The Health Law Firm filed a class action lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida on July 11, 2018, on behalf of three dermatologists who allege they represent a class of dermatologists in a similar situation. The suit alleges that the American Board of Medical Specialties, Inc. (ABMS), and the American Board of Dermatology, Inc. (ABD), are planning or committing actions in restraint of trade.
The plaintiffs allege that the ABMS and the ABD are planning to take action to approve a medical subspecialty in Mohs surgery, an effective treatment for skin cancer. They state in their suit, that this will result in a reduction in the number of doctors who can perform the procedure and be paid for it. The doctors claim the specialty certification for Mohs surgery, also known as "micrographic dermatologic surgery," would limit the number of physicians who could be reimbursed by government programs, such as Medicare and Tricare, and by private insurers. As a result, patient access to the simple skin cancer surgery would be greatly reduced, according to the suit.
If the defendants are successful in their plans to create this new medical subspecialty, doctors who want to be board certified in Mohs surgery would have to complete a separate fellowship, either a one-year or two-year additional post-residency academic program limited to Mohs surgery. Doctors, such as the three plaintiffs, may lose clinical privileges at hospitals, despite the fact that they may have performed the simple surgical procedure thousands of times, according to the suit.
The doctors are seeking an injunction restraining the defendants from limiting "in any way" their ability to perform and charge for Mohs surgery.
Attorney George F. Indest III, President of The Health Law Firm, and the attorney to file the class action case stated: "If the proposal to be considered by the ABMS passes, in order to become board certified in Mohs surgery, these dermatologists would have to meet a number of requirements that they may not otherwise be able to meet. In most cases, it's not feasible for the physicians."
To view the complaint in full, click here.