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17 Apr 2013

Common Medical Licensing Misconceptions

Healthcare Licensing, Physician Licensing, Uncategorized No Comments

Common Medical Licensing Misconceptions

 

1.     Getting the application to the medical board is the most important part of starting my license…

Humans are linear thinkers – we like timelines and rational processes and we really like our numbers to run in sequence: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.; so we get easily frustrated and panicky when is seems like a process is not moving along in line with our perceived expectations.

 

When licensing on one’s own, the logical first step is to fill out an application, send it to the medical board and then compile a list of verifications to request to be sent to the medical board. This process is fine, if your licensing needs meet the following requirements:

 

  1. You want to do all of the footwork yourself.
  2. You don’t have a specific timeframe or deadline for licensure.
  3. You don’t mind re-doing the work if the verifying entity does not respond in a timely manner or responds with the incorrect information.

 

If you have a deadline for licensure (such as a starting date in a new job) and/or you don’t have the time to spend on re-doing verifications, then you should look into allowing a reputable licensing agency to assist you in the process.

 

A word of fair warning – any reputable licensing firm is not going to operate in a linear fashion when processing your licensing request for a number of reasons, like preventing a client from incurring unnecessary duplicate expenses, eliminating errors and/or redundancy, ensuring that only a complete file is submitted to an analyst for review, etc.  Trust your agency’s process and re-evaluate your linear thinking when expediting your license though an agency.  If you don’t understand why, then ask first, before you panic.

 

Each medical board has their own internal process for initial file reviews and an experienced licensing agency is going to leverage their industry knowledge to ensure a timely review of a complete and accurate file.  A reputable licensing firm ensures that all parties involved in licensing an applicant are treated with respect.  Accuracy, dependability and reputation are keys to successful and timely review of your file and, ultimately, a speedy issuance of your medical license.

 

2.     Already Licensed in Another State – Do I Qualify for Reciprocity?

Reciprocity is a thing of the past.  Reciprocity of a state medical license used to be a very common practice. Most states entered into an unofficial compact with the basic understanding that the previous medical board was diligent in accurately verifying all of the educational information of the applicant in questions, and was, in essence, ‘vouching’ for the applicant’s credibility.

 

In the early days of physician licensing, it was quite easy for physicians to move around the country practicing medicine. Unfortunately, it also made it quite easy for unqualified practitioners to follow suit.

 

In the 1990s a number of board members from one U.S. medical jurisdiction were indicted on fraud charges after an investigation by the FSMB and FBI concluded that they were ‘selling’ medical licenses in their jurisdiction which allowed unqualified practitioners to apply for reciprocal licenses in other states where they would not otherwise qualify.

 

Additionally, as America grew, regional demographics dictated the need for some medical boards to implement additional training or certification requirements to ensure that their practitioners met the needs of the local populations.

 

Obvious examples are ‘Snowbird” states, which see a massive influx of doctors during the winter months, and suffer a critical dearth of adequate medical coverage during the dog days of summer.  Not to mention that many of the winter practitioners are often transitioning into retirement and are not providing the hours of coverage needed by the local population or are increasingly interested in subspecialties such as Geriatrics or boutique practices as their own desires to slow down and practice less increase, thus broadening the area shortages in Pediatrics or Primary Care.

 

In order to meet the growing and changing needs of local populations, state medical boards have felt increased pressure from political lobbyists seeking to ensure that the local populace is adequately represented by “qualified’ applicants. Watchdog groups and frivolous malpractice claims have added to the loss of reciprocity and increased scrutiny of each state’s application and verification process, as each medical board seeks to protect itself from legal action and its constituents from inadequate healthcare.

 

Currently about 150,000 physicians seek new or additional state medical licenses each year. When the amplified practice demands on physicians and staff are combined with the multiplied qualification and verification requirements of each state medical board, licensing timeframes can expand exponentially.

 

Today’s licensing applicants must research their options thoroughly before giving notice, selling their practice or relocating their families to a new state or jurisdiction. New employers, state licensing boards and credentialing coordinators are unsympathetic to an applicant who did not conduct adequate research prior to pulling the trigger on a significant lifestyle change.

 

Please contact Physician Licensing Service for more information about state medical licensing timeframes and individual requirements before giving notice or accepting a new employment position.

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