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The Problem With Medical Licenses

In one of those things I don’t really get*, Texas requires a separate license from an unrestricted medical license to prescribe narcotics. As the price of this extra license has always seemed to be more ‘cover the cost’, nobody has seriously objected. It’s $25, in case you’re interested.

Since it’s a State license, it’s required if your job could even perceivably need to prescribe narcs in a hospital. (So, Radiologists and Pathologists are usually exempted). It’s never been an issue, as long as you don’t screw up.

Until now.

From the Austin American Statesman: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

Mission Impossible: Getting A Medical License In California

I first applied for a license to practice medicine in the state of California on July 9, 2008. I was licensed on March 3, 2011 — a whopping 967 days after they first received my application. I haven’t had a problem getting a license in any other state, and I am licensed in six of them. Just to give you a sense of how long it usually takes to process the paperwork for a medical license, Maryland completed mine in under three weeks. So what’s going on in California?

Dr. Val’s Experience

I think the best way to tell this story is with a timeline, and let the facts speak for themselves. I know this represents just one physician’s experience (namely mine), so results may vary:

July 9, 2008 – The Medical Board of California (MBC) received my licensure application and my checks for $493 (for fingerprint and processing fee) and $805 (initial licensing fee), which were cashed soon thereafter.

Sept 29, 2008 – I received a letter in the mail stating that there were four items missing from my application. Two of these four items were already included in the Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS) packet they had received from me. The other two items were requests for residency program directors to write letters to support the forms that they had already filled out on my behalf. I immediately requested these letters, and even though I should not have needed to send additional copies of items from the FCVS packet, I did so as well.

December 3, 2008 – I received a letter in the mail from the MBC, stating that there was an additional fee of $25 now required for physicians whose licensure applications were postmarked after December 31, 2008. This obviously didn’t relate to me, but the letter reminded me to follow up with the board to make sure that they had received the four items from the Sept 29th letter. I sent the licensing program administrator an email and left a voice message for follow-up purposes. He gave no response. Read more »

Considering A “Medi-Spa?” 5 Questions To Ask

True or false:

1. Botox and laser treatments are easy and can be done by an aesthtician or spa staff.

2. A physician must be present at all times in a spa that performs procedures.

3. Chemical or facial peels are safe and can be done in a beauty salon.

(Answer to questions 1-3: False.)

The term “spa” is derived from a town in Belgium where healing waters have been used to promote health since Roman times. “Spa” is now loosely used to describe any relaxing environment or beauty salon where rest, health and beauty are promoted.

At one time it was easy to distinguish among a beauty salon, barber shop and a doctor’s office. Not anymore. As cosmetics has become more medical and medicine has become more cosmetic, the two have met in the ubiquitous Medi-Spa. An establishment labelled a medical spa or medi-spa is generally one where medical procedures are performed or medicines are administered in the pursuit of beauty. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

How To Choose A Great Doctor

As a practicing family doctor, it’s easy for me to figure out how to choose a great doctor. Let me tell you the secrets in finding the best one for you and what I tell my family and friends. Look for the following:

– Board certification
– Report card on quality
– Licensing/public reporting

As a doctor, I know many doctors who have great bedside manner but aren’t particularly reliable in giving the right medical care you deserve, and these traits separate the so-so doctors from the truly excellent ones. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

Credit Where Credit Is Due: Maryland Medical License Approved In Record Time

licenseSince I finished my residency training, I’ve applied for medical licenses in several states. It has been interesting to see how long it takes different states to process the same credentials. I wanted to give a quick hat tip to Maryland, for being the fastest, lowest hassle state so far. They processed my application in under 4 weeks, accepting my FCVS packet as verification for my medical school, residency training, and USMLE scores. Although the website suggests that the process may take up to 120 days, mine was fewer than 30. Thank you, Maryland Board of Physicians! Job well done.

In my personal hall of shame, however, is the Medical Board of California. I have been waiting since June, 2008 for my license. Yes, it’s been 567+ days. Read more »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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