The New York Times recently ran an article about the Federation of State Medical Boards’ (FSMB) guidelines for an interstate licensing compact. This is exciting news, especially for Telehealth providers. When the draft legislation is finalized and adopted by states, it means that the onerous licensing burden on healthcare providers will be eased. Right now a specialist practicing medicine via Telehealth with the patient in a different state, has to be fully licensed in both his/her home state and the state where the patient is (called the originating site). Licensure is expensive and time consuming. If the compact becomes widely accepted, the physicians will still have to go through a licensing process in their own state and be fully vetted before they can practice medicine, but the state where the originating site is will be able to accept the license of the physician’s home state. This means less hassle, less expense and, with the growth of Telehealth services, more patient care. While the FSMB recommends the compact be for specialty care providers only (why not primary care providers?), this is a huge step forward. The FSMB website suggests that the final legislation will be ready to send to states early in 2015. Then, if states ratify it, a huge burden will be lifted from Telehealth providers. Good work, FSMB! Will it work? Well, there’s a nursing licensure compact that has been around for years and it’s working just fine. Licensing Boards are very careful in their deliberations, and there’s no good reason one state shouldn’t accept another state’s licensure.
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