Who Put the ABFM in Charge?

Here is the email I received:

The ABFM wants to remind you about your continuing certification deadline on Dec. 31, 2017. We are happy to assist you in any way to complete these requirements, and hope that you will be able to value the ABFM as your partner in improving your patient care and assisting you with your desire for life-long learning.

Our records indicate that you have not completed any Family Medicine Certification activities during this Stage.* Stage requirements are a minimum one (1) Knowledge Self-Assessment activity, a minimum one (1) Performance Improvement activity, and a minimum of 50 Certification Points.

Log in to your Physician Portfolio to check your progress and complete your Stage requirements. Please make sure that you have completed the additional Stage requirements: 150 credits of acceptable CME (acquired during the 3-year Stage), and compliance with Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct guidelines.

If you need help logging in, completing modules, or if you have any questions regarding your current status, please contact our Support Center at 877-223-7437 or via email at [email protected] for assistance.

* If you believe this record of your module completion is in error, you can verify your status by logging in and checking the Track Your Progress page at www.theabfm.org.

Let’s state the facts.  I have taken and passed the boards three times. And what it is worth, I am never going to give them another dime of my money again.  The MOC (maintenance of certification) is a scam. Since when did the ABFM mandate that I keep them updated on my CME?  Why do I have to do their requirements?  The state Board of Licensure already has me doing that?    And what is the “150 credits of acceptable CME (acquired during the 3-year Stage), and compliance with Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct guidelines?”  It seems to me that they are insinuating that I will lose my certification if I don’t listen to them.

I was told that I if do their yearly requirements  to delay my next MOC test for ten years or NOT do it and take the next MOC in 7 years.  So have they changed their minds or is this more confusion to fool doctors into paying them?  Who put these idiots in charge?  We NEED TO KILL THE MOC AND PUT THE ABFM IN ITS PLACE.


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  6 comments for “Who Put the ABFM in Charge?

  1. John Kelly, MD, MPH
    February 26, 2017 at 9:49 am

    A meritocracy accepted by the insurance corporations which pay you doesn’t have to care about whether they have your back. Hey! Who’s in charge here? They are! So what if their members are in the only job where they can get paid whatever the insurance feels like paying, or not paid at all, for work already completed? Got to come up with impressive sounding acronyms for programs meant to show they are keeping their docs in line! Who cares if the online tests have mistaken answers or no accepted right answer at all? You’re being tested! This isn’t meant to be educational. So grind it out, doc! We’ll decide if you are acceptable! And we’re not so sure.

  2. sss
    February 24, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    The major criteria required by ABFM to stay certed. is paying their fee!!
    Irritates and saddens me that Puffer the corrupt clown is still taking $750k year!! BTW, take a look at the pics of the ABFM execs…Yeah, they really look like the docs. I work with….
    Meanwhile, the FNPs are getting degrees on-line…

    Need the younger residents and students to revolt, I’m done with this.

  3. Hawgguy
    February 22, 2017 at 10:58 am

    I’m in pretty much the same place. I have taken/passed the boards 4 times. I caved and did the moc last December as well as coued up $600. I had my 14 year old daughter do my “Cultural Competency” for me and she aced it. She did tell me I was full of white privilege – so there may be a down side to that maneuver.

    I checked our hospital by-laws. They do not require board certification. My lingering concern, preventing total abandonment of the AAFP, is that at some point in the future insurers/medicaid may stipulate the BC is required for reimbursement, or that I may choose to move and work at a facility that does require BC.

  4. Sir Lance-a-lot
    February 22, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I need to be BC at this time in my life, so I have to do what the ABFM says, at least for now.

    I, too got those e-mails all through last year. As time goes on, they become increasingly urgent.

    I finally did their dumb CME and “modules” around December 30th, which seemed to really irk them. Essentially, they want $600 from you ($200 a year for all of the hard work they do to “help” you to “maintain your certification”), they want you to do some test-fail-retest things on the subjects of your choice (no way to pass at first, as select questions require either outdated, or too-new-for-publication answers), which require a few hours each, and then re-type your CME into their computer forms (but, since their modules are worth Category 1 points, you can just do a few extras to achieve all the CME you need, without paying any more for them, other than your precious time).
    They also want you to do a “research project.” They have one set up for you on handwashing (Whoopee!), but you could do something else. The project is simple, but takes about 2 months to do. If you don’t have 2 months, you can use their “sample data,” which they say are designed for non-clinical docs, who wouldn’t be able to do a clinical project. They do not warn you in any way that you will need 2 months of lead time to actually do the thing that they want you to do.
    There is also the option of doing this dumb Federal course on “cultural competence” (ie: “It is bad that you are white”) instead, which they offer with no explanation, including no explanation of the fact that the course never changes, and that if you already did it once 3 years ago, you can re-do the whole thing, but you can’t use it again, and no indication that you have already used it once, and therefore shouldn’t waste your time on it (Thanks, guys!).

    Their stupid “simulated patient” timewasters are now “optional.”

    So, Doug, that’s what you’re missing. I look forward to not wasting my time on these assholes one day, myself.

  5. Steve O'
    February 22, 2017 at 7:48 am

    I’ve been boarded by the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons. The criteria are:

    1) Previous certification by an ABMS or AOA member board
    2) Valid license to practice medicine
    3) At least 50 hours of ACCME accredited CME within the past 24 months (physicians-in-training are exempt)
    4) For selected specialties, active hospital privileges in that specialty
    5) Clinical privileges in certified specialty have not been permanently revoked.

    Is that board “for real,” or “window dressing?” Who is asking, and who is answering. Those are solid criteria for the ongoing practice of medicine, and were sufficient for decades in the profession.
    The alternative system is carefully constructed for academic physicians to easily achieve the coveted honor of MOC, while the chumps in the community struggle to pass, and pay lots of money, too.
    Is it for real? Or is the NBMS phony?

  6. Bill Ameen MD
    February 22, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Same emails I get every so often, just like the mail from the AMA “Dues notice” which goes into the round file. I passed the ABFM SIX times, but never again. The hospital I was employed by required board certification for staff membership, so I resigned effective December 31, 2014, with the expiration date of my boards. Never even received an acknowledgment or gratitude for staff service from the clueless new administrator while my patients left in droves after me.

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