In 2014, the Society of Hospital Medicine endorsed the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact as a way to address divergent physician licensing requirements among states. The thrust of SHM’s reasoning was that differing licensing policies across state lines not only hinder the ability of hospitalists to quickly adjust staffing to meet the needs of hospitals and patients but also create extensive, costly, and often redundant administrative hurdles for individual hospitalists and hospital medicine groups. For hospitalists looking to relocate to another state, practice in multiple states, provide telemedicine services, or even take on some per diem work, the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact should be of great help.
To briefly summarize, states participating in the compact agree to share information with one another and work together in streamlining the licensing process. For example, the compact aims to reduce redundant licensing requirements by creating one place where physicians submit basic information such as their education credentials. The compact does not establish a national license; a license to practice medicine will still be issued by individual state medical boards. Physicians will still need to be licensed in the state where the patient is located, but the difference is that the process of obtaining a license will be streamlined significantly.
To join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, state legislatures must enact the compact into state law. Two years in, the compact is now being implemented in 12 states: Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. States where it has been introduced but not yet adopted include Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Licenses via the compact process are not currently being issued, but representatives from the 12 participating states have begun to formally meet and are working out the administrative procedures needed to begin expedited licensure processes. With a core group of states adopting and implementing the compact, it will be important for state officials to hear why adoption of the compact is important to physicians.
This presents an opportunity for hospitalists residing in holdout states to participate in some advocacy work at the state level—on their own, as a group, or even within one of SHM’s many state chapters. To find your local chapter and get involved, visit www.hospitalmedicine.org/chapters.
To assist, detailed information on the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact can be found at www.licenseportability.org, and SHM advocacy staff is available to address questions members may have about getting started. You can reach them via email at [email protected]. TH
Josh Boswell is SHM’s director of government affairs.