (assume Penn)
  • Have charges and class-action lawsuits ACTUALLY been filed, or are the plaintiff legal firms still investigating?
  • Have any state or federal anti-trust departments been involved in any way yet in any actions regarding the ABIM?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2010, 11:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsu

Check with that Michigan firm and maybe email them at this site.

IMHO, the Board was negligent in the preparation of the letters. Once discovery is fully conducted, I would guess the Board's insurance company will be paying the doctors to avoid damage awards.

They tried to force me to sign because I have no counsel and cannot afford to fight them, but that really is wrong. Their letter to me was 100 percent nonsense.
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Old Sep 17th, 2010, 05:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsu

I checked with the Michigan law firm and they are aware of this post but they do not know of any pending litigation against ABIM. However, there are over 80 lawyers involved nationwide in this case and communications are taking place amongst them with discussion of possible legal action against ABIM which includes what is mentioned in the first post, as well as possible antitrust/restraint of trade litigation. This would involve merging all the parties who are sanctioned by ABIM into one major lawsuit and their names would become public, but as things now stand the sanctioned physicians have little to lose anyway. One other lawfirm that is at the forefront in this respect is:

Health Law Alert - June 16th, 2010 - Law Firm Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Greenberg, Formato & Einiger, LLP Attorneys Lake Success, New York

Hope this helps.
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Old Sep 18th, 2010, 10:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Fraud, negligence charges against American Board of Internal Medicine ABIM, lawsu

The letters that were written were clearly negligent, defamatory, without basis, without adequate due diligence...on and on.

They are not tied to any facts, just loose accusations. If you sue the ABIM Board, name the doctors individually as well for fraud and negligence and defamation, include their professional liability insurers in your target list.

The ABIM Board and the doctors have the ability to pay and they have professional liability insurers.

Very few if any doctors agreed to give or sell questions back to any testing company.
And where was this Board while thousands were taking these test courses over years? Was the Board sleeping during all of this high-profile activity.


They could not even prevail on their lawsuit against Arora itself.
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