Top 8 State Medical Licensing Mistakes
The Top 8 Mistakes Physicians Make in the State Licensing Process
Obtaining a medical license may seem overwhelming, both new and veteran doctors will certainly attest to this. However, a medical license granted by a U.S. state or jurisdiction is required of every physician before practicing medicine. Therefore, it’s important to understand the licensing process in order to avoid common mistakes or pitfalls that can result in delay or denial of your state physician’s license. Medical licensing boards and statutes can vary from state to state and oftentimes be complex and confusing, depending on each state’s resources, regulations and state laws. Since each state has its own licensing board, the process can even be more difficult for physicians who seek to practice medicine in more than one state.
Current state licensure processes require physicians and medical professionals to complete individual applications for each and every state in which they seek to practice medicine in any form, including telemedicine. This could mean that you have to go through the licensure process multiple times. It is imperative that you have your credentialing information and documents together before you apply in order to make the process as quick and painless as possible. It is not uncommon for state medical boards to be months behind in processing applications. So the last thing you want is to wait months for an update from the medical board, only to find out your file is incorrect or missing information.
Avoid these 8 Licensing Mistakes to Ensure you Get it Done Right the 1st Time:
Getting a Late Start
As we mentioned above, the credentialing process can take a long time so it’s really important to start the process as early as possible. You need to allow plenty of time to fill out the application forms, compile all the necessary documentation, as well as ensure that your license(s), as well as certifications, are up to date. Not allocating enough time for these tasks can lead to significant errors in a bid to rush and get everything done.
Missing State Requirements
Every state medical board is different with regard to what credentials they require to be verified. Read the instructions carefully and be sure to send direct source verification requests to each place required by the medical board.
Attention to detail is of the utmost importance when filling out the credentialing paperwork. It is essential to provide all the required information as accurately as possible. Most states will require your medical education, postgraduate training, past and current state licenses and examinations to be verified. In addition, they may want copies of documents such as your birth certificate, training certificates, medical school diploma and malpractice case court documents. Failure to submit all of the necessary documentation may significantly hinder the application process. It is a good idea to review your specific state licensing requirements several times to check for errors and do a thorough review before submission.
Not Preparing for Third-Party Verifications
The majority of State Medical boards usually mandate that they receive important documents, like proof of education, transcripts, and training, directly from primary sources like your medical school and residency program. You will need to be prepared for medical board document requests by contacting your med school, residency program, or other primary sources and letting them know to expect medical board requests for your information.
Not Keeping Track of Documentss
State medical boards are often times weeks or even months behind in processing their mail or updating applications. It’s a good idea to send all of your verification requests with a traceable mail service such as FedEx, UPS, or USPS Priority Mail, so you will know when each request reaches its destination. By spending extra money on shipping, you can save a ton of time and worry in the end. You’ll know when your verification’s deliver before the medical board does.
Leaving a Gap in Your Professional Chronology
Many times state medical licensing applications will require a complete chronological timeline of your professional history. Be sure to include the full beginning and ending month and year for all areas requested on the form. Don’t forget to fill in the gaps when necessary including periods of school or vacation, time off for travel or professional studies, no matter how brief they may be. If you leave any gap in timeline, the medical board will ask you for an explanation of your activities during that time which could delay the processing of your state application.
Not Disclosing ALL Information
One of the biggest mistakes you can make on your medical license application is to omit or fail to disclose all information regarding disciplinary actions or legal issues. You should never try to hide negative information from a state licensing board. It is much better to come forward with ALL information to assist the board in obtaining records and other necessary data, and provide them with information about mitigating circumstances that would prevent license denial.This includes disciplinary actions during medical school, postgraduate training, employment or staff privileges. It also includes any actions taken against other state medical licenses, criminal charges and any issues with the DEA. Full and transparent disclosure of all information requested is by far the best approach to successful licensing process. It’s always best to voluntarily disclose the information and send a detailed explanation of what happened than for the Medical Board to discover you withheld something. If the medical board has to ask what happened and why you did not disclose the incident, your application could be red flagged and significantly delayed.
Failure to Follow-Up
It is up to you to contact the medical board and follow up on their requests. You may need to contact and follow up on your 3rd party verifications several times before they finally send the correct required verifications to the medical board. Often times the verifying entity will send a letter in lieu of completing a required form or just not respond to your requests at all. Frequently checking for updates may provide additional motivation to expedite processing your state physician application. You may want to write a letter or submit an email to the institution after a month of your initial application request, but remember to avoid harassing them with frequent phone calls. Patient yet persistent follow up is key!
Don’t Count Your Chickens Before they Hatch!
Medical licensing is a privilege, not a right, and the state medical board has the power to deny or delay a medical license at any time. Do not sell your house, quit your job or enroll your kids in school, schedule patients in your new state or begin practicing until after your license is granted. It’s important to look ahead and apply for your medical license at least 3-6 months before you need it. There are ways to expedite the state licensing process, but there is no way to cram for it by cutting corners. No matter how many medical licenses you’ve applied for in the past, remember that every state medical board is different and timing is everything!
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