How Can I Check a Physician's Medical License?

1.

Contact the hospital in your community where the physician sees patients, and ask to speak to a staff person in the credentialing office. All hospitals check a physician's education, training, certification and licensure before offering admitting privileges, or choosing him to be part of the hospital staff. Although some hospitals will only provide limited information about a physician on staff, such as license status or if he has had any disciplinary action, the hospital is usually a good starting place, since the hospital staff have already done the research about the physician's medical license and training.

2.

Contact your state medical board to check a physician's medical license. Administrators in Medicine, the professional association representing the executive directors of all state medical boards, has a complete directory of state medical and osteopathic boards on its website. Most state medical boards offer search tools on their websites that allow you to look up a physician's licensure information, education, training, certification, malpractice claims and disciplinary actions; the Administrators in Medicine site features links to all state medical board websites.

3.

Check with your state department of health. Although a state's medical board will issue a license to practice medicine as well as regulate the practice of medicine within state boundaries, some state departments of health manage the actual licensing process. Visit your state's department of health website and check the professional licensure section to check a physician's medical license.

4.

Use an internet-based physician reporting service, such as HealthGrades, to check a physician's medical license. Internet sites that offer complete reports about a physician's licensure and training have sprung up in recent years, offering patients easy access to information. Note that these sites charge a fee for the reports, which mostly contain information that is freely available from state medical boards or state departments of health.

Checking a physician's medical license is usually part of a process that a patient undertakes when she begins seeing a new doctor or has concerns about a doctor's practice. Although information about a doctor's board certifications, training, education and areas of specialization is readily available from the doctor's office staff, checking his license requires a bit of additional research.