Locum Leaders' Guide to Physician Credentialing and Licensure
The rise of medical malpractice and the increased demand for protection have caused physician licensing requirements and medical credentialing policies to be more complicated than ever before.
Both the licensing and credentialing processes can be time-consuming and confusing, but Locum Leaders' experience can help you avoid common pitfalls and help you prepare for the future.
Getting Organized. One of the most important aspects of both the licensing and credentialing processes is acquiring all the necessary paperwork and documentation. It’s a good idea to have photocopies of the most commonly requested documents. Here's a sample list of what you'll need:
- Current curriculum vitae (CV)
- Medical school diploma
- Internship, residency, and fellowship certificates (as applicable)
- Specialty board certificates (as applicable)
- Current state license card (for each state, as applicable)
- ECFMG (as applicable)
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license (if applicable)
- State-controlled substance license (if applicable)
- Passport-sized photo (preferred), and/or a clear copy of your driver’s license (may be required for privileging and/or licensing)
- Three references
It’s also important to keep a thorough record of your past work history for verification by the medical staff office at your next assignment. If you keep a spreadsheet with your current location, address, contract dates, and (if available) contact information for your entire work history, you’ll greatly minimize the amount of work involved when you start your next assignment.
You may also be expected to provide copies of any insurance certificates, including the policy number and dates of coverage.
The Physician Licensing Process
Whether you’re a resident applying for your first license or a seasoned physician looking to expand your career options, applying for new medical licenses can be an arduous process. Licensing can take anywhere from three to five months, with some states averaging nine months or longer.
Knowing your time frames is crucial, as the need for a new license can potentially delay the start of a new job or locum tenens contract. Here are a few key tips to help you come out on top.
- The first time you contact the licensure office, request a copy of the most recent licensing requirements and ask how long it normally takes to process applications. You can then plan your timeline accordingly. Contact the state licensure office and plan your process before leaving your current practice.
- When submitting your curriculum vitae to the board for review, make sure that it’s as updated and comprehensive as possible to avoid pitfalls later on in the process.
- When working in a new state, make sure you have all the necessary DEA and Controlled Substance Registrations (CSR) for that state. If working in a state that requires a CSR, you will need to obtain this BEFORE you apply for your initial DEA license. For more information regarding these licenses, visit the Drug Enforcement Agency website.
- If you’re a foreign medical graduate, verifying your education and training can be a longer process than for American-trained physicians. To expedite the process, consider registering with the Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS). With the FCVS, you will be able to establish a verified credentials portfolio that can be forwarded, upon request, to any institution currently working with the FCVS, including the majority of licensing authorities in the United States. For more information on FCVS, call (888) ASK-FCVS (that’s 888-275-3287) or visit the Federation Credentials Verification Service website.
- Some states have the option of issuing temporary licenses for short-term contracts, but the application process is similar in complexity.
The Physician Credentialing Process
When beginning a new permanent job or locum tenens assignment, the facility must work through an extensive credentialing process to validate your qualifications. Often included in this process are work history verifications, a malpractice history investigation, as well as validation of all licenses, education/training, DEA certificates, and hospital privileges.
The best way to help expedite this process is to be prepared! Keep your CV updated at all times and have ready all your necessary paperwork — see our list above — to send to the medical staff office as soon as you sign an agreement to work at that facility.
Remember — although we’re always available to help you gain new licensures and certifications, it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure you have documentation of existing paperwork as required to complete the credentialing process. And remember to respond promptly to inquiries or requests for additional information. Time is your enemy during the credentialing process!
The licensing and credentialing process can be cumbersome for any physician, but working with a qualified locum tenens agency like Locum Leaders can help ease the burden. To get started working with a Locum Leaders locum tenens recruitment specialist, connect with us today.
This article does not constitute official financial, insurance, or legal advice on the part of Locum Leaders. Locum Leaders is not directly affiliated with any of the websites discussed in this article and cannot be held liable for any information received from these third-party sources.