Many physicians wonder what they need to know about the Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS). The FCVS provides a permanent archive of physicians’ and physician assistants’ academic and professional records by maintaining a repository of these documents for you. By utilizing this service, you can avoid assembling all of your documents yourself every time you need to be licensed or credentialed. The FCVS also protects you in the event that an original record is somehow lost or destroyed. If you’ve had a hard time getting direct verification from your medical school, creating a profile with the FCVS can be especially helpful.
The beginning of FCVS
The FCVS has been around since 1996, when the Federation of State Medical Boards created it to provide hospitals, state medical boards and other health care entities like insurance providers with records of physicians’ core credentials. (Many hospital systems do, however, still require primary source verification of all documents.)
Taking advantage of the FCVS can significantly lessen the drudgery of licensing—making the process faster and less involved. The FCVS keeps the following core credentials on hand for you:
- Your identity
- Records from your medical education (this includes the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates certification, if it is applicable)
- Graduate medical education records
- Licensure examination history
- Disciplinary history
- ABMS Specialty board certification
Registration involves an application process that can take as long as six months, so it’s a good idea to create an FCVS profile long before you actually need it. Along with the application, you will need to submit a notarized certification of identify form with a copy of your passport or birth certificate. Physicians and PAs educated in the U.S. will need to submit a copy of their medical school diploma. International applicants will need to include copies of their U.S. training certificates, transcripts and mark sheets, ECFMG certificates, compulsory training certificates (if applicable) and medical diplomas. For both domestic and international graduates, it is helpful if you provide copies of your U.S. training certificates. All FCVS registrants must also provide affidavits, authorization forms and release forms, some of which require a notary and photo, which can now be accomplished via electronic notary services, available from the comfort and convenience of your home or office.
After FCVS has established your credentials profile, it is available for your use throughout your career.
Which states require applicants to use FCVS?
Several states require that board applicants use the FCVS. These states are Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New York (IMG only), Nevada (D.O. only), North Carolina (IMG only), Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah U.S. Virgin Islands and Wyoming. (The state medical boards of Arkansas and Puerto Rico neither require nor accept FCVS profiles for verification.)
The FCVS does not, however, cover all of the documents that many state medical boards require. These documents include:
- Letters of good standing from other state boards
- Letters of recommendation
- Military discharge papers (DD-214)
- DEA verification
- AMA/AOA profile
- NPDB/HIPDB profile
- AOA Specialty board certification verification letter
- Society membership verification letter
- Employment verification
- Hospital staff verification
- Malpractice insurance verification & claims history report
- Documentation of malpractice claims
Although the FCVS offers many desirable benefits, it does have a few drawbacks. It takes time and money to create an FCVS profile, and you have to pay a reduced fee each time you need access to your file. Because the FCVS excludes some documents, there are cases in which you still have to provide other records to gain licensure, even in states where an FCVS profile is required. Additionally, international students are responsible for gathering their medical school records if the FCVS can’t get hold of them.
Ultimately, the ease of applying to state medical boards with the use of an FCVS profile typically outweighs any of the initial costs. Seeking the services of the FCVS simplifies the process of applying to new state boards, and enables painless, cost-effective access to core medical credentials whenever you might need them.
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