After completing your undergraduate degree, tackling the MCAT, and dedicating your life to medical school, you may think you are ready to be a doctor. Did you know that there is a lengthy process after completing medical school before you can work at a hospital? Here are some steps to complete to ensure you can begin your medical career fast:
The United States Medical Licensing Examination
In order to legally practice medicine within the United States, medical students must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination. The USMLE is divided into three sections, and you must complete all three sections before moving on to start your healthcare professional career.
Board Certification & State License
Once your medical education is complete, and you have passed the USMLE, you are able to obtain certifications in your preferred field. Depending on which of the 24 specialty boards you select, you are required to complete one or more forms of a board exam.
After earning your board certifications, it is time to apply for a state medical license. Each state has its own board of medicine, which determines its own licensing requirements and procedures. It is required by law that you have a state license before you can begin practicing.
Once you have completed the previous steps, you are able to apply for medical jobs! However, it is not the final step in the process. Once you have obtained a job offer, you want to be set up for success.
If you have ever received medical care, you know that the revenue cycle entails patients paying insurance companies, and insurance companies paying healthcare professionals for their services. To be paid as an active healthcare professional, contracts must be established between you and insurance companies. The number of insurance companies depends on the circumstances of the job. For example, a hospital may only have relationships with certain insurance companies, and if you work for the hospital they may require you to exclusively work with their insurance partners.
Creating contracts with insurance companies is more commonly known as the process of payer enrollment. Payer enrollment ensures that contracts are solidified, and healthcare professionals will be paid by insurance companies once patients have received care. Payer enrollment services can be outsourced, which is recommended because the paperwork and process can take up to nine months for just one insurance provider.
Another benefit to outsourcing payer enrollment is that they will maintain your contracts for you. This means that instead of spending months every year renewing your agreements with each insurance company, it can be done much faster without any gaps in coverage. Remaining up to date and compliant with payers, CAQH and facilities ensures there are no unexpected surprises to your revenue stream. This means your payments will be consistent for your entire medical career.
Malpractice insurance is a type of liability insurance intended to protect healthcare professionals. Patients may file claims against healthcare workers in the case of medical negligence that results in additional health complications or death. Malpractice insurance is not only important as a healthcare professional; it is required to work in a healthcare facility. Several companies include malpractice insurance in their job offers, but in some cases it could be beneficial for healthcare professionals to have their own.
One example includes a doctor that practices in several states. Another common case is a hospitalist, which is someone that works in a hospital, but is not necessarily employed by the hospital. Instead, they are employed by outside organizations, such as medical schools or hospitalist group medical practices. If someone falls into one of these categories, they may need to find their own malpractice insurance.
Consider these factors when planning your healthcare career and you will propel yourself into success.