The quality and safety of patient care are significantly impacted by the accurate credentialing of healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, this process can be both daunting and time-consuming for professionals and organizations alike. However, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) offers a solution to this problem: FCVS.
FCVS not only lessens the load on healthcare professionals but also standardizes the credentialing format. This standardization allows organizations and institutions to examine and validate credentials more efficiently and with fewer errors.
In this article, we will delve into the process of creating a profile, as well as the associated costs and tips to navigate the process effectively. Let's dive in.
Demystifying Federation Credentials Verification Service
The Federation Credentials Verification Service serves as a valuable resource for healthcare professionals by offering a centralized and secure database of primary-source verified credentials for physicians that can be accessed economically whenever needed. Although FCVS can sometimes lead to confusion and queries, it is a crucial tool for medical licensing.
In essence, FCVS aids state medical boards and healthcare organizations in validating and storing the credentials of healthcare professionals. It streamlines the credential confirmation process, lessening the administrative burden on state medical boards and healthcare organizations while providing safe and centralized storage for verified medical credentials.
Physicians and physician assistants can also take advantage of this service, as it enables them to store core credentials, exam scores, and postgraduate training information conveniently. It is particularly helpful for those applying for licenses in multiple states simultaneously, as well as for physicians who studied medicine outside the United States.
Registering with the service is a straightforward process. Healthcare professionals need to complete an online application, submit their supporting documents, and pay a fee. Once the credentials are verified and stored, you can authorize it to release your data to state medical boards or healthcare organizations as needed.
Key FCVS Information for Physicians and PAs
It is essential to understand that your profile stores only limited core credentials, such as:
- medical school information,
- identity information (passport, birth certificate),
- exam scores,
- postgraduate training information.
Other state-required documents, like profiles, license verifications, employment endorsement, and malpractice/adverse action documentation, are NOT included.
Many physicians are surprised that FCVS does not store all the information typically needed for a medical license application. This limited range of information stored in the profile often results in longer application times and more comprehensive paperwork requirements.
Getting Ready for FCVS
The preparation for the application entails gathering the necessary documents and understanding the timeline of the application process. This involves
- Transcripts or a medical diploma from a medical school.
- Certificates of training or a letter of good standing.
- Verification from the state medical board where you are licensed.
- Personal identification documents.
Assuming that having an FCVS profile will speed up your medical licensure process is not always correct. The average processing time for initial applications is 45 days or less. For subsequent applications, processing time averages 20 days. Remember that not all states necessitate or even accept FCVS profiles.
The duration of the application process can differ depending on the documentation's completeness and the primary sources' response time.
The FCVS Credentialing Journey
Let’s take a closer look at the credentialing process, along with the documents needed. So, to establish a verified credentials portfolio, the FCVS team collaborates with relevant education and training institutions. Additionally, the service accepts electronic transcripts from Credentials Solutions, Inc., Scrip-Safe, Parchment, and the National Student Clearinghouse.
If your medical school is a participant, you can order medical education transcripts and designate the Federation Credentials Verification Service as the recipient.
Once all information is collected, the completed portfolio undergoes a thorough quality assurance review to ensure it meets the requirements. Any discrepancies between the application and the primary source information are reported to the designated entities.
The final result is an unbiased Physician or Physician Assistant information profile, sent to your chosen entities.
FCVS obtains primary source verification of the following credentials:
- Certification of Identification Form (CID)
- Copy of Birth Certificate or Passport
- Medical Education
Official medical education transcript
Certified medical degree diploma
Fifth Pathway, if applicable
- Postgraduate Training (US and Canada - accredited only)
- Licensure Examination History
United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Steps 1, 2, 3
National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) Parts 1, 2, 3 / COMLEX USA
Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC)
Any qualified predecessor licensing exams (FLEX, NMBE, etc.)
- ECFMG Certification Status Report
- Licensure History
Is FCVS Mandatory for all State Medical Boards?
The requirement depends on the state licenses you are applying for, whether you are an MD or DO, and if you are a foreign medical graduate. Several states actually mandate the use of the FCVS:
- Maine (MD only)
- New Hampshire
- New York (IMG)
- Nevada (DO only)
- North Carolina (IMG)
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Utah (DO only)
- U.S. Virgin Islands
FCVS vs. Traditional Credentialing
FCVS and traditional credentialing have distinct differences: FCVS offers a centralized, online platform for storing verified credentials, while conventional credentialing involves individual healthcare organizations or state medical boards verifying and storing credentials. Furthermore, FCVS employs primary source verification, obtaining information directly from the issuing institution, while conventional credentialing may rely on self-reported data or non-primary source verification. Let’s break down the key benefits:
- Simplified process: stores and verifies credentials in one centralized location, streamlining the verification process for state medical boards and healthcare organizations.
- Time efficiency: saves your time by reducing the need to request and submit duplicate credentialing information to multiple organizations.
