Docs Can Work Across State Lines in COVID-19 Crisis: White House

“President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency and numerous state emergency declarations have mobilized thousands of physicians to volunteer for in-person care and to practice remotely through telehealth. While some state licensure laws are temporarily waived, it is essential that hospitals, payers, and licensing and credentialing entities have complete and up-to-date information to quickly and accurately verify licensure status, specialty information, and disciplinary history, at a minimum.

“The FSMB has expanded its free access to the PDC to hospitals, federal agencies, and other entities in order to immediately expedite the mobility of qualified physicians and physician assistants without compromising patient safety and quality.”

Chaudhry was unavailable for comment at press time.

Interstate Medical Licensing Compact

Over the past 6 years, the FSMB has spearheaded the creation of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), which helps eligible physicians get licensed quickly in multiple states.

As of today, the compact includes 29 states, the District of Columbia, and the territory of Guam. Legislation to join the agreement is pending in Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

Under this agreement, licensed physicians can qualify to practice medicine in states that belong to the compact if they meet certain eligibility requirements. According to the IMLC website, “approximately 80% of physicians meet the criteria for licensure through the IMLC.”

When a physician submits an application to the IMLC, their state of principal license verifies the doctor’s existing information and conducts a background check. Once the physician has qualified for the compact license, he or she may practice in any compact state.

More than 6900 applications have been processed through the IMLC, resulting in 9046 medical licenses being issued by compact member states, FSMB spokesperson Joe Knickrehm told Medscape Medical News.

By making it easier to obtain multiple licenses across much of the country, the compact has benefited locum tenens doctors, physicians who practice in areas that cross state lines, and those who perform telehealth consults in more than one state.

Although it seems like the IMLC is a well-suited complement to what the Trump administration has proposed, it’s unclear whether HHS will take advantage of the compact in its forthcoming regulation.

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