Practice Economics

Expedited Multistate Medical Licensure Promises Efficiency for Physicians


For hospitalists who want to relocate to another state, practice in multiple states, provide telemedicine services, or take on some per diem work, this should be of interest. As part of the feasibility study on an Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) “allied in common purpose to develop a comprehensive process that complements the existing licensing and regulatory authority of state medical boards” and, therefore, to provide physicians with an efficient process to become licensed in multiple states.

Put simply, FSMB intends to work with the states to simplify and expedite state licensure.

The compact boasts of positively impacting physician shortage areas, leveraging the portability of care and expertise, and, in the end, not just making licensure much easier, but also favorably influencing patient safety. In a press release, the CEO of FSMB, Humayun Chaudhry, DO, MS, MACP, FACOI, stated that the compact “offers an effective solution to the question of how best to balance patient safety and quality care with the needs of a growing and changing healthcare market.” The compact promises to systematize the ability of physicians to obtain licensure in multiple states.

At the end of the day, the jurisdiction, execution, and authority to issue the license will always belong to the state medical boards, maintaining the integrity of the Medical Practice Act.

From a hospitalist’s perspective, the compact has a lot to offer. Hospitalists do not have a “panel” of patients that we will follow indefinitely. This allows for an enormous amount of flexibility to consider additional work, to take on per diem opportunities, and also to practice telemedicine as a “telehospitalist” in multiple states. Such flexibility would invariably mean getting licensed in several states. Getting a license in a newer state (one that takes part in the compact) should become easier once all of your credentials have been duly verified and are readily accessible. Essentially, there will be a repository of verified credentials and any disciplinary actions that will be promptly available, simplifying the process quite a bit for the applicant, as well as for the state boards. At the end of the day, the jurisdiction, execution, and authority to issue the license will always belong to the state medical boards, maintaining the integrity of the Medical Practice Act. From a physician’s perceptive, participation is entirely voluntary.

At the time of writing this, upwards of 25 states have shown enthusiasm towards this compact, 15 states have introduced a bill for the compact, including Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming, and the support continues to grow. The compact already has cleared legislative houses in Wyoming and South Dakota, and are now awaiting the governor’s signature.

For example, some argue that the high licensing fees on initial issuance and reissuance by the state medical boards may be hard to justify once a simplified licensing mechanism is in place; despite this concern, momentum and enthusiasm for the compact continue to grow. SHM, having applauded the FSMB’s efforts in its letter of support, will also likely be calling upon local chapters to promote these initiatives. Generally speaking, the interstate compact would be beneficial, offering a multistate licensure process that would be exponentially quicker than the one we currently have. I applaud the FSMB’s efforts in spearheading this endeavor.

Want to further discuss the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact? Add to my discussion on HMX.

For more information, visit the FSMB website.

Dr. Deepak Asudani, MD, MPH, FHM, is an academic hospitalist at the University of California San Diego, and is a member of the SHM Public Policy Committee. At UCSD Hospital Medicine, he directs Global Health Initiatives and is involved in developing educational programs for international students including their clinical training and simulation experiences.

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