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The ABIM Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation established by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in 1999 to advance medical professionalism to improve health care. ABIM Foundation project initiatives include the Choosing Wisely educational campaign and The Physician Charter, a document authored in partnership with the American College of Physicians and the European Federation of Internal Medicine.
Programs and Initiatives
In 2002 the ABIM Foundation, along with the ACP Foundation and European Federation of Internal Medicine published Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter. Dr. Hal Sox, Editor of Annals of Internal Medicine remarked, “I hope that we will look back upon its publication as a watershed event in medicine.”
The Physician Charter sets forth a series of professional principles and responsibilities that physician should seek to embody in their practice, including the principles of the primacy of patient welfare, patient autonomy, and social justice. The Physician Charter has been endorsed by more than 130 organizations, translated in to 12 languages, and 100,000 copies have been distributed.
In 2012 the ABIM Foundation launched the Choosing Wisely campaign to “promote physician and patient conversations about making wise choices about treatments.” More than 70 US medical specialty societies are considered partners in the campaign and publish lists of tests, treatments or procedures they say are overused or unnecessary.
The campaign has been covered widely by the media in the United States, including in the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as in academic publications such as JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine.
In 2013 the ABIM Foundation received a $2.5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to fund 23 projects in communities across the United States to implement components of the campaign, such as the Washington Health Alliance and Texas Medical Association. The ABIM Foundation received a second grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for $4.2 million to expand this work in 2015.
As of 2015 Choosing Wisely had been adopted by 12 countries, including Canada, Italy and Australia.
Understanding Medical Professionalism
In 2014 the ABIM Foundation partnered with McGraw-Hill to publish Understanding Medical Professionalism. The book was authored by medical professionalism experts Wendy S. Levinson, MD; Shiphra Ginsburg, MD; Frederic W. Hafferty, PhD; and Catherine R. Lucey, MD.
Grants and Prizes Awarded by ABIM Foundation
Putting the Charter Into Practice Grant
The Putting the Charter into Practice grant provides financial support to professional medical organizations, health systems/hospitals, academic medical centers and medical practices as they work to advance medical professionalism. The ABIM Foundation has partnered with the Council of Medical Specialty Societies to advance this initiative. The goal of the grant is to facilitate the development of innovative, emerging strategies to advance appropriate health care decision-making and stewardship of health care resources.
Professionalism Article Prize
In 2011 the ABIM Foundation created the Professionalism Article Prize. The award “recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of medical professionalism” and is given to up to three winners annually. Previous winners have included articles published in Academic Medicine, the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Newsweek Article On 3/10/2015, an article written by Kurt Eichwald for Newsweek raised skepticism of the ABIM Foundation and its merit.
"And there is another organization called the ABIM Foundation that does...well, it’s not quite clear what it does. Its website reads like a lot of mumbo-jumbo. The Foundation conducts surveys on how “organizational leaders have advanced professionalism among practicing physicians.” And it is very proud of its “Choosing Wisely” program, an initiative “to help providers and patients engage in conversations to reduce overuse of tests and procedures,” with pamphlets, videos and other means.
Doesn’t sound like much, until you crack open the 990s. This organization is loaded. In the tax year ended 2013, it brought in $20 million—not from contributions, not from selling a product, not for providing a service. No, the foundation earned $20 million on the $74 million in assets it holds.
The foundation racked up $5.2 million in expenses, which—other than $245,000 it gave to the ABIM—was divided into two categories: compensation and “other.” Who is getting all this compensation? The very same people who are top earners at the ABIM. Deep in the filings, it says the foundation spends $1.9 million in “program and project expenses,” with no explanation what the programs and projects are.
There are some expenditures, though, that are easy to understand: The foundation spends $153,439 a year on at least one condominium. And it picks up the tab so the spouse of the top-officer can fly along on business trips for free."
ABIM Board Chair David H. Johnson, MD responded with a statement stating “The author also presents an untrue and misleading interpretation of information from ABIM and ABIM Foundation's tax returns. His reporting reflects a poor understanding of that information and a highly selective presentation of information designed to prove his faulty premises.” David also responds to the assertion that ABIM has a monopoly on certifying internists and other accusations.
- "Choosing Wisely". Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- "Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter", Annals of Internal Medicine 136 (3), February 5, 2002, doi:10.7326/0003-4819-136-3-200202050-00012, retrieved 2013-03-02
- "Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter". annals.org. Annals.
- "Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter". annals.org.
- Cassell, Christine. "Helping Physicians and Patients Make Smart Decisions About Their Care". JAMAnetwork.com.
- Rabin, Roni. "Doctor Panels Recommend Fewer Tests for Patients". http://www.nytimes.com/. New York Times.
- Rau, Jordan. "Doctors Think Others Often Prescribe Unnecessary Care". http://www.washingtonpost.com/. Washington Post.
- Gliwa, Catherine; Pearson, Steven. "Evidentiary Rationales for the Choosing Wisely Top 5 Lists". http://jama.jamanetwork.com/. JAMA Network.
- Colla, Carrie. "Swimming against the Current — What Might Work to Reduce Low-Value Care?". http://www.nejm.org. New England Journal of Medicine.
- "Grantee: Choosing Wisely". Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
- "Alliance Reports & Websites: Choosing Wisely". Washington Health Alliance.
- "TMA Wins Grant to Promote Choosing Wisely Campaign". http://www.texmed.org/. Texas Medical Association.
- "$4.2 Million Grant Program to Support Health Care Organization Implementation of Choosing Wisely® Recommendations". http://www.rwjf.org/. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
- "‘Choosing Wisely’: a growing international campaign". http://qualitysafety.bmj.com/.
- Levinson, Wendy; Ginsburg, Shiphra; Hafferty, Frederic; Lucey, Catherine (2014). Understanding Medical Professionalism (1st ed.). McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0071807432.
- "Putting the Charter Into Practice".
- "Dr. Susan Dorr Goold honored with prize for top article in medical professionalism". http://cbssm.med.umich.edu/. University of Michigan Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine.
- "Two Academic Medicine articles win 2012 ABIM Foundation Professionalism Article Prize!". http://academicmedicineblog.org/.
- "Joint Commission Resources journal receives ABIM Professionalism Article Prize". http://www.jointcommission.org/. The Joint Commission.
- "UCSF's Cooke Wins Prize for Article on Cost Consciousness in Medical Education". http://www.ucsf.edu/. University of California San Francisco.
- Eichenwald, Kurt (March 10, 2015). "The Ugly Civil War in American Medicine". Newsweek.
- "Statement Regarding Recent Newsweek Article from ABIM Board Chair David H. Johnson, MD". http://www.abim.org/.