The Essential Guide to Medical Licensing for You, Your People, and Your Practice

Medical Licensing

Where James Bond and his fellow agents have a license to kill, you, as a medical provider, need a license to heal.

This article will look at the different types of licensing you and your practice require to become compliant and practice medicine legally in America. To accommodate everybody from those fresh out of medical school to practices looking to scale, we will investigate medical licensing from the ground up.

What is Medical Licensing?

A medical license gives a person the authority to practice medicine and provide medical care in a specific state in America. It is issued by a specific state licensing board, and the statutes vary from state to state. 

Certain states have agreements to streamline the licensing process and cater to physicians who want to practice in multiple states. For instance, The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact includes 29 states. 

If, for instance, you have a license to practice in Florida, you can’t practice medicine legally in any other state. Suppose you do have such a limited license and decide to move to another location. In that case, you can always apply for another license in the new state. It is essential to consider such factors before obtaining a specific state medical license, as obtaining a license is quite lengthy and tedious and is something you wouldn’t want to do often.

What is a Medical Licensing service?

The process of applying for and obtaining a state medical license differs amongst states and is a lengthy and tedious process. Individual physician licensing is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are starting your own practice, you will soon learn that it requires different types of licensing for its people, services, etc. But we will get into that later.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the licensing processes and procedures and the vast amount of time these processes consume, medical practices approach specialized companies to do the legwork for them. The services that these specialist companies offer are considered medical licensing services.  

Who needs Medical Licensing?

Any person who wants to practice medicine legally in America needs a medical license before they can provide medical care. But it is not just physicians that require medical licensing. Other medical care providers and certain services require additional licensing. Let’s start with licensed practioners of the healing arts.

A licensed practitioner of the healing arts is defined differently by states. Here are some examples of such professions that require a state medical licensing:

  • Physicians 
  • Psychologists 
  • Marriage and family therapists 
  • Professional clinical counselors
  • Physician assistants 
  • Nurse practitioners 
  • Psychiatrists 
  • Social workers

The processes and procedures of obtaining state licensing for individuals again differ between states, but in short, it entails: 

  • Providing a complete, up-to-date resume (CV) 
  • Submitting proof of education, training, and work history. 
  • Reveal current or past licenses 
  • Supplying references 
  • Proof of health status and ability to practice 
  • Malpractice judgements/settlements 
  • Criminal record check 

How long does it take to obtain medical licenses?

The application processing time varies from state to state. It takes a considerable amount of time as each application contains a bulk of information to be verified. Mistakes or omitted information can cause further delays, and that is why it is essential that the information supplied in the initial application is 100% accurate and include everything that was required.

The American Medical Association states that applicants should expect to wait at least 60 days from submission to the granting of the license. This serves only as an indication of turnaround time. Colorado, for instance, has a reputation for fast turnaround times, ranging between 30 to 60 days, but don’t use this as a benchmark for your license application.

Also, remember that licenses need to be renewed every few years, depending on the state’s requirements. Some states also require that physicians undergo continuous education in their fields, and the evidence of such should be supplied during the license renewal process.

What is a DEA license?

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regulates the prescription and distribution of controlled medications in America. Examples of these controlled substances include amphetamines, narcotics, anabolic steroids, and benzodiazepines.

Physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants wanting to supply prescriptions to patients need to obtain a DEA license, which is separate from the standard state medical license.

When the providers become licensed, they receive a DEA number which is then added to their prescriptions. Pharmacists will then check to see if the provider included a DEA license number on the prescription before filling the prescription.

The DEA license must be renewed every three years and needs to be updated if a medical provider decides to practice in another state.

What is a CDS license?

A Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) license is a state-issued license that allows medical providers to distribute certain controlled medications. This license is not the same as the DEA license, and not all states require a CDS license.

In Louisiana, for instance, physicians need both CDS and DEA licenses to procure, possess or prescribe controlled substances.

What is a CLIA license?

Diagnostic testing help health care providers detect and monitor certain diseases or conditions. Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) regulate laboratory testing. Clinical laboratories need to be certified by CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) before they can do diagnostic testing. The types of tests conducted will dictate what kind of CLIA certificates they need to obtain.

Practices with in-house laboratories need to check with their state’s requirements to determine what type of licenses they require to conduct their specific types of diagnostic testing.

Do I need a medical license to become credentialed?

Medical credentialing refers to becoming an in-network provider of state and private payers. Although it is not a requirement to practice, it is the sure set way to obtain more patients. If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of medical credentialing, click here.

Getting licensed is the first step to practicing medicine legally in any of the 50 states of America. Also the first step toward getting credentialed is obtaining a state medical license. As a physician, it is impossible to become credentialed without a state medical license.

What is the easiest way to get medical licensing?

By now, you realize that different licenses are needed to practice medicine, which differs from the provider and the type of services offered. The requirements to be granted a state medical license is also heavily state-dependent, which makes the process of getting the correct licensing confusing and time-consuming.

Neolytix has been offering a-la-carte services, including licensing and billing to marketing and bookkeeping, for over a decade. Our services assist healthcare providers right from the start. We can help you, from obtaining your state medical license to building your practice and scaling it into a mammoth in the medical industry.

Neolytix offers medical licensing services for:

  • Individual state licensing (physicians, nurses, etc.)
  • DEA Licensing
  • CDS Licensing
  • CLIA Licensing

If you need more information on medical licensing services, please do not hesitate to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

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