Episode #2: How To Keep Your License Active If You Leave Medicine


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Do remember that day when you were granted your license to practice medicine? 


It’s a big deal to have an active medical license. And once it’s been retired or inactive for a period of time, it can be rather arduous, depending on the state, to get it back. 

In this episode, I interview Arnold Lorenzo, a medical licensing expert, who works for medicallicensing.com to talk about how to keep your license active if you decide to leave practice, whether for a nonclinical job, to take care of family, or for other reasons. 

What we’re talking about in this episode:

  • How to keep your license active if you do leave.
  • What some of the differences are among states for license renewal.
  • Some tips for making it easier to return to practice if you do leave.
  • The benefits of the interstate medical licensure compact. 

Links Mentioned:


Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

Federation of State Medical Boards ( FSMB)

KSTAR/UTMB Mini-residency reentry program

Arnold Lorenzo: 800-849-2168 or arnold@medicallicensing.com

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Heather Fork


  1. Mark Logan on October 22, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Heather

    Listened to this helpful podcast. I’m wondering about the discussion surrounding prescribing for family members under any circumstances. I’m under suspension in Vermont, for doing that.

  2. Arnold Lorenzo on October 22, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Hello Mark,

    That’s unfortunate that you got in trouble with the board for prescribing to family members. One of the things I try to stress to my doctors is that each state is different. Whenever you get licensed in a state, you need to familiarize yourself with their laws and rules governing the practice of medicine. Texas will actually have you sit for an exam to ensure that you know them. What’s legal and acceptable in Pennsylvania may not be in Vermont.

  3. Dr. Deepti Razdan on November 1, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    What is the fee for this service?

    • Heather Fork on November 2, 2020 at 12:17 am

      You can reach out to Arnold Lorenzo here to find out about the pricing for the various services:
      Arnold Lorenzo
      Licensing Sales Consultant
      (800) 849-2168 | medicallicensing.com

  4. Dr. Deepti Razdan on November 1, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Excellent work.

    • Heather Fork on November 2, 2020 at 12:16 am

      Thank you very much Dr. Deepti Razdan. It was great to have Arnold Lorenzo on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

  5. Dr. Jerry Wehr on November 5, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Great overview and good advice. Thanks for having such a knowledgeable quest.

    • Heather Fork on November 5, 2020 at 7:43 pm

      Awe! Happy to help Dr. Jerry Wehr! It’s fun to be able to bring on these knowledge experts and share their insights and advice. Thanks for being a listener!

  6. Ray Leo on November 8, 2020 at 7:33 am

    Outstanding, informative podcast episode and guest. I have not practiced in clinical medicine for years, yet I have maintained my Active physician license in Washington state by completing the required CME and paying for each renewal. Despite having the license and a clean past record, I have found the hardest sticking point in getting hired back into practice is that all of the employers I have contacted are associated with hospitals which won’t grant hospital privileges unless an applicant has actively practiced in the past 2 years… a Catch-22. Several times, I believe I was on the verge of being hired, and then they backed away for that reason only, because the hospital had that rigid rule in the bylaws. Is that a universal requirement now (2 years)? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t before my clinical practice was interrupted. In this podcast episode, Heather told a story of a physician who somehow was able to overcome that with good letters of recommendation and networking.

    • Heather Fork on November 8, 2020 at 7:19 pm

      Hello Dr. Leo, thank you for listening to the podcast and your very nice remarks. I was very happy to be able to host Arnold Lorenzo and thought he did an excellent job as well. I’m so sorry to hear about the Catch-22 situation you are in with not having been in clinical practice for a while. You are right, the hospital credentialing can be a big roadblock. Some physicians are able to find another physician (often who knows them) who is willing to function in the role of preceptor to review their charts and oversee patient care for a period of time. You may need to pay the preceptor for this kind of arrangement. There are also some reentry programs where you can have the chance to practice clinically in a supervised setting. These are not inexpensive and there can be a waitlist. I mentioned the UTMB/Kstar program. I will link to my reentry blog below that mentions this program and other resources. The 2 years time window is not a universal requirement that I know of but in general, this is the time window when it becomes much harder to get back into practice. It can be shorter for surgical specialties. I might try to focus on seeing if you can find a clinic where you can get back into patient care with supervision. You could also see if any of the places that you were close to getting hired could give you an idea of what you would need to do to satisfy their requirements for getting hired. Wishing you good luck. Please keep us posted. https://doctorscrossing.com/leaving-medicine-and-reentry-know-before-you-go/

      • Ray Leo on November 12, 2020 at 3:22 pm

        Thank you, Heather.

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Tim O

The coaching I have had with you has been life changing."

You helped me find the courage to seek out leadership positions and become a medical director as well as a physician advisor. I am grateful we crossed paths and am a different person because of it. You have inspired me to "believe" in spite of my inner skeptic. I consider you one of my most important mentors and am proud to also call you a friend. This says a lot given the apprehension I felt when I took a chance with our first coaching session. Even though I have already made a successful transition, I still value your ongoing mentorship and can enthusiastically attest that the value of your services is tremendous!

