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Dr. Paul: Not board-certified, but self-certified

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By Joe Conason

Libertarian ideology rejects most of the modern regulatory systems that protect consumers, because everyone should be responsible for determining whether the hamburger contains E. coli on his own. But does that do-it-yourself dogma apply to the regulation of medicine, too? If you're Dr. Rand Paul, practicing ophthalmologist, the answer is emphatically yes.

According to an amusing story in today's Louisville Courier-Journal, the Kentucky Republican Senate candidate bills himself as a "board-certified" physician even though he is not actually certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology -- the only recognized body that certifies doctors in his specialty.

Paul's only certification was provided instead by something called the National Board of Ophthalmology, which is very convenient because he operates that organization himself. As the Courier-Journal explains drily, the American Board of Ophthalmology, which maintains a fully staffed headquarters in Philadelphia, has existed for roughly a century and currently lists about 16,000 doctors on its rolls. (Most hospitals and insurance companies strongly prefer doctors who are board-certified because certification indicates that they have kept up with changes in technology, best practices and so on.) The National Board of Ophthalmology has existed since 1999, when Paul "founded" it, lists no more than seven doctors, and its address is a post-office box in Bowling Green, Ky. He had claimed to be certified by both boards, but Courier-Journal reporter Joseph Gerth quickly discovered that claim was false.

When Gerth tried to ask Paul why he claims to be board-certified when he isn't and why he set up the National Board of Ophthalmology, the candidate stonewalled:

"I'm not going to go through all that right now," Paul said while at the Great Eastern National Gun Day Show and JAG Military Show, in Louisville. Asked when he would talk, Paul said: "Uh, you know, never ... What does this have to do with our election?"

Gerth replied in his column in Sunday's Courier-Journal, after Paul's campaign manager said he would only answer questions in writing. His explanation is pithy and his questions seem almost too reasonable:

Rand Paul misses the point. He is right that the questions about his National Board of Ophthalmology have nothing to do with issues of national policy.

They have nothing to do with the federal debt. They have nothing to do with the decision to go to war in Iraq or Afghanistan. And they have nothing to do with plans to shutter the U.S. Department of Education.

They have to do with trust.

Patients have come to expect that a doctor who holds himself out as a "board certified" specialist, as Paul does, meets rigorous standards created by an independent body?

And, if the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Medical Association, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure and the American Academy of Ophthalmologists don't recognize Paul's National Board of Ophthalmology, exactly what are the standards required for certification by that board?

You can find the requirements of the American Board of Ophthalmology at www.abop.org. Paul's group maintains no such website.

Raising even more questions is that when asked more than a month ago which board he was certified by, Paul incorrectly said that he is certified by both his own group and the widely recognized American Board of Ophthalmology.

Though we won't provide Paul with a full list of questions, we will present a few of them here, just so you know a little bit about what we're looking for.

What does the National Board of Ophthalmology certification process require? Does it require additional continuing medical education classes -- over and above what is required by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure -- like the American Board of Ophthalmology requires?

Do doctors have to take a proctored exam to earn or maintain their certification? If so, what does that exam entail and who wrote the test?

The American Board of Ophthalmology recertification process costs about $1,500 every 10 years. How much does the National Board of Ophthalmology charge, and where do any proceeds from the organization go?

Those questions aren't that tough. Neither are the rest of them we'd like to ask.

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So he is simply an undocumented Ophthalmologist. Since illegals are apparently simply undocumented immigrants, I see no problem with this.


According to the Internal Revenue Service, the 400 richest American households earned a total of $US138 billion, up from $US105 billion a year earlier. That's an average of $US345 million each, on which they paid a tax rate of just 16.6 per cent.

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So he is simply an undocumented Ophthalmologist. Since illegals are apparently simply undocumented immigrants, I see no problem with this.

He's just doing the job legal-Ophthalmologists can't be bothered to do.


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Senator Barack Obama
Senate Floor Speech on Public Debt
March 16, 2006



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So he is simply an undocumented Ophthalmologist. Since illegals are apparently simply undocumented immigrants, I see no problem with this.

:rofl:


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Does Salon realize how many Doctors in this nation are not "board certified" by the named ones listed..... The AMA who gets the assumption of "all medical doctors" by most people only has about 18% of the doctors in the nation as its membership...

So really, I wouldn't think too much into this.


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Does Salon realize how many Doctors in this nation are not "board certified" by the named ones listed..... The AMA who gets the assumption of "all medical doctors" by most people only has about 18% of the doctors in the nation as its membership...

So really, I wouldn't think too much into this.

They are simply undocumented. No biggy at all remember.


According to the Internal Revenue Service, the 400 richest American households earned a total of $US138 billion, up from $US105 billion a year earlier. That's an average of $US345 million each, on which they paid a tax rate of just 16.6 per cent.

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Does Salon realize how many Doctors in this nation are not "board certified" by the named ones listed..... The AMA who gets the assumption of "all medical doctors" by most people only has about 18% of the doctors in the nation as its membership...

So really, I wouldn't think too much into this.

