Thursday, February 07, 2013

Foundation gave $ 2.5 million to ABIMF to promote Choosing Wisely

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2012 gave the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation (ABIMF) $ 2.5 million to further the promotion of "professionalism" which as explicated in the  Physician 's Charter ( see here)  includes social justice and the wise stewardship of limited medical resources. In this instance the grant was to promote the stewardship theme.  RWJ's website announcement is found  here.

Specifically the grant was to promote ABIM's Choosing Wisely Campaign.In the words of the RWJ Foundation web site:

 "To (1) leverage and expand the reach of the 2012 Choosing Wisely campaign of the ABIM Foundation to raise awareness about avoiding unnecessary care; (2) spur physicians, patients and other health care stakeholders to think and talk about medical tests and procedures that may be unnecessary; and (3) prepare providers, patients and other stakeholders to decrease unnecessary health care utilization."

It is no surprise that RWJ Foundation would have warm feelings for the Charter as the link between the two foundations go back at least to 2002 which was the date of the Charter's publication '


One of the authors of the Physician's Charter was Dr. Risa Lavizza-Mourey who  since 2002 has been the President and CEO of  RWJ .  See here for a listing of the Charter's authors.

The apparent successful campaign to promote social justice and the stewardship notion has amazed me but it seems less amazing considering the value of  having friends with very  deep pockets. ( RWJ foundation has about 7.5 billion in assets). The person who invited Dr. Lavizza-Mourey to be a co-author in the Charter project (if that is what really happened,I have no insider information) really knows how to get things done. A  Google search was not successful when I attempted to learn how much money over the past 10 years RWJF has given to ABIMF to promote the Charter. If anyone can help with that, please let me know.

You have to wonder how that  $2.5 million  will be spent and if this ABIMF initiative will be as successful as the promotion of the Charter seems to have been. There are still many physicians who  believe that the promotion of social justice as an basic ethical imperative of physicians is harmful at best and destructive at worse to the physician patient relationship and usurps the fiduciary duty of the physician to the patient.
With the money behind the promotion of the  social justice-stewardship of society's resources program,we have to be a bit discouraged.

Avoiding unnecessary tests and treatments for patients does not necessitate  evoking concepts of social justice and  mythical caretakers of society's resources- the traditional medical ethical concepts of beneficence and non-malfeasance  take care of that. Of course,choose wisely in patient management advice but do so because it is right for the individual patient not on the basis of some fairy tale of collective resources being preserved.


addendum.2/11/2013.I apologize to the CEO of RWJ Foundation for misspelling her name on the initial publication of this post.It is now corrected.

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