Physicians File Antitrust Suit Against American Board of Medical Specialties

A federal lawsuit is raising questions over how far the American Board of Medical Specialties can go in its requirements for physicians to receive ongoing training and recertifications without violating antitrust law, according to a Thomson Reuters report.

The ABMS is comprised of 24 medical specialty board members. It describes itself as the "preeminent entity overseeing the certification of physician specialists in the United States," according to the organization's website.  

The Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, which is opposed to the organization's recertification program, filed the suit. It claims the ABMS illegally excludes specialists from the market unless they participate in a program of training and testing.

The lawsuit claims the ABMS' training program is an ongoing burden for physicians, but many hospitals now require the certification for physicians who want staff privileges, according to the report.

Generally, courts have looked sideways at challenges to professional boards, including physician boards, according to the report.

The ABMS called the suit meritless and defended its recertification program as "an important voluntary program of lifelong learning, self-assessment and quality improvement," according to the report.

The suit was filed in the District Court for the District of New Jersey.

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