Medical Licensure Compact enables Telemedicine

Telemedicine currently requires physicians to become licensed in each state where they are practicing medicine.  As technology improves and telemedicine enables physicians to examine, diagnose and treat a patient without regard to geography, medical licensure is  burdensome for physicians practicing telemedicine.

Nurses are able to use their licenses across states via reciprocity and a multi-state compact that eases the burden of licensure and enhances license portability.

In 2013, a number of state medical boards, the Federation of State Medical Boards and experts from the Council of State Governments, and interested stakeholder groups began to explore forming an interstate compact for physicians.  Eighteen months later, a compact has been drafted that will be contemplated by physicians, state medical boards and state legislatures.

Below are listed the eight consensus principles that are quoted directly from the FSMB website.  They include:

•             Participation in an interstate compact for medical licensure will be strictly voluntary for both physicians and state boards of medicine.

•             Participation in an interstate compact creates another pathway for licensure, but does not otherwise change a state’s existing Medical Practice Act.

•             The practice of medicine occurs where the patient is located at the time of the physician-patient encounter, and therefore, requires the physician to be under the jurisdiction of the state medical board where the patient is located.

•             An interstate compact for medical licensure will establish a mechanism whereby any physician practicing in the state will be known by, and under the jurisdiction of, the state medical board where the practice occurs.

•             Regulatory authority will remain with the participating state medical boards, and will not be delegated to any entity that would administer a compact.

•             A physician practicing under an interstate compact is bound to comply with the statutes, rules and regulations of each compact state wherein he / she chooses to practice.

•             State boards participating in an interstate compact are required to share complaint / investigative information with each other.

•             The license to practice can be revoked by any or all of the compact states.

Currently, state legislatures and medical boards are considering draft legislation to participate in the Interstate Medical License Compact.  To date, eighteen states have joined the compact and four additional states have introduced legislation to join.  An interactive map that details the status of each state’s legislative efforts regarding the Compact can be found at www.licenseportability.org.