ABC News Investigates Top Doctor Awards: Are They Always Well Deserved?

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The Consumers' Research Council of America

The Consumers' Research Council of America denied ABC News' repeated requests for an interview but in an emailed statement said:

"Consumers' Research Council of America, CRCA does not do interviews but will be happy to respond to your email. Regarding Physicians, we use education as the most heavily weighted criteria. All physicians are Board Certified and many have additional education making them the top in their respective fields of medicine. Not all physicians have traditional medical practices that service patients. Many of these highly educated physicians are involved in the research area of medicine and are responsible for many of the advances the medical industry that has witnessed over the past few decades. The CRCA web site lists the State Medical Boards for every state. The Medical Boards monitor and regulate physicians and are responsible for implementing and enforcing any disciplinary actions. We list these with contact information so consumers can check on their physician for free. There is a private company that provides this service but they charge a fee. If you think it would be beneficial to list that company on our web site we would be happy to do so. Again, to make things perfectly clear, we primarily evaluate Physicians based on education and credentials. We do not police the medical industry and do not know who is late on their taxes, has past due child support or has criminal records. State Medical Boards that serve that function and it is why they are listed in the web site. We share your opinion that consumers should be aware of who they are dealing with and thought it was important to include the listing of the State Medical Boards."

In an effort to track down someone from the Consumers' Research Council of America, ABC News went to the address listed on their order form: 2020 Pennsylvania Avenue NW- Suite 300A in Washington DC. But this address, just 4 blocks from the White House, turned out to be a post office box.

To obtain more information about this process, ABC News also repeatedly requested information from SLD, the California company that sells the actual award plaques to doctors.

After numerous phone calls and emails to SLD, ABC News received yet another email from an anonymous representative -- this time from SLD -- stating: "I understand that you are doing a story on Top Doctors. Listed below is a partial list of companies that do Best Doctor lists. Each company has a different way of determining what qualifies someone as a top doctor. It ranges from some companies using high education such as board certifications to some companies allowing you to just purchase your way on to the list. Here are some links that you may want to check out."

The email then listed about 10 companies that name top doctors.

And none of the SLD representatives ABC News spoke with was willing to provide the name of a contact person who worked at the Consumers' Research Council of America.

While no one from SLD would comment on the connections between the two companies, ABC News uncovered further information linking the two companies including documents which show an SLD email address was used to register the Consumers' Research Council of America website.

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