Fewer than two months old, the new Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) has already seen an increase in the list of states on its roster: Membership in the compact now stands at 19, with Nebraska the latest state to enter into the groundbreaking interstate medical licensing partnership.
“On behalf of the Federation of State Medical Boards, I congratulate Nebraska on becoming a part of the group of states that have joined the Compact,” FSMB President and CEO Dr. Humayun Chaudhry said in a statement. “This is a major win for patient safety and will help increase access to care for Nebraskans living in rural and underserved communities.”
With Nebraska now among its ranks, the IMLC now encompasses 38% of all states in the union, with even more gearing up to join. Montana "recently passed legislation to fix the criminal-background check issue, and it is expected that this issue will be resolved shortly in other states," reports the American Medical Association (AMA). "In another state, Washington, compact-related legislation has been passed by the legislature and awaits the governor’s signature."
Nebraska Joins Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC)
Officially enacted in April 2017 after a several-years-long gestation period, the IMLC has many aspects. As a means for physicians to hold multiple state licenses, it could greatly simplify the lives of locum doctors, as well as those who "practice in metropolitan areas that include more than one state, and doctors who provide telemedicine services to patients in other states," as Medscape points out.
And in an era when a shortage of caregivers is beginning to have adverse effects on both patient care and the medical industry in general -- a recent report shows that patient wait times are 30% longer than in 2014 -- the IMLC seeks to counter these trends by making it "easier for physicians to practice across state lines" in an effort to "increase access to care for patients in underserved areas," as the AMA puts it.
As the Minnesota state legislature defined it in its 2015 approval of the IMLC, the compact is a method to "strengthen access to health care, and in recognition of the advances in the delivery of health care, the member states of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact have allied in common purpose to develop a comprehensive process that complements the existing licensing and regulatory authority of state medical boards, and provides a streamlined process that allows physicians to become licensed in multiple states, thereby enhancing the portability of a medical license and ensuring the safety of patients."
The IMLC allows physicians to enjoy expedited licensure in member states so long as he or she has a "full and unrestricted" license in an eligible home state -- and if that same home state is the state of primary residence, where at least 25% of his or her practice occurs, or is the location of his or her employer. Read more about the specifics of IMLC licensure here.
IMLC licensing applications range "from $75 in Alabama and Wisconsin to $700 in Illinois, but average about $300," as the AAFP points out. Some locum physicians in the Staff Care network may qualify for a waiving of this fee; find out if you're eligible here.
> How might the IMLC affect locum tenens physicians in general, and Staff Care network members specifically? Find out here.
The IMLC process is already in action: According to the AMA, the first interstate medical license was issued in April, "with a physician listing Wisconsin as the state of principal license. The LOQ was sent to Colorado 13 days after the application was submitted, and the Colorado license was issued a day later."
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