.In early September ABIM, along with the American Board of Pediatrics and American Board of Family Medicine issued a joint statement cautioning Board Certified physicians against spreading misinformation or falsehoods to their patients and public, and that doing so could put their certification at risk.
Community feedback indicated the majority of physicians supported the statement, though some asked for more clarity if the Boards would actually take action. In a follow up blog post ABIM President and CEO Richard J. Baron, MD, wrote:
“I want to state unequivocally that ABIM can and does take action, independent of state licensing boards, to remove certification from physicians for unprofessional and unethical behavior. The procedures are spelled out in ABIM’s Disciplinary Sanctions and Appeals policy.”
At the most recent ABIM Board of Directors meeting in October the Board discussed how it can support Board Certified physicians who are continuing to provide the most timely and accurate information to their patients, especially during the pandemic. At the meeting a proposed clarification of ABIM’s Policies and Procedures was unanimously passed:
False or Inaccurate Medical Information
“While ABIM recognizes the importance of legitimate scientific debate, physicians have an ethical and professional responsibility to provide information that is factual, scientifically grounded, and consensus driven. Providing false or inaccurate information to patients or the public is unprofessional and unethical, and violates the trust that the profession of medicine and the public have in ABIM Board Certification. Therefore, such conduct constitutes grounds for disciplinary sanctions.”
Patients look to Board Certified physicians as experts in their field. Especially now, it is incumbent on all physicians to provide accurate medical information about COVID-19, treatments and vaccines. Thank you for all you are doing in caring for patients everywhere, and for your tireless efforts to bring this pandemic to an end.