ABOS & ABMS Catch-22'd Doctor

The promising career of an orthopedic surgeon was destroyed by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) via its Catch-22.  The Federal District Court recognized Dr Bruce E Ellison’s dilemma:  "This, says Dr. Ellison, confronted him with the proverbial catch-22:  without medical staff privileges he cannot take Part II of the [ABOS] certification exam, but without [ABOS] certification he cannot acquire medical staff privileges.” (Click on downloadable link, Appx5 of Appeal Brief).  Hospitals require that doctors maintain board certification. These interdependent requirements are ABOS's Catch-22: no hospital privileges without board certification; no board certification without hospital privileges (Link ABOS Catch 22 letter to Dr Ellison).

Dr. Ellison first sued ABOS in Federal Court in 2015.  Dr. Ellison’s antitrust lawsuit is now before the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals (Link Appeal Brief & Appeal Appendix) with their decision likely made by 2022.  The National Medical Association & Alan Ullberg (Link NMA Ullberg Brief), American Board of Physician Specialties (Link ABPS Brief), and Open Markets Institute (Link OMI Brief) all support Dr. Ellison's case via amicus briefs.  Clearly Dr. Ellison cannot fully practice without hospital privileges and ABOS board certification.  ABOS’s Catch-22 is the core of Dr. Ellison’s antitrust lawsuit. He needs financing to maintain his lawsuit against ABOS.

The ABOS, along with its parent American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and all of the 24 ABMS member boards, are revenue-maximizing, monopoly corporations that arrange for hospitals to require their board certifications exclusively.   ABOS garnered over $7,000,000 from board certification and MOC fees in 2016 (Link pg 4 of Appeal Brief, footnote 3); other ABMS member boards have similarly amassed many more millions of dollars (Link ABMS & 24 Member Boards IRS Income Forensic Data).

I, Alan D Ullberg (link to my website bio ), am sponsoring this campaign to support Dr. Ellison's case, a federal antitrust lawsuit to stop American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS)’s (and indirectly American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and all its 24 member boards) monopolistic practices over board certification of U.S. physicians.

Dr. Ellison is suing for the sake of all the over 900,000 ABMS board certified U.S. physicians and their patients.   All donations will be used solely to pay the legal costs of Dr. Ellison’s “David vs Goliath” case against American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS).  Beyond  preparing oral arguments before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, there is necessary legal planning in anticipation of discovery and expert witness preparation.  

You may contact me with questions and concerns via GoFundMe or my website.   Please make checks payable to  Alan D. Ullberg, P.O. Box 69, Sunderland, MD 20[phone redacted].  Contributors providing a return address receive an acknowledgement letter and contribution receipt.  We accept anonymous donations.

Whether you  provide financial assistance or not, I want to thank you on behalf of Dr. Ellison for considering his professional circumstances. 

Best wishes to all of you,    Alan D. Ullberg, Esq.


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Alan Ullberg 
Annie Hall, MD
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