Rand Paul Exaggerated Medical Board Certification

Rand Paul
Rand Paul
U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul claims he is a “board certified” ophthalmologist, and he is, kind of, but then, he owns the board called the National Board of Ophthalmology. Paul incorporated the NBO in 1999 and serves as president. His wife is vice president.

According to the Louisville, Ky., Courier-Journal, Paul’s board is not nationally recognized:

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.

Boukas of the American Board of Medical Specialties said its 24 member groups, including the widely recognized American Board of Ophthalmology, have stricter standards for board certification than the other groups.

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure does not verify doctors’ specialty training and instead directs people to the American Board of Medical Specialties to determine if a doctor is board-certified.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recognizes board certification only by the American Board of Ophthalmology.

Shortly before the May 18 primary, Paul told the Courier-Journal that he was certified by both boards.

According to records with the Kentucky Secretary of State, the organization [NBO] 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.”

When the newspaper tried to interview Paul over the weekend, he wouldn’t comment. Asked when he would talk, Paul said: “Uh, you know, never … What does this have to do with our election?”

As they always say in the courtroom dramas, It goes to credibility.

Paul is just the latest in a line of current candidates for Senate who seem incapable of telling the truth about their experience or qualifications. Mark Kirk, Richard Blumenthal and Darryl Issa have all been caught exaggerating their mostly nonexistent military records.

Paul, on the other hand, is exaggerating a medical certification, something that says he has passed a test and is competent to treat people with eye conditions.

As a not-very-far-in-the-closet Libertarian, Paul favors personal choice and freedom from government regulation. So, rather than submit to some stupid national board certification, he made up his own board and crowned himself and his wife the executive officers. Sweet, no?

But he also has spouted his Libertarian views about how the market should regulate itself. For instance, the government shouldn’t prohibit smoking in a restaurant; that’s the purview of the owner, and if people don’t like it, they can take their custom elsewhere. Same with segregation — if you own a store and don’t want black folks shopping there, it’s perfectly within your rights to turn them away. If white people think that’s a bad thing, they can take their trade elsewhere.

Likewise, when his patients find out that Dr. Rand Paul has eschewed submitting to national board certification and instead certified himself, they might prefer to go to an ophthalmologist who has actually passed a test to become board certified.

And maybe his supporters will prefer to vote for someone who, in time-honored tradition, at least waits until they get elected to start lying.


  • Dr. Jon
    June 15, 2010 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    The information not in the story would fill volumes.

    Of course ABMS and AMA work together, AMA has a controling interest in ABMS.

    What’s disturbing is the fact that Kentuckey lets ABMS determoiione who is certified. ABMS is only one of many organizations that certify doctors… it’s like asking Ford to approve Chevy’s.

    “The American Academy of Ophthalmology recognizes board certification only by the American Board of Ophthalmology.” Of course they do, AAO is a board run by ABMS.

    Bottom line is that the information presented in this article is pure ABMS spin abd should b not be confused with the facts.

    As for Rand Paul, he is wrong to form his own board. Board certification is a mark that shows an increased level of excellence for physicians and should be confered only by a legitimate organization with rigorous testing standards….whether that’s an ABMS board or one of the other specialty boardsin existence.

  • June 15, 2010 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    ABMS isn’t the only qualified physician board in the U.S. It refers to itself as the gold standard but would be more aptly referred to as the double standard. Almost 50% of ABMS Diplomates have life certification. That maens they never have to recertify. Is that quality and continuing MOC?

    New baords of certification can and need to be founded by physician leaders. That’s not wrong, that’s the future of medicine and good public health. These new boards can and are equivalent if not having higher standards than the double standard boards.

  • Aloyicious Blacksmith
    June 20, 2010 - 1:53 pm | Permalink


    Here is an overview of the AMA. It is a high end business organization that
    sets policies. According to wikipedia, only 22% of doctors belong to the AMA.
    Does that mean that 78%who do not are frauds?



    • June 21, 2010 - 9:54 am | Permalink

      If the 78 percent who don’t belong to the AMA each went and set up their own alternative version of the AMA and made themselves and their spouse the top officers of the corporation and then asserted that was the same as certification by an industry-established board, then that would probably qualify them as frauds — or Libertarians. Rand Paul is both.

  • Dr. Muse
    June 22, 2010 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Board Certification in any medical specialty for an M.D. always means certification by ABMS. No exceptions. You don’t have to be a member of AMA to be board Certified. If you don’t take (or pass) the Board Certification Exams after you complete your Residency in your Medical Specialty, you’re not Board Certified (you’re just Board Eligible). Rand Paul is a fraud to claim he was Board Certified if he was not. Incorporating your own “Board” to anoint yourself is an insult to certified physicians everywhere!

  • Montana
    June 28, 2010 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    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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