AMA is not a medical board. Its just a professional organization.


keTiiDCjGVo

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Does Salon realize how many Doctors in this nation are not "board certified" by the named ones listed..... The AMA who gets the assumption of "all medical doctors" by most people only has about 18% of the doctors in the nation as its membership...

So really, I wouldn't think too much into this.

Agreed, board certification does not necessarily make you a better MD. However, I wonder how many people went to him because of this false claim. Many Americans give a higher level of trust to a board certified physician, mostly because they are up to date with health care standards. Then comes this guy and lies about his credentials, and now wants to run for office?

Whoever nailed this wanted to screw him up pretty badly, and did a very good job.


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(UPDATE)

The fact that Rand Paul is not a board-certified ophthalmologist has been public information for a couple weeks. But it became bigger news when it was revealed that, for some reason, Paul was still claiming to be board-certified.

That was dumb. But Ben Smith has a story today exploring why Paul allowed his certification to lapse. It was because of his principles!

The American Board of Ophthalmology moved to require doctors to take tests and recertify every ten years. But old doctors were grandfathered out of that requirement. So Paul formed his own professional board in protest.

Now, the ABO and the American Board of Medical Specialties are non-government professional groups, so theoretically a libertarian should be fine with them instituting whatever policies and membership requirements they like.

And the ABO couldn't force doctors who received certification before the rule change to recertify every ten years, because that would not have been legal. Apparently Rand Paul wanted the brutal shocktroops of the federal government to march into your local doctor's office and force him, against his will, to submit to the capricious demands of a voluntary professional organization.

But Paul went on a crusade against the ABO for their "hypocritical and unjust" new rule forcing him to take a test every ten years. He wrote "militant" letters "threatening secession."

Dr. Wilkinson recalled "nasty letters to the board" and a "very very negative tone" from Paul. (ABO accepted a written request for Paul’s letters, but didn't respond immediately.)

"He attempted to organize a rump group of malcontents to oppose the whole thing and to stick their heads in the sand," said Wilkinson.

"He was trying to paint the board in a pretty dark light," recalled Dr. Denis O'Day, an ophthalmologist at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Nashville who was its executive director through the recertification battle and recalled being "under attack" from Paul.

Paul is obviously well within his rights to get mad about some dumb policy and write cranky letters about it and then form his own medical board with pizza parties every day and no girls allowed. It is just not clear why he was still claiming to be certified by the ABO years after he began his crusade against them.

(Paul's crusade against the ABO lasted longer than his pledge to not receive funds from senators who voted for TARP. Paul's campaign manager says the pledge only applied when Paul had a Republican primary to win. Now that that's taken care of, he needs money from America-selling-out establishment tools to actually win.)

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/06/15/rand_paul_certification/index.html

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(UPDATE)

The fact that Rand Paul is not a board-certified ophthalmologist has been public information for a couple weeks. But it became bigger news when it was revealed that, for some reason, Paul was still claiming to be board-certified.

That was dumb. But Ben Smith has a story today exploring why Paul allowed his certification to lapse. It was because of his principles!

The American Board of Ophthalmology moved to require doctors to take tests and recertify every ten years. But old doctors were grandfathered out of that requirement. So Paul formed his own professional board in protest.

Now, the ABO and the American Board of Medical Specialties are non-government professional groups, so theoretically a libertarian should be fine with them instituting whatever policies and membership requirements they like.

And the ABO couldn't force doctors who received certification before the rule change to recertify every ten years, because that would not have been legal. Apparently Rand Paul wanted the brutal shocktroops of the federal government to march into your local doctor's office and force him, against his will, to submit to the capricious demands of a voluntary professional organization.

But Paul went on a crusade against the ABO for their "hypocritical and unjust" new rule forcing him to take a test every ten years. He wrote "militant" letters "threatening secession."

Dr. Wilkinson recalled "nasty letters to the board" and a "very very negative tone" from Paul. (ABO accepted a written request for Paul’s letters, but didn't respond immediately.)

"He attempted to organize a rump group of malcontents to oppose the whole thing and to stick their heads in the sand," said Wilkinson.

"He was trying to paint the board in a pretty dark light," recalled Dr. Denis O'Day, an ophthalmologist at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Nashville who was its executive director through the recertification battle and recalled being "under attack" from Paul.

Paul is obviously well within his rights to get mad about some dumb policy and write cranky letters about it and then form his own medical board with pizza parties every day and no girls allowed. It is just not clear why he was still claiming to be certified by the ABO years after he began his crusade against them.

(Paul's crusade against the ABO lasted longer than his pledge to not receive funds from senators who voted for TARP. Paul's campaign manager says the pledge only applied when Paul had a Republican primary to win. Now that that's taken care of, he needs money from America-selling-out establishment tools to actually win.)

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/06/15/rand_paul_certification/index.html

This article makes his actions make a lot more sense. Considering that some doctors, due to a grandfathering policy, are allowed to keep their certification without any further testing, it makes sense for Paul to claim certification. He was once a member of the group and thus is as qualified as those who stay in the group by grandfathering.

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