Understanding the Medical Licensure Compact and What it Means for Your Practice

Telemental health’s principle value is in allowing providers to reach consumers regardless of geographical distances. As liberating as this feature is for providers and consumers alike, it brings with it potentially serious repercussions. Treating across state lines is a logistical and legal nightmare propagated by outdated legislation and a slow-to-move congress. The effects are felt across the nation and are amplified by the systemic lack of healthcare providers to facilitate the needed care, compounding the effect in rural settings. Luckily there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the FSMB Medical Licensure Compact.

1) The History

In 2013, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) drafted the framework for what is today the State Licensure Compact with the goal of establishing license portability for qualified physicians. This is to say that licensed providers will be able to easily practice in multiple states by seeking expedited licensure from participating state boards. 1

2) Breakdown of the Medical Licensure Compact

It is important to note a few things about the Licensure Compact. First, participation is voluntary for both the state and provider. This may require some providers to engage their state boards to join. Second, the physician will fall under the state of governance in which the patient is being treated and/or the state where the initial physician/patient encounter took place. Third, the participating states will be required to share all information regarding complaints, and any participating state will have the authority to refuse licensure to any individual physician.

3) Where We Are Now

According to the Federation of State Medical Boards, support for the State Licensure Compact is growing among congress with 16 senate members voicing their support. It is expected that in 2015, State Legislatures and Medical Boards will begin their consideration and, hopefully, adoption of the State Licensure Compact.