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Practicing Physicians of America

$155,500 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 743 people in 7 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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To all our loyal contributors,

Work continues and is moving quickly now. Here's recent article that appeared in Bloomberg Law yesterday where both Richard Baron, MD and myself were interviewed. Dr. Baron continues to conflate initial certification with Maintenance of Certification. Also, Dr. Baron's comment that the cost for MOC "is in the range of what a physician living in a big city would pay to take their spouse out to a fancy dinner" speaks volumes:

http://www.medtees.com/content/BloombergLawPlantoSue.pdf

Thanks for all your support -

Wes Fisher, MD
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To all our donors-

Thank you for your support to this important GoFundMe effort to end Maintenance of Certification. Things are progressing nicely but we need to find individual internists (or internal medicine subspecialists) who have lost hospital privileges, insurance panel participation, or experienced other harms from the Maintenance of Certification program. Ideally, those harms should have evidence to substantiate them.

If you are such a physician, please email me via GoFundMe and describe your story. Be sure to include your cell phone number and email in your confidential communication where I might contact you directly to explain how you might help with this effort going forward.

Thank you again. We are getting close...

Wes Fisher, MD
Practicing Physicians of America
+ Read More
Yay! We did it! Thanks to all who helped make this effort possible.

So now what?

There's still a bit more work to do, but final touches on complaint should be completed in the next week or two. Once completed, the complaint will be reviewed by PPA's board.

We will likely wait until Judge Wood issues an opinion on the AAPS addendum to their prior suit due 10 Oct 2018 (it's been delayed no less than three times already, so could be delayed again...). Still, her comments might be useful to address in our complaint going forward. Then, PPA's board will then vote when/if to proceed.

Exciting times, indeed!

Here's to restoring honesty and integrity to the ABMS board certification system in the United States!

-Wes Fisher, MD
+ Read More
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$155,500 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 743 people in 7 months
Created May 14, 2018
Westby G. Fisher
on behalf of Practicing Physicians of America
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