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Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

Quick Facts

or reject the agreement in its entirety. The compact would not replace the existing process to obtain a medical license out of state; it would only add an alternative, accelerated process. The American Medical Association

The compact cannot be modified; each state must accept or reject it in its entirety.

The compact does not take effect until seven states have signed on.

Physicians must have no history of discipline and no criminal history to qualify.

adopted policy on Nov. 10, 2014 in sup- port of the compact. In a press release, President Steven J. Stack, MD, said 10 states have so far indicated support for the compact. “We encourage more states to sign on to the compact so that we can ensure standards of care are maintained, whether treatment is provided in person or via telemedi- cine,” he said. TMA has not yet adopted an offi-

cial position on the compact, but many TMA members support an expedited licensure process. “With dramatic changes in health

care, there is an opportunity to uti- lize technology to provide greater access to health care expertise and services both within the state and on an interstate basis,” said Darren Whitehurst, TMA vice president for advocacy. “The compact gives mecha- nisms to help ensure accountability for out-of-state physicians and pro- tections to Texas patients. However, since the compact gives no ability to make changes to the legislation, TMA wants to make sure these mechanisms are appropriate and that they actually improve care.”

TMB LEADER FAVORS COMPACT Last May, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) discussed the compact and agreed to pursue participation. Min- utes of the board’s May 2, 2014, meeting are available at /TMBMay2. TMB Executive Director Mari Rob-

inson says the compact would allow a streamlined process for licensing. She says under the current structure, there is no legal reciprocity for licensure, which means physicians who want to be licensed in other states must pre- pare for an extensive, document-heavy process, “depending on which state you’re applying in.” The process is

46 TEXAS MEDICINE March 2015

even more extensive for international candidates, she adds. If Texas joins the compact, a phy-

sician candidate would apply for a medical license in his or her state of residence through the normal chan- nels, which include proof of medical school graduation, residency train- ing, and a criminal background check, among other things, she says. Ms. Robinson says under the pro-

posed legislation, after a physician obtains a medical license in a member state, he or she can apply for eligibil- ity for an expedited license in other member states. Only physicians with spotless

medical records are eligible to expe- dite the process. Such physicians must be board certified with no history of discipline, no history with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and no criminal history. If a physician qualifies, he or she

needs only to obtain an eligibility cer- tificate, then register for and pay the individual state license fee, Ms. Rob- inson says. “You would not have to go back through the entire application process,” she said. Ms. Robinson says the compact

would make it easier for Texas physi- cians to take jobs in other states; the transition would take days, rather than weeks or months under the cur- rent system. The process would also ease the burden on recruiters looking to draw more physicians into Texas. “It can be hard to bring people here

from out of state,” she said. “It will hopefully drive up the number of li- censees we have.” In turn, that means a wider array of physicians and better access to care in the state, she says. The program would have no cost

for state medical boards, and physi- cians would likely pay the current fee for each out-of-state license, Ms. Rob- inson says. “We don’t anticipate rais- ing fees,” she said. “We expect it to be self-funded.” Critics of the compact worry about complaint sharing among member states, but Ms. Robinson says the com-

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