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Watch Out for Phony Board Certification Offers


Physicians routinely are deluged with offers for certifications in hospital medicine, geriatric medicine and other specialties. Unaccredited boards have been set up to solicit phony certifications requiring no training, testing or medical background review, according to Christine Cassel, MD, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).

ABIM is concerned about the welfare of patients who may choose doctors representing themselves as "board certified" based on a certificate from one of these unaccredited boards.

"Physicians should trust their instincts," Dr. Cassel says. "If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Hospitalists should be especially wary of solicitations from the American Board of Hospital Physicians (ABOHP). The organization is not a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and is not recognized by key healthcare credentialing accreditation entities."

Robert Wachter, MD, chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center and chair of ABIM's Committee on Hospital Medicine Focused Recognition, adds, "The ABIM has been working hard to create a pathway that recognizes the professional focus of internist-hospitalists, and I hope it will be available in the not-so-distant future. Personally, I encourage all hospitalists to pursue board certification and keep their certification up-to-date. This scam points out the importance of ensuring that the certification is legitimate."

If an unrecognizable organization sends you a board certificate offer, alert ABIM at

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