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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:

The Texas Medical Association sent an email to doctors Wednesday alerting them that DPS had a backlog of 3,000 doctors waiting for certification, and 4,500 more would join that group in August. The email indicated that DPS was trying to fix a new computer program that seemed to be causing the delay.

But no one seems to be fully certain of the cause. Several doctors’ groups said they were told that phone problems, an office move and a new computer program all were factors.

DPS did not respond to questions about what might have caused the backlog or comment on the physicians’ letter to Perry. Spokesman Tom Vinger wrote in an email that DPS has processed all but 534 of the 3,064 certificate applications received this month. The rest would be processed today, he said, adding that the 4,800 doctors whose credentials expire Aug. 31 are encouraged to get their applications in “as soon as possible.”

So, mine expires at the end of August, I sent my renewal in a month ago, and it’s still not renewed. (My check was readily cashed). Hopefully the quote is correct, the computer-glitches have been tamed, and all will soon be right with the world.

*I don’t get this license, really, except as a way to allow docs with narcotic prescribing problems, or other reasons to restrict their licenses, to keep practicing. Except, I don’t get that. We’re also required to have a DEA license for the exact same purpose, so this State license is duplicative. Lose your DEA? I seriously doubt you’ll be getting a State narcotic license. Why not have a Full Unrestricted Medical, a Full Restricted Medical (no narcs), and then any other restricted ones (retired, etc).

Yes, I’m a dreamer. I dream of one license that makes sense. (No, I don’t want a National Medical License, thank you very much).

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*


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