First physician license approved under interstate compact

Two years after the first states passed legislation adopting the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (ILMC), the first license has allowing a physician to practice across state lines has been approved.

According to John Thomas, MD, MBA, chair of the ILMC Commission, the first application came in on April 8. The license was then approved on April 19, allowing the doctor to practice in both Wisconsin, where he had already been licensed and Colorado. Thomas declined to provide any specifics about the physician, but did seem pleased with how quickly the first application was approved.

“The fact that it worked, the fact that it only took 11 days was a big deal for us,” Thomas said in an interview with HealthExec.

An expedited licensing process was the main goal of the compact. Instead of applying through a state’s traditional licensing process, the commission would share a physician’s record with state medical boards, removing the need for the board to verify those records itself.

Physicians would have to be licensed in a state participating in the compact before applying for an expedited license through the commission. Approved physicians would be held to be the laws and regulations of the state where the patient is located. Additionally, any disciplinary action taken by one state’s medical board may be automatically enforced by other states in the compact.

Eighteen states have joined the compact since Wyoming became the first to enact legislation in February 2015. Thomas said when the first meeting of the compact commission was held in October of that year, they began the work of building an IT infrastructure to handle the multi-state licensing process—and in his opinion, succeeded on meeting a fairly ambitious timeline.

“It’s a pretty big deal from an IT standpoint,” he said. “In fact, many of the IT experts we talked to couldn’t believe we were going to do it in as short time as we did.”

Thomas said 30 applications were received in the first week after the licensing site opened. Seven more states, plus the District of Columbia, have legislation to join the compact, and Thomas predicted that with the multi-state licensing process now active, the compact will be an easier sell to state lawmakers.