The Doctor’s Advocate | Fourth Quarter 2014
Politically Speaking

Looking Ahead to 2015: Interstate Licensing

Hal Dasinger, Vice President, Government Relations

On September 5, 2014, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) completed its draft of model legislation establishing interstate medical licensing compacts.

The purpose of model legislation is to provide a framework for individual state legislatures to adopt similar or identical laws, promoting uniform or nearly uniform treatment of a subject across state lines. In this case, the stated purpose of the model law is to promote the portability of medical licensure and to ease some existing restrictions on telemedicine that result from different state licensing requirements. The FSMB draft will be available for state legislatures to consider beginning with the 2015 legislative sessions.

The results of the deliberative process in the various states will inevitably introduce some local idiosyncrasies into the bills that are eventually enacted. For now, the language of the model law specifies that to be eligible for multistate licensure under a compact, a physician must meet a number of requirements. A few of the specific criteria:

  • Graduation from a medical school listed in the International Medical Education Directory or its equivalent or from a school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.
  • Passing each component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) or an equivalent exam.
  • No conviction for a felony or crime of moral turpitude.
  • Never having held a license authorizing the practice of medicine subjected to discipline by a licensing agency in any state, federal, or foreign jurisdiction, excluding any action related to nonpayment of fees connected to a license.

Enactment of an interstate licensing compact would be up to each individual state, and participation would be voluntary for any state or for any licensee. The general idea is that a physician seeking to practice in multiple states could take advantage of an expedited, multiple-state licensing process, provided that each of the states where the physician wants to practice has adopted a version of the interstate compact.

The interstate license is meant to be an alternate path to licensure, not a change to a state’s existing licensing act. Under the model act, the practice of medicine occurs in the state where the patient is located, requiring the physician to be licensed in that state. Although not specified by the act, the state where the patient is located would also presumably be the venue for a claim of negligence. The potential for a physician to live and practice primarily in a state with effective medical liability reform but deliver care in a state with unlimited liability will merit consideration as states begin debating the model law. The Doctors Company will be tracking these interstate compact bills as they are introduced and acted upon in the states.

The FSMB describes itself as a national nonprofit organization representing 70 medical and osteopathic boards within the United States and its territories. The model law draft was developed by representatives from state medical boards and experts from the Council of State Governments, a nonprofit organization that provides research and policy support to legislators, executive branch officials, and judges.

Learn more about the FSMB and the interstate licensing compact model law at

The Doctor’s Advocate is published by The Doctors Company to advise and inform its members about loss prevention and insurance issues.

The guidelines suggested in this newsletter are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. They attempt to define principles of practice for providing appropriate care. The principles are not inclusive of all proper methods of care nor exclusive of other methods reasonably directed at obtaining the same results.

The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider considering the circumstances of the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.

The Doctor’s Advocate is published quarterly by Corporate Communications, The Doctors Company. Letters and articles, to be edited and published at the editor’s discretion, are welcome. The views expressed are those of the letter writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or official policy of The Doctors Company. Please sign your letters, and address them to the editor.

Fourth Quarter 2014

Director's Forum
Editorial Comment on Maintenance of Certification

An Ounce of Prevention
Telemedicine: Emerging Risks

Politically Speaking
Looking Ahead to 2015: Interstate Licensing

Foundation News
2015 Young Physicians Patient Safety Award

California Voters Reject Proposition 46

The Back Page
Industry and Company News: Fourth Quarter 2014

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