In April 2010, the Oklahoma State Medical Board approved an amendment to the Oklahoma Administrative code which would have allowed diplomates of the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) to advertise themselves as “board certified” in their medical specialty. It has come to this site’s attention that Kevin Weiss, CEO of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), ABPS’ chief competitor, contacted Oklahoma State Senator Glenn Coffee and influenced him to block this amendment in the state legislature. Upon information and belief, and after consultation with counsel, it has become evident that such an action is improper and unlawful, and may constitute first amendment and ethical violations, particularly on the part of the senator.
Such behavior by the leaders of ABMS is more reminiscent of the actions of corrupt political bosses, or more recently, CEOs of Exxon and Bear Stearns than the head of a medical specialty certification organization that purports to have the public’s interests at heart.
This is not the first time that ABPS efforts’ to seek recognition for its diplomates have been blocked via questionable means by organizations who perceive ABPS as a threat. ABPS certification is recognized in states such as Florida and Texas, and in both states, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which is supposed to represent ALL Emergency physicians, and not solely those with Emergency Medicine residency training who comprise barely half of the currently practicing EM physician workforce, have made repeated attempts to influence these state medical boards to withdraw their recognition of ABPS board certification.
In the face of an impending ER physician shortage, it would seem that ACEP, instead of opposing ABPS, should be welcoming and aiding its initiative to provide experienced and skilled ER physicians to the public. It is the utmost hypocrisy and symptomatic of how out of touch they are from real world realities, for the ACEP leadership to continue to proclaim that Emergency medicine residency training is a “gold standard” for ER physicians when a significant number of both ACEP leaders and members are not EM residency trained. As one of the many comments made on this topic on the ACEP website noted, the ACEP stand on EM residency training is not a “gold standard”, it’s a double standard.
We will be posting Dr. Weiss’ letter to Senator Coffee in full on this site when it becomes available shortly. At that time, we invite ABMS, ACEP and ABPS to comment.