Medical Specialty Board Wins Antitrust Appeal

The American Board of Medical Specialties secured its win Friday, October 8, against antitrust litigation over its credentialing and renewal programs for physicians, when a federal appeals court in Chicago became the latest to uphold a medical board’s “maintenance of certification” requirements.

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a ruling dismissing the case, part of a wave of challenges brought by doctors and the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, an organization that has portrayed the recredentialing process as a waste of time and a money grab.

Three California doctors filed a proposed class action lawsuit in which they alleged the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), and the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) had for years abused their positions within the American medical community by illegally obtaining revenue through anticompetitive means. According to the 31-page lawsuit, the defendants’ and their directors’ conduct had “sharply curtailed, if not eliminated” fair competition in the arena for medical specialty certification maintenance for doctors nationwide.

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