- Tim Owolabi, MD

Family Medicine
Lynette Charity

“I was at a crossroads in my medical career. I asked myself, "Do I stay or do I go?" 

I met Heather at the SEAK conference. She and I revisited this question.  Did I want to quit being medicine completely? She helped me to identify my needs, wants, and my vision for my FUTURE, not just in medicine, but in life!!!

She was able to listen to my "ramblings" about becoming a stand-up comic, lounge singer and voice-over actor and translate them into action steps.  I chose to become a composite of all of these. Now I am a more confident, healthier, happier person. I credit this in its entirety to the tutelage I have received and continue to receive from Heather.  She cares. She listens. She was there for ME.  She will be there for YOU!

- Lynette Charity, MD

Gail Miller

“I am forever grateful to Heather for helping me to recognize, I am more than just my M.D." 

Heather helped me understand that I am more than just a doctor and that my experiences in clinical medicine are valuable in so many arenas.  As a result I realized that there are other ways to use my background, still be able to help people and continue to challenge myself and grow.  To that end I discovered coaching - specifically health coaching.  I am on my journey becoming a health coach and truly loving it!

- Gail Miller, MD

OB/Gyn physician

“Thank you, Heather, for helping me transform my career, my faith and my life."

What started out as an initial thirty-minute consultation call turned into an amazing four-year journey that transformed my life, personally, spiritually and professionally. 

Heather helped me to discover my passions...by doing so, I discovered I still had a calling for medicine but it now came from a place of truth...

Today...my wife and I are opening our first concierge medicine clinic in a community we love. I’m actually excited to have the opportunity to practice medicine the way I believe it’s meant to be, with a focus on the doctor-patient relationship and an emphasis on faith. I know if I had not reached out to Dr. Fork, my life would not be where it is at today.

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Papillion, NE
Sue Zimmermann

“Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart."

She is incredibly knowledgeable about the range of careers available to physicians and provided me with advice and connections which I would not have found on my own.  From the start she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I was laid off unexpectedly in early 2017, and Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart and making decisions based on trust, not fear.  Now I am enjoying working part-time in a clinical setting in addition to teaching and writing.

- Sue Zimmermann, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon
Devki Patel

After months of struggling to find a non-clinical career that matched my values and passion, I stumbled upon Heather's website which truly changed my life."

Heather's insightful and personalized approach to career coaching made me think outside the box since she took the time to evaluate my personality, values, interests, and preferred lifestyle.

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- Devki Patel, MD

Jay Macregor

Working with Heather ultimately helped me leave my job in corporate healthcare and find a path that was much more fulfilling."

My career was going reasonably well but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling I could do better; or at least find a better long-term career fit.  

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If you are reading this as a “Type A” surgeon who doesn’t think coaching is for you, I would encourage you to give Heather a shot.  I’m very glad I did!

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Colorectal Surgeon

“I gained the confidence in myself to develop an action plan that blended the best parts of my experiences and interests into a cohesive career." 

Through our work, I learned to trust myself to make good decisions for my own future – something I hadn’t realized I was struggling with because as an emergency physician, I make life-changing decisions with patients every day. 

By feeding my creativity and interests in other realms of my professional life, I’ve found renewed compassion for my patients and myself, making every shift an opportunity to actually care for people. Thank you Heather. I really couldn’t have made these changes without your help!

- Liz McMurtry, DO

Emergency Medicine Physician

The simple truth is - Heather Fork totally helped me change my life."

I never would have had the courage to make the changes I’ve made without her unwavering support, wealth of knowledge and commitment. 

When I first started working with Heather, I was downtrodden...I’d been practicing medicine for 20+ years and yet had never quite found my place.  During the first year I worked with Heather, I left the practice I’d been working at, and recreated an entirely new professional purpose.

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- Amie Langbein, DO

Family Physician
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"After 30 years in academic medicine, I wanted a career change but had no idea where to start. Medicine was all I knew."

I signed up for coaching with Heather and it transformed my life. She helped me get clear on what I wanted my life to look like. We reviewed my skills, values, and strengths. She instilled hope in me that change IS possible after 50 years! 

The outcome is that I have created a life I love! I practice endocrinology part-time and own a life coaching business! Coaching with Heather is one of the best investments I have made in my life. 

- Karen Barnard, MBBCh, MPH

Endocrinologist and Life Coach

"Heather’s approach was great! She would listen to me and helped me appreciate who I am."

I remember when she said ‘do your resume before our next meeting’, I was about to push back but she gently nudged me along and I’m glad I did exactly what she wanted me to do. We also did interview prep via Zoom and I was offered a great job in UM. She has continued to follow up even after I was offered this job, helping me with pointers about negotiating. I will totally recommend the Doctors Crossing and Heather to anyone feeling stuck like me and looking for a great coach! Thank you Heather!

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Family Medicine