How to get ready for your first physician job
After your physician employment contract is signed there is still a lot to do so you can start the new physician job on time. Proactive approach from the physician employee is always appreciated. Many of the processes listed below take months and are necessary for a physician to start his new job.
1) MEDICAL LICENSE: Make sure you application is submitted to the state medical board for medical license. Also carefully watch their estimated processing time and call them if you have not received the medical license in that period. Most of the time the State Medical Boards are quite efficient in dealing with applications But they get hit with large volume of applications especially around the spring and summer time when the rush is at its peak. That is because most physicians change jobs during that time and the medical residents are entering the workforce. If your medical license is not approved on time, you cannot start practicing medicine in that state until it is. Processing times can be long and may involve an interview.
2) CREDENTIALING: If you are entering a physician job then thank you stars that you don’t have to negotiate with the insurance companies about the rates. However you have to get credentialed with the insurance companies so they recognize you as a provider and pay for your services. Medical License is a requirement for final approval on credentialing applications. But most of the insurance companies will accept and start processing your application. So ask your physician employer to send you the credentialing packet which will be a heavy bundle of forms. Most of the time the employers will forward those to you right after you sign the contract. You may ask the secretaries to fill the forms prior to sending it so you don’t have to do much other than sign.
3) MALPRACTICE INSURANCE: Get ready to come under the microscope of malpractice insurance companies. In the likely scenario where the physician employer is providing the professional malpractice coverage they will forward you appropriate forms to sign. Then they will be submitted by the employer to the insurance company. Malpractice insurance is not finalized until your medical license is approved.
4) HOSPITAL PRIVILEGES: For those who will also work in a hospital need to get the hospital privileges application turned in. Without hospital privileges you cannot see a patient there at all. NO EXCEPTIONS!
5) HOUSING: Start arranging for a house to live in. DO NOT BUY A HOUSE OVER THE PHONE !!!! If you think no one has done that then you are wrong. I know a couple of doctors who bought a house over the phone and lost a lot of money by ending up in a bad deal. Your best bet is to rent a house or an apartment for about 6 to 9 months. Later on, once you are sure you are going to stick to your job and the area, then look for buying a house. By that time you will know the area well and can make an informed decision.
6) BOARD EXAM: Enroll in the board exams for your specialty and get them over with while you are fresh out of the medical residency. As you move farther away from your graduation date, it becomes harder to find time to study for the medical boards.
7) PROCEDURE CARDS: Get you medical residency program to complete your procedure competency certificates after turning in your procedure cards.