By Debra Wood, RN, contributor Nov 26, 2018
and more physicians are recognizing the benefit of the Interstate Medical
Licensure Compact (IMLC), whether planning to work
locum tenens, serve as a telemedicine provider or pick up work in an
Have a primary residence in the SPL;
Practice at least 25 percent of the time in the SPL;
Work for an employer in the SPL; or
List the SPL as a state of residence for federal tax purposes
an efficient process,” said Marschall S. Smith, executive director of the
Interstate Medical Licensing Compact Commission in Littleton, Colorado.
“Physicians can get their licenses with a quick turnaround.”
Launched in April 2017, the
physician compact enables most physicians to obtain multiple state licenses
from participating compact states. As of mid-November 2018, member state
medical boards have issued 3,426 medical licenses to physicians participating
in the IMLC.
the 3,000 license mark] was pretty exciting,” Smith said.
Many of the physicians are
practicing telemedicine, including radiologists, he added. Some physicians are
obtaining licenses in bordering states, while others are pursuing locum tenens
opportunities in states that may be nearby or across the country. Some locum
tenens staffing agencies, like Staff Care, are assisting with the
process, Smith said.
“It allows them to fulfill
physician needs quickly,” Smith added. “A
lot of physicians are getting one or two additional licenses.”
The IMLC Commission has
processed 1,867 applications and 497 licenses have been renewed through the compact
during the same time period.
Humayun Chaudhry, DO, president
and CEO of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), indicated in a
statement that reducing barriers to practicing in multiple states is allowing
qualified physicians to reach more patients and improve access to care.
in the IMLC
states, the District of Columbia and Guam have enacted legislation to join the
compact. Tennessee will become active on January 1, 2019. Additionally, in
Michigan, compact legislation remains under consideration by the state senate. Many
of the current compact states are in the West and Midwest.
first nine months were proof of concept,” Smith said. “It is a useful process,
people will use it and we found it an effective way to make this work. I think
we will see states that took a wait-and-see approach jump in.”
Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission governs the physician compact.
Each member state appoints two representatives to serve on the commission.
physician compact maintains state control of licensure, while offering
physicians an opportunity to quickly obtain and hold multiple state licenses. States
in the compact must share complaints or investigative information about
physicians with each other.
About 80 percent of physicians
in the United States meet the criteria for licensure through the compact.
The physician must hold a full,
unrestricted medical license in a compact member state that is available to
serve as a State of Principal Licensure
(SPL), and meet at least one of the following criteria:
Smith encouraged physicians to check at the IMLC website to confirm they meet all of
the qualifications before applying. The $700 application fee is nonrefundable.
should complete the application themselves, Smith advised, and not delegate it
to a staff member. It must be completely correct, such as documenting a full
middle name. Additionally, the physician should list his or her email address,
again not an employee email.
locum tenens agencies will help pay for the process, depending on assignment
care about who fills out the application, not who pays for it,” Smith said.
will verify the application and issue a Letter of Qualification, which is valid
for 365 days. Once that letter is in hand, the physician can select the desired
multiple state licenses through the IMLC and pay the state’s licensure fees,
which range from $75 to $700. Those
states will then issue a license.
physician must complete continuing medical education as required by each state
of licensure and follow all laws and regulations of the state where he or she
“It’s a good process,” Smith
said. “We’ve been talking with other healthcare professions who are looking at
forming compacts. It’s an important development and the next phase of licensure
in the health care field.”
Interstate Medical Licensure Compact
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