CONTACT: Press Inquiries
(480) 551-2713
DATE: February 28, 2003

Scottsdale, Ariz. -- In a time of budget cuts and rising deficits, the Arizona Medical Board is doing the unexpected - it’s adding services to new licensees at no extra cost. Best of all, physicians applying for a license to practice medicine in Arizona are getting their money’s worth.

The Arizona Medical Board issues thousands of physician and physician assistant licenses and permits each year. What few know is that there are just a handful of people committed to processing licensing applications to such a degree of detail and accuracy that they are confident the Arizona Medical Board only licenses those physicians and physician assistants who are competent and safe to practice medicine. A breakdown of the licenses issued in fiscal year 2002 by 7 licensing technicians and one administrator is as follows:

  • M.D. Licenses Issued: 1,018
  • P.A. Active Licenses Issued: 182
  • P.A. Temporary Licenses Issued: 45
  • Resident Permits Issued: 980
  • Miscellaneous Licenses Issued: 76
  • Dispensing Certificates Issued: 508

What makes this information special is not the number of licenses that are issued each year, but the remarkable timeframes in which the licenses are processed and given to physicians and physician assistants. In past years, the average timeframe to issue a license was 120 days. Now, due to process reorganization and proactive measures, the timeframe has been reduced to an average of 60 days. Additionally, the Board set a new record this year by processing and issuing a license in just three days and has the capability of continuing this remarkable transformation.

The licensing transformation was relatively simple and added no extra licensing fees. The Board’s licensing staff now processes on-line verifications for documents physicians and physician assistants often have difficulty obtaining. These verifications include: the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), American Medical Association (AMA) physician profiles, and Federation of State Medical Board (FSMB) disciplinary searches. Additionally, the licensing staff can verify other state licenses on-line, as well as National Practitioner Data Bank and Healthcare Integrity and Protection Databank searches, which held up the licensing process in the past.

The Licensing staff also goes the extra mile to ensure rapid licensing, support the licensing needs of rural areas and to provide excellent customer satisfaction. Some of the proactive measures the Board took to meet these goals are as follows:

  • Deficiency letters are sent to physicians and physician assistants who have not provided all required documents with the licensing applications. Over the last three years, the Board has sent these letters within 30 days, 100% of the time.
  • Realizing the need for healthcare providers in rural areas, the Board will expedite licensing applications when requested.
  • With each license issued, the Board sends the licensee a customer satisfaction survey card. On average, the licensing staff obtains a 92% customer satisfaction rating for their excellent work. Some of the comments received on the surveys include:

    • “The application is simple and quick. When I have to call your office, the staff is always helpful.”
    • “I am stationed overseas the staff bent over backwards to ensure a timely renewal.”
    • “I was impressed by the fast response.”
    • “I am licensed in AL & TX but this was by far the smoothest. Thank you so much.

    Finally, staff added a separate component to the licensing process that improves public access to licensing documents. Over the last two years, the Board scanned over 15,000 physician and over 900 physician assistant licensing files. These scanned documents make record retrieval a simple and fast process that can be performed by any member of the Board’s staff. Additionally, these electronic files are easily and automatically archived according to the State’s record retention policy.

    In summary, with the implementation of a few proactive and forward-thinking actions, the Arizona Medical Board was able to cut its licensing timeframes in half. It is a system that proves big results can be achieved with few resources.

For more information on the Arizona Medical Board or to view the Board’s most recent publication, The Arizona Medical Digest, visit the Board’s website at