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12 Mar 2014

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

Healthcare Licensing, Physician Licensing, State Medical Board No Comments
In this installment of Why Medical Licensing in Puerto Rico Is So Difficult, we will cover some eligibility requirements, time-frames & expectations.

What you need to know:

  1. Expiration:  Applications usually expire after 1 year from the date it is received by the Board
  2. This Board does not accept FCVS profiles.
  3. Interview:  Not required
  4. The Board loses an average of 1 in 5 pieces of mail every week; expect to re-request documentation at some point during the process.
  5. The Board will not answer phones or e-mail as a general rule of thumb.
  6. The Board will consider hand-delivered applications first and foremost.  If you have a friend or family member who can walk documents directly into the Medical Board in Rio Piedras, your chances of success are much higher.
  7. The Board strongly prefers two references from physicians licensed in Puerto Rico. (see Q&A section below)
  8. The website www.salud.gov.pr is NOT active and nobody is currently monitoring the web correspondence.  That website has not been updated in the last 24 months and none of the current board employees are allowed to login to the site at the present time.  Information on the site cannot be trusted as accurate nor current.
  9. The Board strongly prefers that all communication be in Spanish.  If you are fluent in Spanish and you conduct all verbal and written communication in Spanish, you will be more likely to receive a response from the Board.  Alternatives include using a translation application to convert all your correspondence to Spanish before sending to the analyst in Puerto Rico.

 

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. USMLE Attempt Limit: None
  2. USMLE Time Limit: Must complete USMLE steps I, II, & III within 7 years of passing the first step
  3. PGY (AMG): 1 Year
  4. PGY (IMG): 1 Year
  5. SPEX/COMVEX: Not required
  6. ECFMG not required
  7. Background check required – very quick and affordable compared to other states (BCI is recommended)

 

Question Regarding References from Puerto Rico Licensed Physicians:

Q.  If I’ve never worked or been licensed in Puerto Rico, how on Earth am I supposed to get a PR licensed physician to give me a reference?

A.  If you work with a physician in your home state who holds a license in PR, that will satisfy the requirements. Please note that there are not a lot of actively licensed physicians who are licensed in Puerto Rico and meeting this requirement is not always an option. Just be advised that this can significantly delay your medical license.

 

 

In all, licensing in Puerto Rico presents different challenges that applicants will not find in other states, but with the expertise and knowledge of Physician Licensing Service, we can make the process as painless as possible.

 

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.

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.

 

05 Feb 2014

A Record Setting Year for Physician Licensing Service

Healthcare Licensing, Physician Licensing No Comments

2013 was a record setting year for PLS.  During the year we strategized and implemented a broad-scale restructure in an effort to improve leadership, increase efficiency, and make our innovative licensing processes even more effective.  The result from this introspection is even better licensing services to both individual doctors and large corporate clients alike.  Our licensing consultants are more proficient and better trained.  In fact, one of our Consultants issued nearly 600 medical licenses in 2013.  That’s more than most licensing companies produce in a year’s time.

 

Companywide we reduced the cost per issued license by 30%.  We reduced the hours of work per issued license by 35% while increasing total licenses issued by more than 5%. Those are big shifts.   About to celebrate our 17th anniversary, PLS has been in medical licensing more than twice as long as our nearest competitor.   From telemedicine, to the Affordable Care Act, to an aging US population, the medical industry is experiencing a number of forces pulling it in a variety of directions.  Medical licensing serves a vital purpose as an anchor through all of this change.  It ensures that consumers of healthcare receive safe and effective care.  Physician Licensing Service is working daily to make sure we are in the best possible position to serve an expanding section of the US economy and to take good care of the people we trust to care for our loved ones.

 

 

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.

29 Jan 2014

“Ground Rules” When Applying For Medical Licensure

Healthcare Licensing, Physician Licensing, Uncategorized No Comments

The American Medical Association has put together what they call “ground rules” when applying for medical licensure.  Here are some highlights of the article we found interesting and what Physician Licensing Service does to help.

 

Increasing public demand for protection, coupled with the growth in the number and sophistication of fraudulent practitioners over the past 2 decades, has resulted in stronger and more complex licensing boards and licensing statutes throughout the country.

 

Within this context, a physician seeking initial licensure or subsequently applying for a license in other states should anticipate the possibility of delays due to the necessary investigation of credentials and past practice, as well as the need to comply with necessary licensing standards.  These suggestions aka “Ground Rules” will not apply in all cases but generally will help most physicians applying for licensure as well as benefit the licensing board of the state in which the physician wishes to practice.
Read more

23 Jan 2014

When To Hire a Medical Licensing Company, Part Two

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In “When To Hire a Medical Licensing Company, Part One” we outlined the larger, more obvious reasons to hire a licensing assist agency to help with your physician licensing application.