- Transferability: maintains verified credentials throughout your career, regardless of state or employer changes.
However, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Let's examine some drawbacks:
- Expense: imposes a fee, whereas traditional credentialing might be free.
- Narrow scope: verifies specific credentials, such as medical education, training, licensure, and professional work history. Conventional credentialing may encompass a wider range of credential verification.
- Reliance on primary sources: heavily depends on the promptness and accuracy of primary sources, like medical schools and licensing boards, for credential validation. Delays or inaccuracies can impact the overall timeline.
Learn more about Top Credentialing Mistakes to Avoid for a Seamless Journey
Is FCVS Worth It?
FCVS is essential for international medical graduates, physicians who completed closed residency programs, all physicians applying for state licenses where it's required, and those planning to work locum tenens across multiple states.
Keep in mind that even if you don’t fall into any of the categories mentioned above, having a profile usually accelerates the licensing application process compared to not having one.
FCVS Fees and Payment
The initial application fee for physicians covers portfolio creation and sending one profile to a recipient, with a base fee of $395. Extra fees may apply for examination transcripts, ECFMG certification (if applicable), and other miscellaneous costs and vary depending on the state board to which the profile will be sent.
For subsequent profiles, a fee of $99 per profile plus any applicable charges are required. Additional physician profiles cost $65 each when requested simultaneously with an initial or subsequent application.
As physician assistant verifications are less comprehensive than physician verifications, the initial application fee is lower, with a base fee of $170. This fee includes portfolio creation and sending one profile to a recipient.
For subsequent profiles, a fee of $65 per profile plus any applicable charges are required. Additional physician assistant profiles cost $65 each when requested simultaneously with an initial or subsequent application.
Other Fee Information and Policies
- Application Fee
The mailed application will be charged an extra $100 processing fee. (While the online submitting is completely free)
- ECFMG Medical Education Verification Fee
A one-time fee of $75 is required for all international graduates to cover ECFMG charges for primary source medical education verifications provided to FCVS.
- ECFMG Certification Status Report Fee
For applicants certified by ECFMG, a state-specific ECFMG Certification Status Report is included in each profile sent to a state board (excluding Maryland). This report is valid for one year from the issue date and costs $66 per state board designation.
- NPDB Fee
Several state medical boards have designated FSMB as an authorized agent to request an NPDB report on their behalf, reducing time and costs. Each profile delivered to a participating board includes a unique one-time NPDB report. The non-refundable fee for this service is $3.50 per report and is included in the invoice.
- Cancellation Policy
As a significant portion of application processing occurs immediately after applications are received, no refunds will be granted after five business days or once a profile has been completed. In all cancellation cases, a $50 processing fee applies.
Applications are processed in full, and you receive an electronic version of your Medical Professional Profile, but you don’t have to send it to any organization immediately. It's a fast and convenient way to ensure that your credentials are verified and organized, even if you haven't decided on a specific career path yet. Note, that additional fees apply.
FCVS Resources and Support
Online Portal: Healthcare professionals can create an account, submit documents, and monitor their credentialing progress through the FCVS online portal.
Customer Support: Via phone and email, FCVS offers customer support to assist healthcare professionals with questions or issues during the process.
FAQs: The Federation of State Medical Boards website features an extensive FAQ section addressing common questions about credential verification and using FCVS.
Resource Library: The FSMB website also offers a wealth of resources, including guides, checklists, and other helpful materials for healthcare professionals.
Strategies for a Successful FCVS Application
Submit Your Application Early
The credentialing process relies on the prompt and complete responses of medical schools and training programs. FCVS advises finishing your application at least two months before you need it submitted to the state medical board for licensure.
State Licensure Applications
The FCVS application is NOT the same as an application for state licensure. FCVS does not grant medical licenses. Only state licensing authorities perform this function. Each state licensing authority will most likely require additional information.
Application Documents and Forms
The Affidavit & Release and Certification of Identification forms can be submitted electronically using an online E-Notary service or mailed to FCVS if using a traditional notary service. All other necessary forms and documents can be scanned and uploaded as part of your application. Release forms must be provided before the requests can be initiated.
Diploma Image Requirements
FCVS requires that you submit a photocopy of your diploma sized 8.5" x 11". Options for reducing your diploma to this size include:
- Many universities offer to replace your diploma with a smaller size for a nominal fee. Contact your school’s Office of the Registrar to determine if your university provides this service.
- FedEx provides services that include scanning to reduce your larger format documents. Most FedEx locations can scan documents up to 36” wide and not mounted or framed.
Editing a Submitted Application
You can edit your application at any time. If you modify your information while your application is being processed, the new information will not be updated on the current application until you inform FCVS of the changes.
Contact a Customer Support Representative at 888-ASK-FCVS Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST for assistance if you wish to add, correct, or delete any information in your application.
Application Status Communication
Email is the main mode of communication between the service and the applicant. You will receive email notifications with status updates on your application's progress.
