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The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact: Less Bureaucracy and Better Access to Care

Posted by Anonymous at 5/12/2017 12:52:58 PM

Physician Licensing Across State-lines


Phil Miller

Here is a man bites dog story that anyone in the healthcare industry is sure to appreciate. An initiative has been launched that will actually reduce bureaucratic paperwork and increase access to physicians for patients in states that traditionally have experienced physician shortages.

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact offers an expedited pathway to licensure for physicians who want to practice in multiple states. There are now 19 states participating in the Compact, with others planning to do so (see map).

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact: Less Bureaucracy and Better Access to Care

Through the Compact it is expected that the time to licensure physicians will be cut in half in participating states. This is a significant benefit for hospitals, medical groups and other facilities recruiting physicians, as it will streamline a process that often proves a hindrance and even a deal breaker when trying to secure a new physician. It will bring physicians to places where they are needed faster and accelerate the implementation of telemedicine, which also can be slowed by the licensure process. And it will be a welcome relief for physicians, who already have to deal with an inordinate amount of paperwork.

Physicians who wish to qualify for expedited licensure via the Compact must hold a full, unrestricted medical license in a Compact member state, and at least one of the following must apply:

  • The physician’s primary residence is in the state of principal licensure (SPL)
  • At least 25% of his or her practice occurs in the SPL
  • His or her employer is located in the SPL
  • The physician uses the SPL has his or her state of residence for U.S. federal income tax purposes

In addition, physicians must have:

  • Graduated from an accredited medical school, or a school listed in the International Medical Education Directory
  • Successful completion of ACGME or AOA-accredited graduate medical education
  • Passed each component of the USMLE, COMPL-USA, or equivalent after no more than three attempts
  • Hold a current specialty certification or time-unlimited certification by an ABMS or AOA board
  • Must not have any disciplinary actions toward their medical licensure
  • Must not have any criminal history
  • Must not have controlled substance actions toward their license
  • Must not currently be under investigation

The Compact is voluntary for both states and physicians. Physicians who cannot or do not want to participate in the Compact can still obtain licenses in Compact states going through the traditional licensure process.

To obtain licenses through the Compact, an eligible physician will designate a member state as the state of principal licensure (SPL) and select the other member states in which a medical license is desired. The SPL will verify the physician’s eligibility and provide credential information to the Interstate Commission. The Commission will then collect applicable fees and transmit the physician’s information and licensure fees to the additional states. Upon receipt in the additional states, the physician will be granted a license.

The Compact offers a sensible solution to address a growing problem and is picking up momentum as more states come on board and as more physicians participate. I would be happy to hear from readers who can comment on how the Compact has affected them or is likely to.

Phillip Miller is Vice President of Communications for Merritt Hawkins, the nation’s leading physician search firm and a company of AMN Healthcare. He can be reached here .

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