FSMB: Draft Interstate Compact for Physician Licensure Nears Completion

July 25, 2014--The Federation of State Medical Boards, a national nonprofit representing the 70 medical and osteopathic boards of the U.S. and its territories, issued the following statement today after unveiling an updated  draft interstate compact for physician licensure during its recent board meeting. The proposed changes to the draft compact would strengthen patient protections and streamline requirements for physician licensure.

"The goal of the Compact is to ensure that qualified physicians are able to practice medicine in a safe and accountable manner and that the strongest health care consumer protections are maintained," said Dr. Humayun J. Chaudhry, president and CEO of FSMB. "The revised compact helps ensure that as the practice of telemedicine continues to expand, patient protection remains a top priority. We look forward to sharing the revised compact with state medical boards across the country and look forward to working with them to achieve implementation."

The Compact, which offers a streamlined alternative pathway for state-based licensure, would create a new process for faster licensing for physicians interested in practicing in multiple states, including those who practice telemedicine, and reaffirms the location of a patient as the jurisdiction for oversight and patient protections. Those physicians ineligible for the compact may still use the current pathway to acquire one or more state medical licenses. The changes unveiled during FSMB's board meeting would strengthen the requirements for licensure eligibility for physicians and help ensure patients are safe when they're in the care of physicians. Specifically, the revisions to the draft compact would:

  • Require physicians who wish to participate in the compact to submit to fingerprinting or other biometric background checks to be eligible for licensure in additional states;
  • Alter specialty board certification requirements of the compact to clarify that those with time-unlimited certification are also eligible under the compact; and
  • Require that physicians who wish to participate in the compact pass each component of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medicine Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) within three attempts.

The new interstate compact system is expected to significantly reduce barriers to the process of gaining licensure in multiple states, helping facilitate licensure portability and telemedicine while widening access to health care by physicians, particularly in underserved areas of the nation. Although the Compact doesn't establish standards for telemedicine practice, it is expected to enhance telemedicine by significantly expediting multi-state licensure. For more information on the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, click here.

About the Federation of State Medical Boards: The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is a national non-profit organization representing all medical boards within the United States and its territories that license and discipline allopathic and osteopathic physicians and, in some jurisdictions, other health care professionals. FSMB leads by promoting excellence in medical practice, licensure and regulation as the national resource and voice on behalf of state medical boards in their protection of the public. To learn more about FSMB visit: www.fsmb.org. You can also follow FSMB on Twitter (@theFSMB) and Facebook by liking the Federation of State Medical Boards page.