Deal lets doctors renew licenses early in case of shutdown

Posted at 12:15 PM on June 23, 2011 by Paul Tosto (0 Comments)
Filed under: Health

You can't work as a doctor in Minnesota without a license and there's been worry that a state government shutdown would stop annual license renewals and force many doctors to stop practicing.

But MPR's Lorna Benson reports a deal is in place with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice that will help affected doctors avoid any lapses in their license coverage if a shutdown happens.

She writes:

The deal is being offered to doctors whose licenses expire during July, August or September.

Robert Leach, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, says the board will only be able to process online renewals for those months.

"What we will not be able to accomplish are those individuals who submit paper renewals because the office will be closed. And we will also not be able to process new applications."

Doctors must submit an online application by no later than noon on June 30 in order to complete the renewal process before a possible shutdown. There are more than 3,800 Minnesota physician licenses set to expire in July, August and September.

The Minnesota Medical Association still worries about a shutdown's potential effects on payments to doctors.

While state subsidized health care programs would continue, "payments to providers and vendors for services would be suspended," Dave Renner, director of state and federal legislation for the MMA, wrote last week.

"Current Medicaid managed care contracts between the state and health plans will terminate July 1 if there is no legislative appropriation; the health plans are awaiting guidance from the state."

Clinics that serve state funded health care for low income Minnesotans could end up "closing their doors or turning away patients," he added.

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