Colorado has become the 17th state to enact the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact when legislation was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper on June 8.
The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact offers an expedited licensing process for physicians interested in practicing medicine in multiple states. The compact is expected to expand access to healthcare, especially to those in rural and underserved areas of the country, and facilitate the use of telemedicine technologies in the delivery of healthcare.
In a feature story written last fall for Healthcare Informatics on telemedicine policy, Senior Contributing Editor David Raths noted that a main challenge has been licensing providers across state lines. “Clinicians who want to treat patients in another state have had to apply for and pay for licenses in those states, a costly and time-consuming process. Some state boards have sought to prevent or limit the expansion of telehealth, citing patient safety concerns,” Raths wrote.
As such, to try to deal with the license portability issue, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) created the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, an option under which qualified physicians seeking to practice in multiple states would be eligible for expedited licensure in all states participating in the compact.
With the addition of Colorado, five states in the last month have enacted legislation to expand access to healthcare by expediting medical licensure. In total, including Colorado, 17 states have enacted the compact, including Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
“It is encouraging to see Colorado join the compact, along with a growing number of states, as this will improve and increase healthcare access in the Rocky Mountain region and beyond, while still ensuring that we protect patient safety and quality,” Joan Bothner, M.D., chief medical officer of Children’s Hospital Colorado, said in a statement.