To prevent emails from being marked as spam, add email@example.com to your email address book.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Your FCVS Profile
Setting up a profile can be difficult, particularly if you have international medical school records. If FCVS cannot obtain your medical school records, you are responsible for assisting them or approving an incomplete profile. However, in such cases, state medical boards may still require direct-source validation of your medical education.
Many physicians are unaware of this and approve their incomplete profile, only to later discover that they are responsible for verifying their international credentials with individual state boards.
Before creating a profile, it is crucial to understand the requirements of each state where you plan to hold a medical license. For instance, California accepts FCVS profiles but still requires state-specific forms to be sent to the medical school and postgraduate training program(s), making the use of FCVS pointless.
Enhance Credential Management with Credsy
While FCVS is an excellent service for healthcare professionals looking to simplify their credentialing process, Credsy offers extra advantages for further enhancing credential management.
- Real-time license and credentials status tracking
While FCVS provides a standardized application process and repository for healthcare professionals' credentials, it lacks the same degree of real-time tracking and resource optimization that Credsy offers.
- Transparency and accountability in the licensure and credentialing process
This level of visibility is particularly beneficial for organizations managing numerous healthcare professionals and credentials. In contrast, FCVS does not provide the same level of transparency and reporting as Credsy.
- Unique fingerprinting service
With us, the number of times a healthcare professional needs to be fingerprinted is significantly reduced, minimizing delays and resource waste due to repetitive fingerprinting. FCVS, however, does not provide a fingerprinting service at all.
- CME credits management
Credsy helps healthcare professionals stay updated with their continuing education requirements. We integrate with various sources to ensure that healthcare professionals have access to the most current information on regulatory changes and compliance standards. This feature is not available through FCVS.
Learn more about CME Requirements for Physicians & Physician Assistants
Contact us to learn more about how we can be beneficial in your specific case.
FAQs about FCVS and Credentialing
What is FCVS?
The Federation Credentials Verification Service is a centralized, secure, and portable solution for healthcare professionals and organizations to verify and maintain credentials.
Why is FCVS important?
FCVS is important because it streamlines the credentialing process and provides a secure and portable repository for verified credentials. This can help healthcare professionals achieve their professional goals, such as medical licensure and career advancement.
Who can use FCVS?
FCVS is available to healthcare professionals who have completed medical education or training and who are seeking to verify their credentials for licensure, employment, or other purposes.
How do I register with FCVS?
To register with FCVS, healthcare professionals can create an account on the FCVS website and follow the instructions for submitting documentation and completing the process.
What are the documents that I will have to submit for the FCVS application?
The documents required for providers to submit include a Name Document (e.g. Passport, Birth Certificate, Marriage/Divorce Certificate), Medical School Diploma, and PGT Certificate. You will also need to provide an Affidavit and Certification of Identification.
How long does the FCVS application process take?
The timeline for the FCVS application process can vary depending on the specific requirements and timeline of the healthcare professional's state medical board or organization. However, healthcare professionals should plan ahead and allow for potential delays in the process.
What are some potential challenges and limitations of the FCVS?
It's important to keep in mind that there may be some potential challenges and limitations. For example, some schools may not be able to provide verification, such as those that closed down years ago or those located in countries with poor relations with the US and its agencies. In addition, some states may require additional verification that the FCVS cannot obtain, such as full school verification for licensure purposes in states like NY and TX.
Other potential challenges may include delays, limited acceptance, and cost. However, these challenges can be overcome by planning ahead, following up, and researching alternative options.
What are some alternative options to FCVS?
Alternative options to FCVS may include traditional credentialing, state-specific services, and third-party services. Healthcare professionals should research and consider the specific needs and requirements of their state medical board or organization when selecting a credential verification option.
How does FCVS help with medical licensure?
FCVS can help with medical licensure by providing a secure and portable repository for verified credentials, which can streamline the licensure application process and help healthcare professionals meet the specific requirements of their state medical board.
What are the FCVS requirements for medical licensure?
The specific FCVS requirements for medical licensure may vary depending on the healthcare professional's state medical board. However, common requirements may include verification of medical education and training, clinical experience, and professional credentials.
What are some tips for successful medical licensure with FCVS?
Some tips for successful medical licensure with FCVS may include planning ahead, following up on your status, utilizing available resources and support, and researching the specific requirements of the healthcare professional's state medical board.
What are the FCVS participating state medical boards for physicians?
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine (Medical), Massachusetts, Nevada (Osteo), New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah (Medical), Utah (Osteo), the Virgin Islands, and Wyoming require FCVS profiles for all applicants for licensure.
Maine (Medical) requires verification of postgraduate training programs performed in England, Ireland, and Scotland.
Michigan (Medical) requires IMGs seeking licensure by endorsement to have an existing license from another U.S. jurisdiction.
New York and North Carolina require FCVS profiles for IMGs.
North Carolina also requires FCVS profiles for physicians with an established FCVS profile.