Rand Paul: the Joe the Plumber of eye doctors?

Vote for him if you want, but you may not want to let this guy get too close to your eyes...

Apparently, Dr. Paul, he of DrRandPaulMD.com and a little U.S. Senate race in Kentucky, isn’t exactly a board certified ophthalmologist …


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The national panel that approves doctors as board certified said U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul isn’t on the list, even though he has campaigned as holding the endorsement.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that the American Board of Medical Specialties, which works with the American Medical Association, doesn’t recognize certification by a group Paul founded in 1991 and heads.

Paul, a Republican from Bowling Green and an opthamologist, says he’s certified by the National Board of Opthamology. But, Lori Boukas, a spokeswoman for the American Board of Medical Specialties, said the organization considers certifications valid only if they are done by the two dozen groups that have its approval and that of the AMA. The American Board of Opthamology said Paul hasn’t been certified since Dec. 31, 2005.

He’s not board certified,” Boukas said.

Paul, who faces Democrat Jack Conway in the November general election, declined to address the issue to the paper. Paul’s campaign did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press on Sunday.

Paul, appearing at the Great Eastern National Gun Day Show, and JAG Military Show in Louisville on Saturday, told the paper “I’m not going to go through all that right now.”

When asked when he would address the issue, Paul replied: “Uh, you know, never … What does this have to do with our election?”

Ruh-roh … now it should be noted that it’s not illegal to practice medicine in Kentucky without board certification, which in and of itself is alarming. But worse, it seems that Paul made up his own organization in order to claim certification, and it sure looks like, to shade the issue and make himself appear to have the kind of certification his peers in the medical profession actually have:

Paul, along with his wife and in-laws, incorporated the National Board of Opthamology in 1999, with Paul as the “owner/president” of the organization.

The group dissolved in 2000 when Paul didn’t file the necessary paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office. Paul revived the organization in September 2005, three months before his certification from the American Board of Opthamology was set to expire.

Paul said in May he formed the group because he had issues with the way the American Board of Opthamology treated younger doctors, mainly those certified after 1992. Paul said his main issue was that doctors 55 and older didn’t have to be recertified, but doctors younger than that did.

Asked what standards the group uses, Paul’s wife, Kelly, who is listed as its vice president, declined to comment.

“I’m not involved in that,” Kelly Paul said. “I’m not officially talking about that today.”

Well all-righy then. …

TPM Muckraker actually reported on Paul’s self-certifying group last month, when they wrote this, which the Louisville Courier-Journal reiterates in part (hopefully they gave credit):

Paul’s organization has had little public presence since its founding over a decade ago. It appears to have no website, and a Lexis-Nexis search turns up no articles mentioning the group. Nor does it appear to have filed tax forms with the IRS, according to a search of a database listing non-profits. Indeed, the state of Kentucky dissolved NBO in 2000 after it failed to file the appropriate forms, according to the online records, but it was reinstated in 2005, and has filed an annual report every year since then.

Why start a new certifying board? Slembarski explained that in 1992, the American Board of Ophthalmology — the established certification board — had instituted new rules requiring that eye doctors re-certify every ten years. But it was legally barred from requiring recertification from doctors who had been certified before ’92. In the ensuing years, that caused anger among younger ophthalmologists, who now were subject to a time-consuming process that their older competitors would be spared.

A 2004 article in an online ophthalmology journal expresses some of these frustrations with ABO, and notes: “[T]here are other organizations out there that are willing and able to have you take a test to be board-certified, such as the online test that is offered by the NBO. The NBO’s test is cheaper and far more appealing to the younger ophthalmologists with a time-limited certification.”

But it’s unclear how rigorous the certification process used by Paul’s group is — and how much legitimacy the group is seen as having in ophthalmologist circles. Unlike the established ABO, Paul’s organization is not a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties, an umbrella group for medical specialty organizations. Slembarski declined to offer a direct assessment on how Paul’s group is viewed in ophthalmology circles, but she said that creating a legitimate certification board is “a very big endeavor.” She added: “I don’t think [NBO] was very successful,” though she acknowledged she wasn’t personally familiar with the details of its record.

Officials for two other eye-doctor groups — the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery — told TPMmuckraker they’d never heard of Paul’s group. “I think it’s fair to say that we would have heard of most organizations involved in ophthalmology in the US,” said John Ciccone of ASCRS.

This guy just gets stranger and stranger …

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4 Responses to Rand Paul: the Joe the Plumber of eye doctors?

  1. Kevin says:

    I somewhat agree with Paul on the problems with the other certification board, but it stops there. Were there no other alternatives?

    His problem was with older doctors not having to renew their license, so instead, he decides to cancel his certification and make a new one? It seems like his move in 2000 was only for show – why else would he wait to be NBO certified?

    Why won’t he release his certification process? Is he afraid others will copy him?

  2. Pingback: Filtered news 6/15/10 « Russ' Filtered News

  3. The best comment I heard was, I think Bill Maher. If in regards to BP, Rand says "accidents happen," then I guess you don't want to go to Rand Paul for Lasik surgery.

  4. Montana says:

    You gotta love all the conservatives in Kentucky who voted for Rand Paul and brought him to national exposure, priceless. Lets face it they will try to vote this liar in but we can only wait and see if there is other skeltons in hs closet, oh yeah he is not a racist, I repeat, he is not a racist. Great thing is we are talking about Kentucky, so being a racist maybe a positive, we will see. Yee Haw!

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