 

In this installment, we would like to address the mathematical approach to hiring a medical licensing service.  Residents:  Listen up!  This will apply to you a little later…

 

Put simply – you really cannot afford not to.  On average, Physician Licensing Service issues most medical licenses anywhere from 15-40% faster than a physician attempting to attain licensure independently.  In real-time, those numbers translate into anywhere from two weeks up to six months in time saved.  Now, do the math; if you get your license two weeks earlier and go to work two weeks sooner, our $600 fee should more than justify itself just in time saved. Read more

08 Jan 2014

Medicaid Leads To More ER Visits…

Healthcare, Uncategorized No Comments

Having Medicaid leads to 40% more ER visits, say researchers

January 3, 2014 | Medical News Today

 

New Research suggests that adults who have their medical care covered by Medicaid use emergency rooms 40% more than adults in similar situations who do not have health insurance.  This is according to a study published in the journal Science.

 

In 2008, the state of Oregon introduced a Medicaid lottery to assign the health insurance to an additional 10,000 low-income adults after realizing they had additional funds for the program.

 

Individuals in Oregon are eligible to apply for the lottery if their annual income is below the federal poverty level set by the US Department of Health and Human Sciences.  For 2013, this is approximately $23,550 for a family of four and $11,490 for a single person.

 

The study researchers, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Harvard School of Public Health, Read more

05 Nov 2013

Physician Licensing Service Consultant Sets New Record

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In October, Physician Licensing Service Senior Consultant, Tai Roach, set a new record for medical licenses issued in a single month with 84.  Several medical licenses were issued in less than four weeks.  Tai issued medical licenses in 24 different states in October alone, and 48 different states so far in 2013!  With well over 1,000 licenses issued during her career at Physician Licensing Service (PLS), Tai is certainly one of the most efficient and effective medical licensing consultants to be found in the United States of America.

25 Jun 2013

Medical Licensing Expenses Are Tax Deductible

Fees, Healthcare Licensing, Physician Licensing No Comments

Medical Licensing Expenses Are Tax Deductible

 

Physician licensing can be expensive. The average medical license initially costs around $1500 for fees and verifications. Add physician licensing service assistance (which can cut the medical licensing time by up to 40% and allow you to start working much sooner), and your total can run around $2100-$2300. These averages vary by state and physician, but they represent a healthy cross-section of the medical licensing industry.

 

There is GOOD NEWS regarding these physician licensing expenses, though. These fees (including those paid to a medical licensing service) are tax deductible. There are several options, depending on a physician’s employment status:

  Read more

17 Jun 2013

Common Medical Licensing Misconceptions – Part Two

FCVS, Healthcare Licensing, Physician Licensing, State Medical Board No Comments

Common Medical Licensing Misconceptions, Part Two

My current state license already verified my medical school and post graduate training. Can’t another state just get the results from them?

 

“Primary Source Verification” is a commonly misunderstood concept in the licensing and credentialing process.

 

Many applicants are unaware that their methodical information (exams, medical school and PGY training) must be primary source verified for each and every state licensing application, and most hospital or insurance credentialing applications stipulate this requirement as well.

 

In most cases, PS verifications must come directly from the verifying entity (i.e. – the registrar’s office at the medical school or from the PGY program) directly to the agency requesting the verification (i.e. – state medical board or hospital privileging office). The verification cannot be sent to the applicant or an outside agency (such as a licensing agent).  Most agencies do have soft copy agreements, which allow them to see a copy of the verification to ensure that it has been filled out correctly before being sent to the requesting agency, but the actual verification is sent directly to the requestor.
Read more

25 Apr 2013

When to Hire a Medical Licensing Company – Part One

FCVS, Healthcare Licensing, Physician Licensing No Comments

When to Hire a Medical Licensing Company- Part One

 

In a perfect world, medical licensing would not be as onerous or difficult as it is in reality and you would not have to decide whether to pursue licensing on your own or hire an independent medical licensing agency to assist you.

 

There are mitigating factors to consider when deciding to use a medical licensing company and I’d like to discuss some common circumstances. Of course, we here at Physician Licensing Service think that you should always use a licensing agent because of our superior quality, speed and professionalism, but we know that there may be instances in which you decide to pursue a license on your own. Read more