FSMB Issues Model Legislation for Physician Licensure Compact

September 8, 2014 in News

On Friday, the Federation of State Medical Boards issued model legislation to create an interstate compact for physician licensure that aims to facilitate the licensing of doctors across state borders, including those who provide telehealth services, FierceHealthIT  reports (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 9/5).

Background

The proposal for the compact comes after the FSMB in April approved a telemedicine policy that defines the location of the practice of medicine by the patient’s location, not the provider’s. Therefore, providers who have practices in one state but provide telehealth services to a patient in another would need to obtain licenses in both states.

Details of Model Legislation

Under the proposal, at least seven states would be required to participate in the compact.

Each participating state would have a representative on a governing commission that oversees the project.

As part of the compact, states would be able to share information on physicians’:

  • Credentials; and
  • Disciplinary history.

The compact would not have the authority to license physicians but could provide all of the necessary information to streamline the process.

According to Modern Healthcare, this would allow the states to skip the step of collecting the paperwork needed to license physicians to practice in different states using telehealth services (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 9/5).

In addition, participation in the compact would be voluntary for states and physicians (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 9/5).

In a statement, FSMB President and CEO Humayun Chaudhry said, “With the drafting process complete, state legislatures and medical boards can now begin to consider the adoption of this model legislation establishing an interstate medical licensure compact (FierceHealthIT, 9/5).

Reaction

American Medical Association President Robert Wah in a statement praised the compact, saying that it “aligns with [AMA's] efforts to modernize state medical licensure, allowing for an expedited licensing pathway in participating states.” He added that AMA applauds the “reforms designed to simplify and improve the licensure process for physicians practicing across state lines as well as providing telemedicine services in multiple states” (AMA release, 9/5).

Meanwhile, James Turner — senior policy counsel of the Health IT Now Coalition — in a statement said the “compact does not go far enough in reducing real barriers to accessing telemedicine for the patients who need it most.” Specifically, Turner said the compact “could be further enhanced to advance coordinated care by allowing licensed providers to provide virtual care to their patients within the identified Compact states without additional licensure requirements” (HITN release, 9/5).

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