Iowa Connection to ABIM Foundation Fireball?

My firetruckI saw Dr. Westby Fisher’s recent blog post about the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation’s connection with allegedly using physician testing fees to purchase “…a $2.3 million luxury condominium complete with a chauffeur-driven BMW 7-series town car.” Worse yet, there’s an implication that Iowa is somehow involved in that the ABIM, …”a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) independent non-profit physician evaluation organization…” is “…domiciled in Iowa.” I’ve also tweeted about this:

Dr. Fisher writes the blog Dr. Wes. Dr. Wes has been a much more effective critic than I about the regulatory capture problem including the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) debacle and seems to have done quite a bit of background research into the ABIM money trail in this matter.

I was surprised to see Iowa has been dragged into this although it isn’t abundantly clear to me how this occurred. What troubles me is that the whole matter of the “…hypocrisy, waste and corruption” of the ABIM now seems suspiciously linked to my home state.

I don’t have to tell you that, as a long-time opponent of MOC and Maintenance of Licensure (MOL) and the author of resolutions opposing both which have been adopted by the Iowa Medical Society over the past year–I smell smoke in Iowa and where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire.

So the luxury condominium is up for sale, but not before a conflagration of controversy flared up over it. I’m a consulting psychiatrist and if one specialty certification board is giving the impression that something needs to be done to bring it under control, then that casts a pall of smoke over all other boards, including the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).

Dr. Amos puts out fires And when I tell residents and medical students about the trouble that awaits them, they get a tired look on their faces because they know they’re not in a position to do much about it with heavy student loan debt to repay. I’m a consulting psychiatrist in an academic medical center running a hit-and-run psychiatry consultation service so I know a little bit about what it feels like to be part of fire brigade.

On the other hand, for a fireball this big, we’re going to need heavy equipment, especially to remove the soot from Iowa.



Author: Jim Amos

Dr. James J. Amos is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the UI Carver College of Medicine at The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Dr. Amos received a B. S. degree in Distributed Studies (Zoology, Chemistry, and Microbiology) in 1985 from Iowa State University and an M.D. from The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa in 1992. He completed his psychiatry residency, including a year as Chief Resident, in 1996 at the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa. He has co-edited a practical book about consultation psychiatry with Dr. Robert G. Robinson entitled Psychosomatic Medicine: An Introduction to Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. As a clinician educator, among Dr. Amos’s most treasured achievements is the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.