Sunday, September 10, 2006

Getting a license to practice medicine and a DEA number

9/4/2006 5:28 pm

Some of us have today off, being Labor Day and all. I am enjoying this breather after a heavy month on the Pediatric Wards. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE what I do and like many of you, I aspired for this 'dream life'. No regrets!

I also wanted to share the good news. As of August 2006, I am now a licensed physician. It is customary to put in an application at the end of internship for a license from the state where you are. This is not a training permit, but the real thing -- the license you will (if you continue to renew it) have for the rest of your working life. Well, after due process -- without any hitches, I was given a license.

After getting the license, I was able to apply for a DEA number. This is the number the Federal Government assigns to health professionals writing prescriptions for narcotics. The Drug Enforcement Agency uses this number to track licensed health professionals' prescription activity. Incidentally, most pharmacies will not fill ANY prescription written by you without this number, even if you are licensed. (Go figure!).

I understand that there are not many states that will issue a license to a foreign medical graduate after only one year of post-graduate training. I guess I am fortunate to be in one of those states.