Wednesday, July 07, 2010

WSJ Health Blog comments about the Arora-ABIM case

---are really heating up. Many among the 2700 docs who got letters of reprimand just for attending the Arora course and not “blowing the whistle” are seeking legal help. Many more are no doubt frightened. As a matter of conscience many will feel compelled to disclose the letter on future applications. This, they feel, will only lead to more questions, credentialing headaches and potential damage to their professional reputations. Here are a few excerpts:

I one of the recipients of a letter of reprimand from the ABIM. I had attended the course in 2006 and it was made clear throughout that the ABIM was well aware of how the course operated and that the course was approved by the AMA for CME credit. Why would one report that which was already known? I never for a minute believed that any of the questions discussed would appear on my exam and considered them only as learning tools...

I would not let this sit on your file without contesting it. It will be something that you will have to explain in every application you make for work anywhere in the USA and it is really uncalled for.

I too received this reprimand letter; I’m now going to have to explain this for the rest of my professional career when applying for privileges. I went to the Arora course 6 years ago.

I’m a resident, and I got packets of questions from my seniors and friends in other programs. Aren’t these publicly available - how can you sue somebody for compiling the questions and then teaching the answers?

This kind of thing, along with crazy lawsuits, makes me scared to pursue medicine.
If the ABIM can do this to the people who teach the course, and to those for just attending, is it even worth becoming an Internist.

I’ve taken very few review Board courses in my 30+ years of practice. I recall almost every course advertisement highlighted that it got REAL QUESTIONS from previous exams. I was offered $7 per question by the Stanley Kaplan group. Later, a friend who runs a popular review course asked me for neurology board questions. The rationale was that the questions are useful only as exemplars once they’ve been used. That was the same answer I got when I asked my specialty Board why my maintenance of certification exam cost $1800 for a computer-administered test which is easier to generate than the SAT’s - ‘it costs us a lot to make up new questions b/c they’re useless one they’ve been published’.

Information wants to be free. Nothing that has been used once is reusable to the same effect. So, what’s the big issue here when the doctors have been told over and over that each exam has new questions?

I have attended many review courses throughout my career. Fellow physicians, beware we are next!!!! ARORA was a CME approved course by the AMA. Thanks ABIM for discouraging even more physicians into primary care! Spending our life’s energy, taking care of obesity, diabetes, abd pain, alcoholism, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, non-compliance, and depression just got even more rewarding! ABIM reinstate my brothers and sisters who are on the front-lines caring for America’s sick or AM I NEXT?

There are many nuances in this dispute. It is clearly not just a case of “docs caught cheating on board exam.”


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