What You Need to Know About Obtaining a New York State Physician License

A physician at work

In our previous article, we gave a brief overview of how to get a physician licence in the state of New York. Now, let’s delve further into this process in order to get a more detailed idea of the process for obtaining a licence. 

In the state of New York, the New York State Education Department’s Office of the Professions, together with the New York State Board for Medicine regulates the licensing for practitioners and physicians. Here’s some essential information you will need to know about this process. 

Limits of a Physician’s License 

Even though New York State is responsible for authorizing licensure for physicians treating a wide array of conditions, the state does not certify physicians who are choosing to specialize in a particular field. These may include specialty areas such as surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology and many subspecialties. The designations that physicians use are primarily decided by specialty certification boards of organizations meant for licensed professionals. Other limitations may also include periodic renewal, prohibiting applications for DEA or practicing telemedicine until the state license is completed. 

No Room for Error 

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The Application for Licensure and First Registration includes information about your education, examinations taken, criminal records and other personal histories. Even though there’s a long application process in getting your license, you must pay attention to every detail and avoid any mistakes. All documents you submit either on paper or online are official; hence, one should always take their time to complete these forms carefully, making sure that the name and other information are used in exactly the same way on each document. Any errors in these would cause many months of delays and complications in the licensing process or even render the application void. 

On the off chance of an unexplained delay in your licensing, here are a few steps you can take: 

If you have a copy of the application, review it for errors, speak to your supervisor, request an update by sending a formal letter, call your soon-to-be-employer in case you have signed a contract because they may be able to help sort out the problem.

Renewal of Your license 

Even though your professional license is good for life, once you are issued your license, you are periodically required to renew it every two years with the help of the New York State Education Department’s Office of the Professions. As per regulation, if your license is nearing its expiration date, you must get it renewed within five months before it expires. At the same time, if it does expire, don’t prolong the renewal process more than for months.

Doctor with Stethoscope

The Office of the Professions will duly notify you that your license is nearing its expiration date, but in case you don’t receive a notice from them, it’s your job to get it renewed accordingly. If one misses their renewal deadline, they will have to contact the board for a Delayed Registration Application and may be fined or face disciplinary action. 

Suspension and Revocation 

NYS Medical Laws and Regulations under education law Article 131-A- are very strict in defining malpractice, incompetence, and grounds for revoking a physician’s license. On the occasion of a complaint, the OPMC (Office of Professional Medical Conduct) will initiate an investigation and carry out a hearing. 

In such a situation, the licensee will have 30 days to comply with written communications from the department of health and to make available any relevant records in regard to the inquiry/complaint about the licensee’s professional misconduct. This period begins as soon as the state department initiates their communication and makes the circumstance known to the physician in question. The board can impose many penalties, including suspension or revocation of a physician’s license, limiting the physician’s practice to a specific area or fine up to $10,000.

A Physician Information Profile 

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New York State has made it a requirement for a licensee to use the Federation Credentials Verification Service to centralize one’s documentation and certification. The service provides a very convenient and quick way for you to manage all your licenses and credentials in one place, which can be used by state medical boards for obtaining education information verified by the primary source for those applying for licensure. 

After a physician’s documentation and identity verification, a “Physician Information Profile” is made, which can be accessed by you anytime and can be sent to any state board or institution of your choice. Once your profile is received by New York State, they will carry out necessary evaluations to ensure that your education complies with New York licensure requirements. It also allows others to screen your application for errors, makes applying for licenses a lot easier in the future and benefits physicians in helping them file their qualifications to achieve a career in medicine.  

Mental Health

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There has been a long-standing debate regarding mental health within the medical professional community where individuals are reluctant to seek care for mental health in concerns that doing so could affect their license to practice. Under a survey of Physician-Friendly States for Mental Health published in the Qualitative Research in Medicine and Healthcare, it was noted that New York happens to be one of those states that are incredibly physician-friendly, with no mental health or impairment questions.

In another analysis of medical licensure application questions, New York State’s application process was one of the 16 medical license boards’ applications that were rated as “consistent,” in which the rating depended on the application either refraining from asking about mental health conditions or limited their questions to “current impairment” from a mental health condition. 

On a separate note, but one which newly licensed attorneys (and physicians) should be aware of during this COVID-19 crisis,  Carolyn Wolf, Executive Partner in Howard Fensterman’s law firm has recently written an article in Psychology Today on Liability Concerns When Practitioners Return to the Office

It may be a long process to get a physician’s license, but if an applicant keeps these few things in mind, your licensure may come as normally regulated without any mishaps or extra procedures and it is time for celebration!