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05 Mar 2014

Why Medical Licensing In Puerto Rico Is So Difficult, Part 1

FSMB, Healthcare Licensing, Physician Licensing, Uncategorized No Comments

If you’ve ever made event the most rudimentary inquiries into researching the requirements for a Physician License in Puerto Rico, then you’ve likely come up against an impenetrable wall.  The Puerto Rico Medical Board won’t answer their phones of e-mails most of the time, and doesn’t even have a useable website containing pertinent information – so getting answers is nearly impossible.

 

We receive numerous calls each and every week from people seeking answers or solutions.  The most common question is, “Why can’t I get in touch with them?”

 

The Puerto Rico licensing question is a difficult one to answer and there is currently no easy solution to be found.  Perhaps the best way to understand the problem in Puerto Rico is to take a look at recent board history to understand how the current landscape came to be.

 

Excerpted from an article by Danica Coto, Associated Press  |                .

 

August 3, 2007 San Juan, PR — Federal agents arrested dozens of doctors accused of obtaining medical licenses through fraud or bribery, carrying out sweeping raids across Puerto Rico.

A federal grand jury indicted 88 doctors following an investigation into members of the US territory’s medical-licensing board, who allegedly altered low test scores to certify unqualified candidates.

The doctors paid board members bribes as much as $10,000, according to the indictment. Most of the suspects failed the licensing exam multiple times.

At least five states recognize Puerto Rican medical licenses — Arizona, Florida, New York, Texas, and Virginia — but none of the suspects were known to have practiced on the mainland, according to Puerto Rico’s medical licensing board.

The defendants face charges that include mail fraud and making false statements to Medicare. If convicted, most face five to 20 years in prison. 

 

In all, 113 indictments were brought against nearly ninety suspects in 2008, including Puerto Rico board members and employees – the medical board has struggled to recover from the scandal.  Since the Government sought cooperation from the FSMB in its investigation and owing to the island’s inherent mistrust of mainland politics, the Puerto Rico Medical Board has since limited all communication with those outside of the territory – including the FSMB, it’s overseeing entity.

 

Since 2008, turnover at the Puerto Rico Medical Board has been astronomically high, whether from fear or apathy, is hard to say – but each time Physician Licensing Service develops a solid, responsive contact at the medical board, that employee is gone with-in months.  Maintaining a relationship with individual employees and building rapport remains a challenge to this day.  Even our independent contacts on the ground in Puerto Rico have difficulty in getting timely answers at present.

 

Physician Licensing Service has discussed these issues directly with the Federation, which is keenly aware of the problems, and we are still actively seeking resolution with them – but the FSMB is currently hesitant to impose sanctions on the Puerto Rico Medical Board, fearing that the appearance of punitive action against the board will further exacerbate the existing problem.

 

Until an accord is reached, Physician Licensing Service will continue to strive for the very best possible solutions to applicants seeking licensure in Puerto Rico.

 

Next week’s blog will discuss Puerto Rico licensing timeframes and requirements.

 

About Physician Licensing Service

Now in our 16th year of business, Physician Licensing Service has been changing the face of healthcare licensure.  We have developed a proven system to remove the barriers common to state medical licenses and get doctors practicing in record time.  Our business model focuses on simplifying the process for all involved parties. This includes the state medical boards themselves, because PLS takes great care to keep abreast of their updates in this ever changing field, and work within those guidelines. For a doctor seeking a medical license, PLS will take on the entire process, including eligibility research, paperwork, verifications, and follow up.

 

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