Sub Landing Page - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

Questions to Ask Regarding Physician Re-Entry After an Extended Leave of Absence

The Department of Anesthesia has the responsibility and authority, through its Director, for developing policies and procedures governing the provision of anesthesia services, including specifying the minimum qualifications for practitioners. These responsibilities and authority include developing criteria for determining the anesthesia service privileges to be granted to an individual practitioner and a procedure for applying the criteria to individuals requesting privileges, The MADOM and the QMDA Toolkit provide guidance, considerations and methods for the Director of Anesthesia Services to review when developing local policies that are most appropriate for the local environment of care and the patient populations served.  

The ASA frequently receives questions seeking guidance for maintenance and re-approval of privileges for practitioners following an absence from practice that may be of variable duration. The following is a preliminary collection of issues and sources to consider when developing a local policy that addresses these unique circumstances.

There are many reasons why a physician may need to take an extended absence from practice. The complexity of the re-entry process and the unique challenges you face may be mitigated by answering several questions and conducting research on the process. Additionally, you should check to see if your hospital or facility has its own existing rules regarding return to practice. One initial source to consider is the American Medical Association (AMA) website on Resources for Physicians Returning to Clinical Practice

Does ASA have a list of anesthesiology departments that offer re-entry programs?

The ASA does not have a list of anesthesia re-entry programs. However, we recommend that you contact the nearest anesthesia residency program or the program where you completed your residency for an individualized discussion of your options. For reference, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the Physician Re-Entry Into the Workforce Project maintain a list of re-entry programs. You can find additional information on the AMA Physician Re-Entry page and KSTAR Physician Resources.

How can my medical board help me?

We strongly encourage you to research whether your State Board of Medicine has a re-entry policy (30 boards do as of 2012). Your state medical board may be able to advise you on requirements related to education (reorientation), licensure, credentialing, privileging and other necessary documents.

What are some questions that I should be prepared to answer?

Although not an exhaustive list, physicians seeking re-entry should be able to answer the questions listed below. Questions should be informed upon how long you have been out of clinical practice.

1. When did I complete residency?
2. Am I Board certified?
3. Am I in Maintenance of Certification (MOCA)?
4. Is my state license current?
5. Why have I been out of practice?

What types of reorientation activities should I expect as part of the re-entry process?

Depending on your course of re-entry and the program that you enroll in, you may expect to complete a number of activities. Such activities may include: 1.) Classroom didactic work; 2.) Simulations; 3.) Clinical observations; 4.) Supervised one-on-one practice; 5.) Full clinical practice with an oversight plan; 6.) Functional independence; 7.Continuing Medical Education (CME). How quickly you move through these and other required stages may depend on the program, your competency and how long you may have been out of practice.

Are there financial resources available for me to access?

Financial resources for training and re-entry purposes will be dependent upon the re-entry program or facility assisting with your re-orientation. Approved place of residency or fellowship may be available in some instances. In other instances, the program may ask that, once you complete your course of study, you commit a certain amount of time to clinical care for that particular program or facility. Of course, the physician seeking re-entry should find out the expected cost of the program.

Where can I go to find more information about physician re-entry in general?

The American Medical Association (AMA) has a significant number of resources for your consideration. We also recommend recent publications from the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) regarding questions that boards expect to receive from physicians seeking to re-enter practice. we recommend reviewing a recent article in Medical Staff Briefing that describes how one medical school (Drexel University) approaches physician re-entry.

Quality and Regulatory Affairs may be contacted at (202) 289-2222 or by email at


Thank You Industry Supporters

Whose contributions allow the American Society of Anesthesiologists® to create world-class education and resources to improve patient care and outcomes.

Learn More