Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul's (R) medical qualifications are being questioned after reports he allowed his certification from a national organization to lapse.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Paul, an eye surgeon, has claimed to be board-certified in ophthalmology but that "the national clearinghouse for such certifications says he hasn't been for the past five years."
Paul has said he holds certification from the National Board of Ophthalmology (NBO), a group he incorporated and currently heads. But the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) doesn't recognize certifications from Paul's organization, according to the Courier-Journal.
An ABMS certification isn't necessary to practice medicine in Kentucky.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee blasted reports on Paul's certification to reporters Monday.
Paul previously had certification from the American
Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), whose certifications the ABMS
does recognize, but he let that certification lapse when he started the NBO. Paul issued a lengthy statement explaining his journey through the certification process.
"ABO argues that they are the legitamate [sic] organization because they are recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)," Paul said. "They fail to explain that ABO helped found ABMS and gets to vote on who is approved by ABMS. One can imagine why ABMS and ABO would not want to approve a competitor."
Paul said he passed his board exam in 1995 on the first try. He then founded NBO because ABO decided to grandfather the certifications of older ophthalmologists, thereby exempting them from
having to get recertified. Meanwhile, younger ophthalmologists would
need to continue getting recertified regularly.
"This is the kind of hypocritical power play that I despise and have always fought against," he said.
Paul is up against state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) in Kentucky's general election. Polls have shown that the race has tightened since Paul's controversial comments in late May about the Civil Rights Act.
--Updated at 4:12 p.m.