The American Osteopathic Association and seven osteopathic internists filed a lawsuit against the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The lawsuit challenges a policy announced by the ABIM to require the attestation of trainee competence for initial ABIM board eligibility by a program director who is ABIM-certified beginning in 2022. This unjust and indefensible policy ignores the qualifications of program directors certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine (AOBIM) and is a direct affront to highly trained and skilled osteopathic physicians certified by the AOBIM. The ABIM stands alone as the only specialty board that does not recognize osteopathic board certification as equivalent.
The direct impact of this policy is that program directors who are certified by the AOBIM must either become certified by the ABIM or they will lose the ability to attest to the training of their residents who wish to sit for initial ABIM certification. Absent either a change in the ABIM policy, or the attainment and maintenance of ABIM certification, AOBIM-certified program directors will no longer be able to serve in this critical role.
The ABIM’s rule pushes training programs to seek ABIM-certified physicians, thereby disenfranchising physicians who are certified by the AOBIM. Further, AOBIM-certified program directors will be forced to seek ABIM certification to fulfill the crucial role of qualifying their graduates, DOs and MDs alike, for board certification. Residents will effectively be directed toward ABIM rather than AOBIM certification because of the competitive disadvantages for AOBIM diplomates created by this rule.
The lawsuit requests the court issue an injunction against the ABIM to bar it from its implementation of its requirement for ABIM certification to attest to trainee competence for initial ABIM board eligibility and asks the court to award damages in response to injuries caused by the ABIM’s actions.
The ACOI actively supports this action and offers our gratitude to the AOA and the seven individual physicians who currently serve as either program directors in internal medicine or an internal medicine subspeciality who brought this important lawsuit. Contact Deputy Executive Director Timothy W. McNichol, Esq. at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
Michael A. Adornetto, DO, MBA, FACOI