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Practicing Physicians of America

$118,412 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 605 people in 3 months
Created May 14, 2018
Westby G. Fisher
on behalf of Practicing Physicians of America
My name is Westby Fisher, MD and I work as the  Director of  Cardiac Electrophysiology at a large health care system in the Chicago Metro area. I am board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in three specialties in medicine: Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Cardiac Electrophysiology. Because I am nearly 60 years of age, I have watched the ABIM’s Board certification process go from a completely voluntary credential to one that is time-limited requiring recurrent payments to the ABIM throughout one’s lifetime.
 
Initially, the process of repeating one’s certification testing was not too onerous, but by 2013 it became apparent to me that the high-stakes repetitive testing of US physicians was about something much more.
 
After enduring the latest iteration of re-certification, called Maintenance of Certification (MOC™), for the third time in 2013, I began investigating the origins of MOC™ and followed its finances. My research has uncovered the purchase of a $2.3 million 2-bedroom luxury condominium by the ABIM Foundation, a shadow organization of the ABIM, in December of 2007 that came complete with a chauffeur-driven Mercedes S-Class town car, and off-shoring of $6.5 million of our testing fees to the Cayman Islands in the fiscal year 2014. With the help of a forensic accountant, Mr. Charles Kroll, we identified that the ABIM Foundation was not created in 1999 in the state of Iowa as tax documents claimed, but rather in 1989 – some 10 years earlier - in Pennsylvania. Between 1989 and 2007 over $78 million dollars of physician testing fees were secretly funneled from the ABIM to its Foundation, reportedly so the ABIM and its Foundation could define “medical professionalism” for US physicians. From those funds, the “Choosing Wisely®” campaign was created, an ironic name for the use of our physician testing fees. Numerous undisclosed corporate conflicts of interest were uncovered as well. A sampling of the potential tax fraud we have uncovered from public documents is included in this pdf file .
 
Despite overwhelming support from AMA House of Delegates and state legislators to correct the situation, our efforts have been blocked by special interests. In February of 2017, I co-founded Practicing Physicians of America (PPA), a Delaware-based membership corporation based in New Braunfels, TX that is organizing as a 501(c)(6) business league to help organize practicing physicians without the influence of corporate interests. None of our board members, including myself, are paid – we make our income as practicing physicians, like everyone else.
 
PPA has set up this campaign through GoFundMe to raise the necessary funds to complete our pre-litigation factual and legal investigation and draft a proposed Complaint against ABIM, the ABIM Foundation, their directors, executives, and perhaps others under federal antitrust laws and state consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices acts to bring an end to MOC™. We are also investigating possible claims for waste and mismanagement at ABIM.
 
PPA has finalized engagement terms with a law firm that specializes in complex litigation of this sort and has agreed to work at reduced hourly rates and to set a ceiling for this phase of its work. We can complete this next stage if enough of us commit to donating at least $250 to the PPA litigation support fund. I was honored to be the very first person to commit to the fund in the amount of $1,000. 
 
You can also designate your donation as anonymous if you choose to do so. Please be aware that payments to the “tip jar” do not go toward our campaign and that while “tips” do help defray GoFundMe’s costs (there is no charge to PPA to set up or administer the campaign), “tips” are entirely voluntary.
 
With your support, we will be in a position to take action within just a couple of months. Many thanks for your help in restoring integrity to the ABIM and helping us take down MOC™ for all subspecialties nationwide.

Finally, for those wanting to send a check in lieu of using this site, please earmark the check for "Legal Fund" and send it to: 

Practicing Physicians of America, Inc.
876 Loop 337, Building 101
New Braunfels, TX 78130
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Podcast: Hope in the Fight Against MOC

https://accadandkoka.com/episode17/
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To our loyal contributors -

Thanks to your efforts, progress on our initial complaint is well underway. (I have been away on holiday with my wife celebrating our 35th anniversary for the past week, so I apologize in advance to those who did not receive a "thank you" receipt for your contribution until today).

We still need to raise a little under $40k to reach our goal, but I feel confident that we can do so with your help.

Here's how.

One of my former colleagues simply pulled each of his partners aside and explained what we were trying to accomplish through legal means. Personal contact with your colleagues is VERY effective. Most physicians are NOT on social media, and need to understand what is needed and why. We are fully aware of the time and expense that such a legal effort will require, but believe we have a mechanism for funding to go the distance in the future if our complaint(s) is/are are sound.

Concerning timeline -
Judge Wood (US Circuit judge, N district of IL) will state whether she will tentatively consider AAPS addendum to their antitrust/class action complaint against AAPS (and/or rule on it) on 2 Aug 2018. We will be taking into consideration her decision(s) before filing anything ourselves. Depending on that ruling/decision, we will incorporate her comments/decision into our complaint(s) in oder to improve legal efficiency. Our filing (in what ever form if needed) will probably occur sometime after that.

Thanks for your help making this effort a reality. Please make an effort to spur you colleagues to action <this week> so we can move forward as soon as possible.

-Wes Fisher, MD
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Our fund raising effort continues to gain steam. Please share these data of declining ABIM first time pass rates for MOC taken from the ABIM's own website over the years cited. (What better way to churn fees than to make the test harder so more people fail their MOC examination and have to retake the test for an additional fee).
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We are over two-thirds of our way to our goal! Thanks to all of you who have donated so far. It is time for our final push.

To help with this last push, take a minute to contact two or three colleagues who have historically complained about MOC and may not have heard about this drive. Send them the link to this page and ask them to contribute. I can't tell you how many people I encounter daily that say "Oh yeah, I meant to donate but keep forgetting." Remind them we need their help and have them donate via their cell phone or local computer. If they'd rather send a check, that's okay, too (address at the bottom of the GoFundMe story).

Pre-litigation legal research is well underway. Remember this is for TWO possible complaints: fraud/consumer fraud, and for possible anti-trust actions as well. It's time to end MOC once and for all (and for EVERY subspecialty).

Thanks for your help!

-Wes Fisher, MD
+ Read More
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$118,412 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 605 people in 3 months
Created May 14, 2018
Westby G. Fisher
on behalf of Practicing Physicians of America
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