This is important: Avoid making new license applications while you are under investigation

If your license to practice medicine, nursing, or pharmacy is under investigation and you know some form of discipline or sanction will soon be imposed, it is only human nature to consider your options. One common mistake, however, is to apply for a new license in a second state before the investigation in the first state closes. The rational may be that you need a fall back position, or that you are tired of the Oregon rain, or that it is time to move back home to be closer to family. These are all explanations I have heard.

What you need to know

What you need to know is that after you are disciplined by one state, that discipline will become public record, and it will become known to any other state in which you are licensed, and – this is important – the other states will open mirror image investigations, and may impose discipline. In effect, an investigation by one state will open an investigation in every other state in which you are licensed. Hopefully, these will be “small fires” to put out, but why risk it unless application for the new license is absolutely necessary.

There can be harsh consequences for making this mistake

As I write this post, I can think of two physicians who obtained new medical licenses in second states unaware of that the new state medical boards will open they own investigations. Yes, the problem can be managed, but it is painful to note that in each case, neither physician ever practiced or even applied for a position in the second state. It was simply a backup plan that was not given much thought, and was never implemented, but it cost the physician a second investigation.

My typical advice

In most cases, my typical advice is to not to apply for a new license in a second state unless and until the investigation in the first state is closed, or well under control, or the outcome is known, and the consequences of the second state’s investigation are understood. If there are extenuating circumstances, be sure to make your decision knowing all the possible legal consequences, and do not make this decision without first seeking competent legal advice.