PHILADELPHIA, PA—Unable to develop a recertification exam that is satisfactory to all, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) now seems to be trying out every cockamamie idea. Current and proposed testing options include a 10-year traditional exam (boring), a 2-yr Knowledge Check-In (aw, this one sounds cute), a longitudinal assessment (longitudinal? Is this a geography exam?), and even a daily recertification exam. Now comes yet another option, one that was originally submitted as a joke by a group of drunk medical residents but was readily accepted by ABIM: Compete on a game show called Who Wants to be Certified a Million Years?
Hosted by Regis Philbin, contestants must answer a series of 15 board-style multiple-choice questions. With each correct answer, contestants accrue more and more years of certification. If all 15 questions are answered correctly, they will become board-certified for ONE MILLION YEARS!
Sources present at the taping of the first episode report some early problems though. Regis took half-an-hour to read every question because he had such trouble pronouncing the medical terms. After struggling with dementia and aphasia (the actual words, that is…but ok, maybe the conditions too), a visibly frustrated Regis stormed off the set, mumbling to no one in particular that he doesn’t understand the premise of this show, that a million years is way too long (“Trust me, I’ve been around a million years, so I would know”) and that he was falsely promised Kathie Lee could be his co-host.
For the next host, producers chose someone with a little more medical knowledge (kind of): Patrick Dempsey. After playing a surgeon for over a decade on Grey’s Anatomy, the thinking was that he must have picked up some medical expertise. Indeed, Dempsey had no trouble reading the questions, but he seemed less than thrilled with them. “Where are the questions about real medical situations, like when there are a bunch of hot, new female interns, and you have to decide which one to sleep with?” he asked.
As for the contestants, the biggest winner on day one was an internist from Minnesota, Paul Quinn, who walked away with 1,000 years of certification. Producers, however, were furious he didn’t try for a million years, especially since he still had 2 lifelines—STAT-Consult-a-Colleague and Ask Alexa. But Quinn left anyway, saying, “Yeah I think I’ll be just fine with only a thousand years.”
So, who wants to be board-certified for a million years? If you answered “Yes, and that’s my final answer,” then call ABIM now and select testing option #350. Oh, and non-physicians are welcome to compete too! Good luck!