As of August 2016, more than one third of US states have passed legislation to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC). The Compact will increase access to health care for individuals and families in these states by making it easier for physicians to get additional medical licenses in other participating states.
The Compact is especially advantageous for physicians practicing telemedicine, as expedited licensure accelerates the time it takes to actually provide health care services and expand reach. As telemedicine transforms access to care and physicians increasingly seek licensure in multiple states, certain components of current medical licensure requirements have become unnecessarily redundant, time-consuming and restrictive. The Compact opens up new possibilities for state licensing boards to share information and collaborate with one another to reduce redundancy and streamline complicated processes around uniform standards.
As a physician who regularly performs telepsychiatry evaluations and manages a staff of telepsychiatrists who see and treat individuals in 26 states, I am well-versed in the difficulties a physician faces while seeking additional licensure. Telepsychiatrists must be licensed where they are physically located and in every state where they offer services. The licensure process in each state varies and can take anywhere from three months to more than a year. This tenuous process discourages physicians from seeking additional licensure, and restricts access to qualified physicians who would otherwise be working with people in need of health care.
For more than 17 years, InSight has been practicing telepsychiatry and advocating for the proper utilization of telemedicine, and has been a supporter of the Compact since its introduction by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). The Compact is a welcome addition to the world of telehealth. I applaud all legislators in participating states and ask other legislators to follow their lead in supporting the Compact.
The United States is facing a serious physician shortage, especially in certain specialties like psychiatry, cardiology, dermatology and neurology.1 Many communities, particularly in underserved areas, rely on care from physicians who are not local. Enacting the Compact is an important step towards reducing the negative impacts of a physician shortage and increasing access to care.
Earlier this month, InSight Telepsychiatry hosted a webinar on the future of physician licensure with the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. The webinar discussed the physician shortage in the United States, the Compact’s current status and next steps and the benefits and challenges physicians and organizations can expect with the Compact. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.
Ready to support the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact? Visit’s InSight’s advocacy page to learn more and download a template letter for states that have passed or proposed the Compact.
- IHS, Inc., (2016). The complexities of physician supply and demand: Projections from 2014 to 2025, Association for American Medical College; 2016 Update https://www.aamc.org/download/458082/data/2016_complexities_of_supply_and_demand_projections.pdf