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New Interstate Compact Hoping to Ease Bureaucratic Requirements

In 2015, many state legislators will consider adopting new rules for telemedicine in hopes of increasing access to healthcare. One of the most visible pieces of legislation that is expected to roll out in multiple states this year is the Federation of State Medical Boards' "Interstate Medical Licensure Compact."

The Compact, which must be approved by legislatures in seven states to take effect, is a contract between states that would create an agreement to significantly reduce bureaucratic barriers for qualified physicians that are seeking to gain licensure in multiple states.

Physicians that meet a rigid list of requirements, including board certification by an ABMS member board or an equivalent board, would be eligible to apply for an "expedited license" through an Interstate Commission which is comprised of representatives from states that have passed the Compact's language. While the physician will still be subject to all fees associated with licensure, the time and paperwork required to receive a license is expected to be significantly reduced.

The Compact adopts the prevailing standard for licensure and asserts that the practice of medicine occurs where the patient is located at the time of the physician-patient encounter. Therefore, the physician will be under the jurisdiction of the state medical board where the patient is located and must comply by all laws of the state where the patient resides.

It is expected that many state legislatures and medical boards will begin to consider supporting adoption of this measure. The FSMB believes that it may take two to three years to get a majority of states to join, as the most significant challenge presented will be getting each state to adopt the same language. Without similar language, the compact will not be able to operate effectively. In the next few months, ASPS will be monitoring the implementation of the Compact and assessing the impact it will have on plastic surgery.