Warnings issued about bogus board certifications

Connecticut's attorney general is investigating a complaint about mail-order geriatrics certifications. Schemes have also involved other medical specialties.

By Susan J. Landers — Posted Sept. 1, 2009

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The American Geriatrics Society is warning that an entity calling itself the American College of Geriatrics is selling a fraudulent board certification through the mail.

The geriatric certification being offered is not recognized by the AGS or the American Board of Medical Specialties and its member specialty boards, the AGS said in a notice posted on its Web site (link).

The ABMS has approved a geriatric medicine certification offered jointly by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Family Medicine, as well as certification in geriatric psychiatry offered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal began an investigation in his state last April after receiving a complaint from the internal medicine board about the sale of bogus certifications.

Blumenthal warned physicians and others that Keith Alan Lasko, who lived in Las Vegas and may claim to be a physician, was selling phony certifications to physicians in a variety of medical specialties for $500 or more and the submission of basic information.

"This alleged con artist used false names -- for himself and for fictitious medical boards whose fake certificates he sold," Blumenthal said. The scheme was aimed primarily at foreign-born or foreign-taught physicians who might not be aware of proper certification processes.

"Real and recognized medical board certifications require rigorous examination and education -- not simply payment for a piece of paper," Blumenthal said. "Bogus medical certifications are deceptive and dangerous -- a disservice to the entire medical profession."

Neither Lasko nor the purported American College of Geriatrics could be located for comment.

Physicians who believe they have been offered a fake credential should contact their state attorney general, Blumenthal said.

Since the fake credentials are sent through the U.S. Postal Service, the internal medicine board advises those who receive suspicious solicitations to notify postal inspectors (link).

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