ABIM Warns Regarding Scam Certification Boards

Armen Hareyan's picture

American Board of Internal Medicine has received reports from several of our diplomates regarding letters and solicitations they have received from groups offering "certification" in Geriatric Medicine, Cardiology and Hospital Medicine, among other things. ABIM is concerned about the welfare of patients who may choose doctors representing themselves as “board certified” based on their possession of a certificate from unaccredited “boards” that award certificates but require no accredited training, testing or medical background review.

Have you been contacted by any of the following groups? These phony “medical boards” have been reported to ABIM as fraudulent, and if you hear from them, or receive any certification information that seems suspicious, ABIM would like to know about it.

* The United States Medical Specialists Federation (USMSF)
* American Board of Diabetes (ABD)
* American Academy of Cardiology (AAC)
* American Board of Geriatrics (ABG)
* American Board of Geriatric Medicine (ABGM)
* American Board of Hospital Physicians (ABOHP)
* American College of Specialists in Geriatrics (ACSG)
* American College of Christian Physicians (ACOCP)
* American College of Ethical Physicians (ACOEP)
* American College of Family Medicine (ACFM)
* American College of Geriatrics Specialists (ACGS)

If you have been approached by an organization calling itself a board that is not a member of ABMS or the American Osteopathic Association or has not established its status by state licensure board recognition, please e-mail [email protected] for information on these possible “scams” and what can be done to assure the professional integrity of medical specialty certification.

Only physicians who receive certification from one of ABMS’ member boards or another board that requires accredited training, a meaningful review of standing as a physician and a psychometrically valid, secure examination legitimately represent themselves as board certified. See below for information on recognizing these scams.


Recognizing a Fraud or Scam

* Trust your instincts. Check to see if any organization has a history of membership or affiliation with a board, accredited educational body or established organization thoroughly before joining, ordering any services or providing any personal information. Indicators include:

o Organizations that do not have an established office address, customer service number or affiliations with established medical societies, residency programs or hospitals.

o Programs offering certification without clearly stated pathways, no secure testing process and/or uniform standards for the evaluation or verification of credentials.

o Organizations that do not have annual meetings, local membership groups, testing centers or any other in-person interaction.

o Any organization that contacts you only by mail, website or e-mail; and does not provide you with a phone number and physical location (not a drop or P.O. box).
* If you see the ABIM name, logo or a reference to ABIM on something unusual and you are suspicious, contact ABIM’s Exam Integrity Hotline at 1-800-884-2246 or e-mail [email protected] ABIM can help you determine if the item or material you received is legitimate.