3 Complexities of Operating as a Medical Services Provider in the US

As organizations expand across state lines, and throughout the country, it can quickly become apparent that operating across the US is extremely complex and requires expert knowledge of the system. Keeping up with the regulations, licenses, and requirements that each state has is a time consuming and often confusing task.

Becoming licensed to operate as a medical services provider within the US starts by determining the level of medical provider to employ, whether that be an EMT, paramedic, nurse, PA, nurse practitioner, or MD.  It is also necessary to decide if they will work out of a clinic or determine if they need medical oversight or medical direction, and have treatment protocols in place for them to follow.

From those three decisions, the multitude of state-specific licensing requirements begin to take shape for the medical providers, the agency and/or clinic, and the medical director.  There are multiple kinds of licenses that may be required for health care providers to obtain, and each state often has their own requirements when it comes to which licenses are required, and how to obtain them.

Different Licenses are Required to Operate

Each state has their own medical and EMS boards that decide how health care companies work in their state, and what steps and procedures are necessary for them to obtain a license. Due to this, there are three different kinds of licenses that a company may need to be able to operate within a state. Some states may ask that the medical director of the company is licensed to practice within that particular state, since the role of the medical director is to ensure the continued competency of nationally registered EMT personnel by validating their skills. Another possible requirement is that the health care company’s Medical Director is also licensed within the state. Since the MD oversees all manner of medical care that is provided under the required license, while nurses, EMTs, and paramedics can only practice medicine under a supervised and licensed MD. Each of these licenses can be difficult to obtain in some states that have more strict regulations and requirements.

Different States have Different Licenses

Some states within the US have little requirements for health care providers operating within the state. Sometimes getting licensed can be as simple as requiring the EMT to be nationally registered, which does not require any kind of state licenses, and helps make the process much simpler and expedited. As simple as that may be, it is not always the case across the board—there are some states that require multiple licenses just get your foot in the door. On top of that, states can administer their own exams, inspections, in-person interviews, proof of training and education and any other extra steps necessary that the state may see fit.

For example, West Virginia is difficult to become properly licensed in. Licenses are required for the provider and the medical director, as well as agency licenses. Whereas most states allow you to take EMS exams online, West Virginia requires EMTs to take the exam locally. Additionally, the state conducts multiple inspections for the equipment and medications that are to be provided for work each site, and sometimes require a follow up inspection to ensure consistent quality, before being approved.  

Operating Capacity Matters

Some states require multiple licenses for EMTs, medical directors, and other health care professionals to operate within the state as a medical provider. Additionally, which licenses are required can also depend on what kind of capacity you will be operating. There are licenses for first aid capabilities, but something more serious, such as advanced life support (ALS), requires a different license and training. This is because ALS goes beyond standard first aid procedures that usual on-site medical staff and HSE personnel are trained for. While first aid certification typically extends to administering CPR and calling for an ambulance in case of an emergency, ALS procedures are administered by properly trained professionals in situations where the injured employee has sustained life-threatening injuries which may require the medical provider to administer IVs, medication, or cardiac defibrillation. Without proper training and certification, on-site medical staff may not be able to legally operate and administer the proper immediate medical attention an injured employee may need on-site.

It can be crucial to have trained on-site personnel be ALS certified to prevent accidents, further injuries, and possibly lawsuits. If a first-aid certified HSE personnel administered medical attention to an injured employee on a job site outside the scope of first-aid procedures, there is a risk of potentially causing further injury due to the lack of proper training and certification by the HSE personnel, which could lead to expensive lawsuits for the company.

Remote Medical International takes pride in being licensed to operate in over 30 states as an occupational healthcare provider. We take our time to understand all state and federal laws in order to ensure we can effectively provide the proper health care for your organization’s needs as we expand our capabilities across the country. We thoroughly vet local clinics for your operation to ensure that the our medical providers have the proper licenses and understand local laws and regulations, so we can provide the most effective on-site healthcare services while minimizing risk and reducing recordables.

If you’re planning to provide medical services for your workforce in multiple states, Remote Medical International can help. Contact us today for more information.

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