In 2015, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) announced and successfully lobbied for the introduction of the Interstate Licensing Compact (ILC) in order to streamline state licensing procedures for physicians. Understanding and taking advantage of the ILC will allow physicians who wish to engage in the practice of medicine via telehealth technology across state lines a less burdensome barrier to entry.
What is the Federation of State Medical Boards?
The FSMB is a nonprofit organization representing the medical and osteopathic regulatory boards of the United States, its territories and the District of Columbia. The organization’s mission is to support medical boards through “education, assessment, research and advocacy while providing services and initiatives that promote patient safety, quality health care and regulatory best practices,” according to FSMB’s website.
What is the Interstate Licensing Compact?
The ILC is an innovation of the FSMB that provides an expedited path to licensure for physicians. The ILC is a voluntary compact that states can elect to approve through legislation. If enacted, the Compact provides fixed terms with respect to physician licensing and disciplinary matters to ensure predictability among states. The ILC creates an environment in which it is less cumbersome, less time consuming and perhaps less expensive for physicians to seek full and unrestricted licensure in multiple states, thereby increasing a physician’s reach and a patient’s access to care.
As of today, twelve states have enacted the ILC, and eight more have introduced legislation intending to do the same. Trends suggest that additional states will follow, as the Compact has received support from a number of organizations including the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, and the United States Senate.
What does the ILC mean for physicians?
If you are licensed in a state that has enacted the model language of the Compact, your pathway to licensure in other states will be far more accessible. While each state’s Medical Practice Act will remain intact and require adherence, physicians who receive licensure through the ILC will face a streamlined licensure process in participating states. This is most meaningful for physicians who wish to practice telemedicine.
How does the ILC affect Telemedicine?
Providing care through telemedicine is one of the fastest growing trends in healthcare and provides physicians with access to otherwise inaccessible patients. While telemedicine is an intricately regulated area and treated uniquely between states, licensure in the state of the patient’s location is always a prerequisite to providing treatment. Through the ILC, physicians interested in engaging in telemedicine can seek to expand their practices into any participating state and will find that the licensure process is far less burdensome. According to the FSMB, “the time-consuming state-by-state licensure process for multiple-license holders” is the “key barrier to overcome in order for telemedicine to continue to grow and thrive.”
If you are interested in expanding your practice by seeking licensure in additional states, contact Frier Levitt to discuss how to proceed in order to reach more patients and capture additional revenue as a result of the positive effects of the ILC and telemedicine.