Compact To Expand Telehealth Reaches Threshold for Enactment

May 22, 2015 in News

On Tuesday, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) signed measures to join the Federation of State Medical Board’s interstate compact for physician licensure, which means the group has reached the seven-member threshold needed to start implementing the compact, Modern Healthcare reports (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 5/20).

Details of Compact

The FSMB compact aims to facilitate the licensing of doctors across state borders to expand telehealth.

In September 2014, FSMB issued model legislation to create the voluntary interstate compact.

Under the compact, states are expected to be able to share information on physicians’:

  • Credentials; and
  • Disciplinary history.

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

Other compact members include:

  • Idaho;
  • Montana;
  • South Dakota;
  • Utah;
  • West Virginia; and
  • Wyoming (iHealthBeat, 5/18).

Meanwhile, 20 states have introduced bills that would allow their state medical boards to join the compact, Modern Healthcare reports (Modern Healthcare, 5/20).

Next Steps

Now that the compact has gained at least seven members, FSMB will create a commission to establish a process for physicians that participate in the initiative, FierceHealthIT reports. Each state will have two voting representatives appointed to the commission.

The commission will meet in the next few months to discuss compact administration (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 5/20).

Comments

Observers say the FSMB policy will address calls for a national license, which could have the effect of boosting state medical boards’ authority.

The American Medical Association has said the interstate compact “aligns with our efforts to modernize state medical licensure” (Modern Healthcare, 5/20).

However, other stakeholders have said the compact will not do enough to meaningfully bolster telemedicine access.

James Turner, senior policy counsel at the Health IT Now Coalition, said in September 2014 that the document could be improved by allowing providers to care for patients in other states that join the initiative without having to get an additional license (FierceHealthIT, 5/20).

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