When you are a doctor who is eager to embark on a locum tenens assignment or help patients via telehealth, you likely don’t want to get bogged down in the time and red tape of medical licensure.
But physicians, even those who practice telehealth, must obtain medical licenses for the states where they wish to practice. Each state has different licensing requirements, timeframes, and fees. Some states have a reputation for making the process simple and affordable, while for others, it can take anywhere between three and nine months and more extensive costs.
At MDA, we know that obtaining additional medical licenses can feel frustrating and time-consuming. However, when you partner with us, our skilled recruiters can help you navigate the process of obtaining your license to practice in a new state. Our licensing administrators will make the process easy. In the meantime, here are some tips to get you started:
Consider IMLC States
Fortunately, a group of state medical board regulators recognized the need to streamline the medical licensing process and established the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC). The IMLC has implemented a pathway to help qualified doctors practice in multiple states.
The IMLC mission is to increase access to health care for patients in underserved or rural areas and allowing them to more easily connect with medical experts through the use of telemedicine technologies. Additionally, the IMLC protects the public by facilitating state-sharing of disciplinary and investigative information. This compact can make life much easier for you if you want to work locum tenens or telemedicine. The status of participating states is currently evolving, but you can check the IMLC map to read about specific legislation.
The states and territory, as of January 2019, that are part of the IMLC are:
District of Columbia*
* IMLC Passed; Implementation In Process or Delayed.
Obtain an IMLC Letter of Qualification
The IMLC issued its first Letters of Qualification to physicians beginning in 2017. Letters of Qualification provide physicians access to expedited licensure with other states participating within the Compact. Letters of Qualification are valid for 365 days.
To be issued a Letter of Qualification, you must have a full, unrestricted license to practice in a Compact Member State that is your designated State of Principal License (SPL). You must one of the following requirements to claim a state as your SPL:
- Your primary residence is in the SPL
- At least 25% of your practice is in the SPL
- Your employer is based in the SPL
- You use the SPL for tax purposes as your residence
Other requirements are that you:
- Maintain your SPL license at all times
- Graduated from an accredited medical school or International Medical Education Directory listed school
- Successfully completed ACGME or AOA accredited graduate medical education
- Passed all components of USMLE, COMLEX-USA or equivalent in three or fewer attempts
- Have current specialty certification or time-unlimited certification by ABMS or AOABOS board
- Have no history of disciplinary actions toward license
- Have no criminal history
- Have no history of controlled substance actions toward license
- Not be under investigation
Apply in Your State
If you’re applying for your initial license or an additional license, expect that it will take some time. To expedite the process, the American Medical Association (AMA) recommends that when you contact your licensing board, you should:
- Obtain a copy of their current license requirements
- Send in your curriculum vitae upon first contact
- Disclose all information and avoid hiding anything derogatory
- Personally follow up with the licensing board, medical schools, hospitals, etc.
- Contact the Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS) for credentialing
- Plan to wait 60 days or longer
States which have a reputation for an efficient licensure process are Georgia, Tennessee, Connecticut, Nebraska, Maine, Michigan, and New Hampshire. On the other hand, Illinois, Oregon, Alaska, Arkansas, Nevada, Texas, and South Dakota can present a greater challenge. Of course, this is always changing, so refer to our MDA Licensure Map to find the requirements for your state.
Connect with a Recruiter
For physicians who take on locum tenens assignments, there are countless opportunities and immense rewards – like the joy of caring for patients in underserved regions, serve those who serve us with Veteran and DoD opportunities, the excitement of traveling to see new areas of the U.S., or the ability to reach remote patients through telemedicine. Although licensure is a necessary and often cumbersome process, our recruiters are determined to make it as seamless as possible.In addition to offering assistance with licensure, MDA offers:
- Paid travel and housing
- A++ rated comprehensive professional liability insurance
- Fast, convenient, electronic direct deposit
- Access to many nationwide locum positions through our extensive network
- A wide range of assignments of varying length
- Experience in staffing since 1987
- Staffing awards that include the Diamond Award, Inavero Best of Staffing
- NCQA-certified CVO to assist with onboarding and risk management
- Fabulous testimonials and excellent reviews
To find your ideal locum tenens or telemedicine assignment, connect with a recruiter who will guide you through every step of the process and ensure that you find the opportunity you want while receiving the superior service you deserve.