From The Courier-Journal:
U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul says he is a “board-certified” ophthalmologist — even though the national clearinghouse for such certifications says he hasn’t been for the past five years.
Rand Paul, who practices in Bowling Green, says he is certified by the National Board of Ophthalmology, a group that he incorporated in 1999 and that he heads.
But that entity is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, which works with the American Medical Association to approve such specialty boards.
Lori Boukas, a spokeswoman for the American Board of Medical Specialties, said her organization considers certifications to be valid only if they are done by the 24 groups that have its approval and that of the AMA.
“He is not board-certified,” she said of Paul.
The American Board of Medical Specialties said board certification is important because it enables “patients to determine whether their physicians were appropriately trained and knowledgeable in their specialties.”
The Courier-Journal began seeking comment from Paul Tuesday. When the newspaper tried to interview him at two Louisville events Saturday, he wouldn’t comment.
“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?”
Jesse Benton, his campaign manager, said later Saturday that Paul would only answer questions submitted in writing.
In an interview with The Courier-Journal shortly before the May 18 Republican primary, which he won, Paul said he was certified by both ophthalmological boards.
Along with his wife and father-in-law, Paul founded the National Board of Ophthalmology because the American Board began requiring physicians certified after 1992 to be recertified every 10 years to make sure they were keeping up with medical trends.
The Paul campaign issued a statement Saturday afternoon, saying: “The National Board of Ophthalmology is a non-profit group involved with continuing education and board recertification. It was formed in 1987 by over 200 young ophthalmologists who believed that all ophthalmologists should be recertified. … NBO began recertifying in 2002. It is a completely volunteer organization that pays no salaries.”
According to records with the Kentucky Secretary of State, the organization was first incorporated in Kentucky in 1999. On records in that office, Paul is listed as “owner/president” on some forms and “president” on others.
Asked what requirements the National Board of Ophthalmology has for recertifying doctors, Paul’s wife, Kelley, who is listed on forms as the group’s vice president, said: “I’m not involved in that. I’m not officially talking about that today.'”
After incorporating the board in 1999, Paul allowed it to be dissolved in 2000, when he didn’t file required paperwork with the Kentucky secretary of state’s office.
But he revived it in September 2005, just three months before his certification from the American Board of Ophthalmology was scheduled to lapse.
Paul said in a May interview that he formed the rival board because he had a problem with the organization treating younger doctors — those certified after 1992 — differently from older doctors.
“It annoyed me and a lot of younger ophthalmologists … that people who were 55 years old didn’t have to be recertified and those who were 45 years old did,” he said. “So we thought if it was a rule, a good rule, everybody should obey it.”
The American Board of Ophthalmology requires that doctors take 30 hours of continuing medical education classes each year, review 15 case files and pass a 150-item proctored test. The cost of recertification is about $1,500 every 10 years.
The state of Kentucky requires doctors to obtain 60 hours of continuing medical education over a three-year period — one-third less than the American Board of Ophthalmology — to keep their medical license.
Paul has never sought recognition for his National Board of Ophthalmology from the American Board of Medical Specialties, Boukas said.
The National Board of Ophthalmology doesn’t maintain a website; its standards for certifying doctors and charges for certification couldn’t be determined.
[T]he American Board of Ophthalmology […] has certified more than 29,000 ophthalmologists over the past century and that there are now about 16,000 practicing ophthalmologists certified by the group.
The American Board operates out of an office building in a Philadelphia suburb and has 11 employees, Slembarski said.
The group’s board of directors includes 20 people from around the country, 18 of whom are ophthalmologists.
In comparison, the address for Paul’s group is a UPS Store in Bowling Green.
An Internet search found only seven ophthalmologists other than Paul who say they are members of or are certified by Paul’s group. All say they also are certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology; none returned phone calls to their offices.
From David Weigel at Right Now at The Washington Post:
Rand Paul has responded to a story in the Courier-Journal on the candidate’s history with the American Board of Ophthalmology. The paper reported that Paul was no longer certified by the ABO — the Paul campaign explains that this was a principled stand, and that he could be certified at any time.
“Is it fair that the ophthalmologist down the street can claim board certification, without renewing it, but that a younger ophthalmologist, who passed the same boards, is disallowed?” asks Paul, explaining why he let his certification lapse. “This is the kind of hypocritical power play that I despise and have always fought against. It reminds me of congress passing health care legislation but exempting themselves from their own laws.”
You can read the rest of the statement at the link. Boy, oh boy, Little Randy sure hates hypocrisy! From The Lexington Herald-Leader:
Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, refused again Monday to say how much money his medical practice gets from the federal Medicare program, despite a call for transparency by his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jack Conway.
The Conway campaign said Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon, has demanded sweeping cuts to most federal programs other than Medicare payments to doctors, which he has defended, making him a hypocrite.
“We certainly feel like it’s relevant for a man who has made government spending such a central part of his election campaign to tell the people how much government spending he personally receives,” said Conway spokeswoman Allison Haley.
Paul has confirmed that payments from Medicare and Medicaid — two of the largest federal spending programs, providing health care for the elderly and the poor, respectively — make up roughly half of his medical income. But he has refused to say how much money he gets from Medicare.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicare, refuses to release the information, saying that a 30-year-old agency policy protects doctors from public disclosure of how much taxpayer money they are paid.
By contrast, the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which administers the Medicaid program on behalf of the federal government, said Paul has been paid $130,461 in Medicaid funds since 2006, about one-third of the sum he billed the program.