Understanding the background concerning the litigation
In February 2009, the NBME and the FSMB who jointly sponsor the United States Medical License Examination filed an injunction against Optima University for copyright infringement - the rumor was that the founder of Optima University had paid students to take the examination for the sole purpose of getting the questions and providing them to Optima. It is alleged that this material was made available to the students attending the Optima facilities located first in New Jersey and then later moved to Tennessee. The federal lawsuit claims that Optima exposed the students who attended review courses to exam questions that were improperly obtained by using examinees who recorded test questions while receiving "anomalously low scores." It is thought that the owner of Optima paid students in Eastern European Countries to take the examinations for the sole purpose of copying the questions and these became the basis for claim of impropriety. Soon thereafter, notice letters were sent.
What Happens If the Secretariat of USMLE Sends You the Optima Participation Letter.
There is no way of knowing yet when the Secretariat launched its investigation of the Optima Operation. Some letters may have been sent in the summer of 2008 and they have been continuously sent up to the present time. The letters allege that the medical student recipient participated in taking Optima Review courses prior to taking the Step Examinations. The participation and the data including the number of times the Step Examinations were taken along with the percentage of questions considered "exposed", how well examinees did on the individual questions, along with the time spent on the questions form the basis for raising concerns about the validity of the passing level scores that were reported for the individual doctor. The Committee on Score Validity schedules a time to review the facts surrounding the allegations and the participant is invited to come to Philadelphia, Penn. and defend the test scores as reported. You may appear with counsel. Indeterminate scores are a problem.
Hearing Before The Committee on Score Validity
This is not a fun experience and you should not go on your own regardless of whether you hire an attorney. Counsel for the Joint Program of the Federation on State Medical Boards of the U.S. and the National Board of Medical Examiners has a very negative view of Optima University and that includes all the medical students who attended any review course associated with Optima. If your Step scores show that less than ten (10) percent of your questions were in the exposed category, and the passing rate and time per question were in order, you probably will have no problem appearing before the USMLE Committee on Score Validity. As the percentage of exposed questions climbs higher and higher, the likelihood you will have to retake the exam also increases. With a finding that your test scores are indeterminate, you will have the opportunity to retake the exam or a validating examination at no cost. The material in Policies and Procedures explains what happens and have no appeal.
Should An Attoreny Be Hired For This Important Assignment
Considering the cost and time, you most definitely want to hire your own counsel for this Hearing. Even if you are familiar with The Rules Of Evidence, and aced the course on jurisprudence in school, it is a difficult position to be both a participant and defendant and coach during the Committee's hearing. Procedural guidelines need to be followed regarding how evidence needs to be hear and handled. Preparation for the Hearing would include many dress rehearsals so that there would be no hesitation or difficulties in making sure the Committee understands what you are advocating. It would be helpful to have at least one session as a dress rehearsal, so the applicant would be prepared for the number of questions aske during the Hearing for achieving the best outcome . The preparation of written materials to be submitted is also found to be helpful as well as hiring expert witnesses if that would be in the best interest of the client. The Committee will have its attorney.