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Keeping It Together

It’s about that time of year when senior residents are accepting their first jobs and getting ready to kick ass.  I remember being shocked when I started residency by how much paperwork and administrative requirements there were as a resident.  Bad news, it actually gets worse: between keeping your state license(s), DEA license, bls/acls/pals/atls, hospital credentialing, and on and on and on.  The only way to keep from becoming a raving lunatic bent on anarchy is to become really organized so that it doesn’t dominate your life.  Okay, residents you are about to go through the process so listen up, here are a few tricks I have learned to cope with the bureaucracy.

  • First, find acceptance.  Sure I rant and rave, but it never gets me anywhere and only makes me feel worse so try not to do it (sometimes you just can’t help it, but try).
  • Get your credentials verified over at the FEDERATION CREDENTIALS VERIFICATION SERVICE (FCVS).  At some point you will want to move, or get a second state license, and this service will get all of your basic credentials verified and stored in one place and then keep them available for whomever you want to send them to.  Sure you could get each piece of your medical training history from the USMLE to your MD diploma, to your ABEM credentials over and over and over for each application, but why would you want to.
  • Scan all your credentialing documents and put them in a Google documents or Dropbox account.  By my count I have 21 separate pieces of paper that a hospital credentialing person may want at any given moment to complete my application.  I remember how the gloom would spread over my day as I contemplated having to go home, find the document, find a fax machine, find the fax number, send it, and then call the next day to see if they got it.  Now multiply that by a dozen times or so during the process, and you can get pretty frustrated.
  • Dropbox is a free and invaluable cloud storage locker.  Scan your documents once, upload them to Dropbox (keeping them safe from harm or getting lost), and now whenever someone asks for a copy of your DEA license or ATLS, you just email the link to them and your all done. Nothing is more satisfying than getting an urgent note from a credentialing person about how they don’t have a copy of your medical school diploma, tapping on your iPhone once or twice, and then getting back to your coffee and your book and forgetting about it.

Desktop image of all my credentials on Dropbox

  • Set up reminders in your calendar six months before something expires so you can make a plan to get it renewed.  You know how quickly a couple of years can go by.  Most credentials require renewal, there are a lot of them, and the list continues to grow, so stick it in your calendar and plan ahead.  You don’t want to find out that you can’t get your hospital credentials renewed unless you take that ACLS course on the only day you have off with your wife.  I promise you it will happen.
  • Plan for the expense and keep a list of all your receipts.  As a doctor there is no end to the number of people who want to get between you and your money (for your own good of course) in the credentialing world.  Doctors are easy targets.  75 dollars here, 300 dollars there, it adds up.  At least you can claim some of it as a tax deduction.  I’m not a tax expert so I won’t talk about what and how much, but just keep the receipts.

Now, I’m not the most organized person in the world ,so if you are, and you have some more advanced techniques in this area of an EM doc’s life please, please share your knowledge here in the comments or visit us on Facebook and leave your pearls of wisdom there.  Thanks.

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