Humayun Chaudhry, DO joined the Federation of State Medical Boards as president and CEO in 2009. Prior to FSMB, he practiced in New York for many years, and still maintains a medical license in the state. In addition to his current position, Chaudhry also serves as a clinical associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
Chaudhry, FSMB staff, and the Council of State Governments provided support and resources during the development of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, an initiative driven by state medical board representatives that aims to streamline the process of medical licensure across state lines. Nine states have enacted the compact, triggering formation of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission, which will develop and administer the interstate licensing process.
Did the FSMB realize when the Compact was created last year that it would be a driving force behind telemedicine adoption across the country?
One of the anticipated benefits of the Compact has been that it will increase access to telemedicine services by making it easier for physicians to practice telemedicine across state lines.
Did you expect that it would be triggered this quickly?
Many medical boards have been very supportive of the concept of the Compact since boards first gathered in early 2013 to explore various pathways in which states could expedite multi-state licensure. This early enthusiasm continued as the framework of the Compact was developed over the next 18 months. Given this strong support, we anticipated the Compact would be established relatively quickly once the framework was in place.
What are the next steps as far as the Compact Commission and its work moving forward? Who will be involved?
We anticipate that the transition period for the Compact to become operational will be 12 to 18 months. The Interstate Commission will meet later this year and establish various committees to draft the bylaws, rules, and processes that will be used by participating states as they begin expediting licensure for eligible physicians, create the technical infrastructure necessary to facilitate licensure, and perform necessary outreach.
The Interstate Compact Commission’s membership will be comprised solely of representatives from states that have enacted the Compact legislation. The FSMB will have no formal role on the Commission. It will continue to be available to provide support when requested by the Commission.
Do you have an idea of what this new, streamlined licensure process will look like? How long do you think it will take to develop?
Many details on how the Compact will actually operate will be worked out by the Interstate Commission in the months ahead. In general, physicians eligible to participate in the Compact would designate a member state as the state of principal licensure and select the other member states in which a medical license is desired. The state of principal licensure would verify the physician’s eligibility and provide credential information to the Interstate Commission. The Interstate Commission would then collect applicable fees and transmit the physician’s information and licensure fees to the additional states. Upon receipt in the additional states, the physician would be granted a license. The Compact would substantially reduce the time it takes to receive multiple licenses. As soon as eligibility is verified and fees are transferred, additionally selected states would issue a full and unrestricted license to the physician. Interested physicians can find more information at www.licenseportability.org.
What are the FSMB’s ultimate goals for the compact and the physicians it will serve?
The FSMB’s goal is to continue to support the state medical boards as they work to make the Compact operational. Our hope is that the Compact will help the states achieve expedited multi-state licensure, facilitate access to telemedicine services, and increase access to care in underserved areas.