Streamlining medical licensing across states
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Streamlining medical licensing across states

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | July 07, 2014
Lisa Robin
The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is currently working on a medical licensure compact that would make it easier to license physicians who practice in multiple states. The FSMB drafting team will meet this month to write the third draft of the compact.

The compact can help with the current physician workforce shortage and also increase the use of telemedicine technologies. Telemedicine is becoming more widely used across state lines and its use is expected to increase in the future, especially in rural parts of the U.S.

“For all of these reasons, the states recognized that there was a need to look at our current system of state-based licensure and see where we could make it more efficient for physicians wanting to practice in multiple states,” Lisa Robin, chief advocacy officer of FSMB, told DOTmed News.

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Right now, physician licensing is administered by each state separately, and if a physician wants more than one license, they have to go through multiple licensure processes. The interstate compact would streamline those processes, said Robin.

“I think for physicians wishing to either provide telemedicine services or a system that requires them to provide services in a number states, that process would be administratively much less complex and time-consuming,” she said.

In January, a bipartisan group of 16 U.S. Senators wrote a letter to commend state medical boards and the FSMB for the compact.

When a physician wants to obtain a license through the compact, they must already have a full and unrestricted medical license in one of the compact states. They can apply through that state for expedited licensure for other compact states they want to get a license in.

The medical board for the state that the physician already has a license in will attest to their eligibility and forward the information to the compact administrator, which acts as a clearinghouse. The physician pays the applicable fees to the administrator and the application is given to the state boards which issue the license with all the rights and privileges of a traditional full and unrestricted license.

The idea for the compact started in April 2013 when FSMB’s House of Delegates unanimously passed a resolution that called for the organization to “aggressively explore” creating an interstate compact to improve license portability.

The organization brought representatives from its member board together to discuss how to move the project forward, and then put together a task force in September 2013 to outline the compact. At the same time, they also worked with the Council of State Governments to guide the process and help facilitate the project.

In fall 2013, a small group of representatives from state medical boards, FSMB’s legal team, and the Council of State Governments met as a drafting team to draft the first model legislation. By January 2014, they had the initial draft distributed to their medical boards and other stakeholders for feedback, and then once the comments were received and considered, they distributed another draft in early May.

The comments have been received and the drafting team is meeting this month to create the final draft. Robin anticipates that the compact will be ready for consideration by state legislators by 2015.

“We believe that the compact is certainly a move that will be well-received by medical professionals,” Robin said.

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