Often, we are told that a task is not worth completing because “it’s not possible.” Well, one must ask, “Is it possible or impossible?” A task that one might find impossible, another may find doable.
As physicians, we are often told that starting a new gig might take 2-3 months. This includes negotiating a professional services agreement (PSA) and completing all necessary items to provide clinical services at a facility. This process can take even longer, especially if you have to apply for a new state medical license.
The problem is that facilities generally want you to start right away. ….so if you already have a medical license in that state, is it possible to start a new opportunity in four weeks? YES, it’s possible.
If you want a great opportunity, time can’t be wasted! It would be best if you were motivated and organized to score an opportunity quickly. The more you can get done earlier, the better the odds you can start working at a facility sooner. We provide a timeline for securing your next opportunity in four weeks.
***This does not apply to those who must get a medical license in a new state, as that would add to the difficulty of locking in an opportunity in four weeks. The exception is that if you have a compact license, you can get a new state license and start a new opportunity within four weeks.
Connect with Facility. Start byemailing or calling a medical facility to inform them of your interest in working for them. Notify them that you are willing to send your CV and are interested in speaking with an administrator about a new opportunity. Recognize that not all recruiters have the power to escalate your desire to work for them, so make sure to offer to speak with a higher-level administrator. Leave your cell phone number so that someone can call you back quickly.
Speak with an administrator. Don’t waste your time communicating thru emails! Get someone on the phone to speak with, preferably an administrator. If speaking with the in-house recruiter, relay your desire to talk with an administrator early in the process. Gauge what the hospital needs and advise the administrator of how you can help them to form a mutually beneficial relationship. Start the discussions about the parameters of a future agreement. This includes having an initial conversation about the compensation rate, schedule, malpractice insurance, and other elements worth negotiating for early on. If the conversation is going in the right direction, ask what they need from you and who else you should speak with. Offer to send them your CV and NPDB Self-query in a follow-up email. Ask to speak with an in-house physician/surgeon in your specialty if the job interests you. To move things along, ask them to send you a template PSA or contract so you can review it to see if any red flags or items require editing. Lastly, set a deadline to reconnect with them (preferably within 24-48 hours).
Follow-up Email. After speaking with an administrator, or an in-house recruiter, send a follow-up email about the items you discussed. Also, attach your CV, NPDB Self-query, and references from your colleagues and prior hospitals where you worked. In the email, confirm with them what the next step is for you and them to take to get things moving.
Notify your references. To expedite getting you onboarded, inform your references (colleagues and hospitals) that they may receive a call from a facility you applied to.
Speak with an in-house physician. Don’t ever accept an agreement until you have spoken with an in-house physician to gauge the volume, acuity, and what is expected of you. This information should be factored into your desire to take the position and how you will negotiate the terms of an agreement with an administrator.
Figure out malpractice insurance. It would be best to determine how malpractice insurance will be dealt with early. The facility should provide malpractice insurance if you agree to work as a W2 employee. Suppose you are contracting as a 1099 independent contractor. In that case, you must figure out if the facility is adding you to their policy or if you will have to get an individual policy. If you must get your own policy, you must find a broker/agent to work with or use one you already work with. If you are being added to the facility’s group policy or require a new policy, then start working on the paperwork to get something to cover you at this new facility. If you are going to use an existing individual malpractice policy, then verify with your malpractice carrier that they can provide coverage at your new facility. Even if you have to get a new malpractice policy, that can be accomplished in under 2-3 weeks with a good broker/agent. Be prepared to get “claims loss history” letters from previous malpractice carriers. There is much to understand about malpractice insurance, so please seek guidance or read more on FlexMedStaff.com.
Review Professional Services Agreement (PSA). In your initial discussions with the recruiter or administrator, ask to see their templated contract to review for any red flags or deal breakers. If they do not have a templated PSA, then use one of your own or one of them listed on FlexMedStaff.com.
Request Credentialing and Privileging Forms. If things are heading in the right direction, ask the facility to send you the credentialing paperwork to fill out. You can also ask for the person handling the credentialing process’s contact information. Even if you have not signed an agreement (PSA) with the facility, start filling out the paperwork, so this paperwork is done early to allow you to start on time without delay.
Convert DEA to a New State. If you need to and can, have your DEA license converted to the new state you hope to practice in. Converting your DEA to another state usually takes less than three weeks and can only be done if you have a medical license in that state.
Review and Sign the Final PSA. Once you have negotiated all terms and the PSA is good, take a final look at it before you sign. Have an attorney review it if you wish.
Verify completion of Credentialing. Keep in touch with staff from the facility about the status of your application to be credentialed at the facility.
Schedule Orientation. Verify with the facility when orientation will be completed. You can offer to do the orientation remotely if that works for them.
Request Contact Information. Before starting, ask the facility to provide phone numbers for each department and the cell phone numbers of other physicians, PAs, and NPs. They might need more time to get it to you, but they should have it before you start.
Make Travel Arrangements. If the facility is not local, make sure your travel plans are arranged.
Request to meet with IT Department. Request to meet with IT remotely to ensure that your laptop can install the hospital’s software and view the EMR remotely. If this cannot be done in advance, ensure a time is set to meet with IT once you are on campus.
Provide a Professional Photo. Make sure to provide a professional picture of yourself before starting to allow the facility’s security department to create your ID badge before you start.
Show up for your first day and see your first patient.
Don’t mess around! Taking early action and getting the process rolling will allow you to start at a new facility sooner than expected. Whether you are looking to start a new opportunity for full-time, part-time, per-diem moonlighting, or another role, it’s worth knowing that getting started in four weeks is possible if all items mentioned above are covered. Although this article focuses mainly on the role of physicians in starting a new position, the rate-limiting steps may depend on the facility’s willingness to move the process along. Not all facilities move as fast as others. That said, it’s worth recognizing that starting a new opportunity can be done in four weeks. It is very much possible to go from your initial conversations with a facility to seeing your first patient in four weeks. It can be done!