The Certification Racket by Stella Fitzgibbons MD


I dutifully went through the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Maintenance of Certification process, but on the day I was supposed to take the exam I had fever, nausea & vomiting. Since I failed to reschedule at least 48 hours ahead, I am now informed that it will cost me $775 to take a 7-hour multiple choice test to get a new certificate.

Okay, I’m fortunate that my board cert doesn’t expire. But look at the MOC process:

  1. Accumulate CME credits, preferably via the Am. College of Physicians’ excellent every-3-years program…which I already do and would if the ABIM vanished tomorrow.
  2. Complete a MOC “module”. The only one for hospitalists involved getting doctors, nurses, supervisors etc. to fill out surveys about me and analyze the results. My son had harder assignments on his Scout badges, and IMO they were more relevant to his life.
  3. Take the aforementioned multiple-choice test. Are you serious, ABIM? Do you really think even my least educated patient believes that is an adequate measure of my clinical expertise?
  4. Get a couple of people to write letters saying that I know how to do my job. Neither of my references reports any contact from the ABIM to make sure they are who they say they are.

I hear equally snarky comments from doctors in other specialties about their certifying boards. Do these boards have any reason to exist other than charging exorbitant fees for something of such dubious value?

55190cookie-checkThe Certification Racket by Stella Fitzgibbons MD