Credentialing: Physicians, Avoid the Hassles

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Getting licensed to practice in another state and credentialed to practice in a particular hospital can be an unpredictable and time-consuming process for locum tenens physicians. Here are some tips for physicians to make the process smoother and faster.

Step 1: Getting licensed—Start with a list

Make a list of the states where you’d like to practice, or where you’d be willing to accept a locums assignment. Give the list to your recruiter so he or she can start the ball rolling as soon as possible.

The AMA offers a good primer on the licensing process. Some of its best advice: Physicians should plan on at least a 60-day period from the time they submit a completed application for licensure and the date the license is granted. Also be aware that the highest volume of applications is received between the months of April and September, as many physicians with families seek to relocate before the academic year begins. This can slow things down.

LocumConnections offers help for the licensing process as part of our comprehensive credentialing services. Physicians who contract with us can rest assured that we handle as many of the nitty-gritty details as possible to take the pressure off you. Bear in mind, however, that no matter how quickly we move, the process can’t be hurried once the application is in the hands of the state medical board.

Step 2: A clearinghouse for credentialing

Remember that licensing is just a part of the credentialing process. Hospitals must evaluate and verify your current license status, experience, and ability. With locum tenens physicians, it is typically the placement firm that does the credentialing for its partner hospitals.

Why? Because the locum tenens staffing company usually covers physician malpractice insurance—as we do at LocumConnections. The process includes verifying that you are in good standing as a physician, and checking your references. To speed things up, we provide our incoming physicians with a checklist of all the documents and paperwork we need to complete the credentialing process—a medical diploma, internship and residency diplomas, a current resume, all current medical licenses, etc.

The good news is that once we have the necessary information to begin the credentialing process for one hospital, we have a template for quick credentialing at any other hospitals that want to bring you in on a locum tenens assignment. Most of the time, you don’t have to be involved in the process at all.

Of course, the holdup comes with the wait time to be licensed in another state. As I said, it takes patience.­­­

But we make the process painless—on both sides of the aisle. Because of our reputation for thorough, top-quality credentialing services, hospitals are often more likely to contract for locum doctors with us. They know they don’t have to come back to us asking for missing pieces from the credentialing packet—resumes, references, etc. All the t’s will be crossed and the i’s dotted. They also know they will be getting a physician that looks good on paper and in person, too.

–Dr. Mac McCormick