Half of the Country Has Joined the Telemedicine Licensure Compact

Half of the Country Has Joined the Telemedicine Licensure Compact

The Telemedicine Licensure Compact Makes It Easier for Physicians to Apply for Interstate Licenses

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), also known as the Telemedicine Licensure Compact, makes it easier for physicians to apply for and receive licenses to practice telemedicine in member states, helping them reach new patients in neighboring states. Michigan recently became the 25th state to join the Compact, which means half the country is now active in the program.

Additional states like South Carolina and Kentucky are considering joining the Compact as well, increasing patient access to care in new corners of the country. Learn more about the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and how it’s giving a boost to the telehealth industry.

What Is the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact?

The IMLC speeds up the licensure process for physicians practicing telemedicine that are looking to practice in additional states. Every state has its own licensing board and care providers need to apply for and receive a license in each state they wish to practice in.

Previously, a physician would get a license in just one state as they go about setting up their practice. But with the rise of telehealth, physicians can now provide care to patients across longer distances, opening their practices to patients across state lines that may have limited access to care.

But obstacles remained. Applying for additional state licenses can be costly and time-consuming for many physicians, which prevented care providers from practicing in multiple states. But the IMLC is getting rid of these obstacles by making it easier for physicians practicing telemedicine to apply for and receive a license in states that have joined the compact.

If their state is a member of the compact, physicians don’t have to worry about spending a fortune on application fees when applying for an out-of-state license. States will also streamline these applications, speeding up the approval process.

In addition to Michigan, the following states have already joined the Compact: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia and Guam.

The Physical Therapy Compact, which provides the same services to physical therapists, and the Nurse Licensure Compact for nursing licenses went live last year, helping a wide variety of care providers practice in multiple states.

How the IMLC Impacts Patient Care

Physicians and other care providers can now practice telemedicine freely across state lines, helping them reach underserved areas. This is especially true of physicians and care providers that practice medicine near state lines.

Patients can now receive care from providers that practice outside the state, increasing their options in terms of where and how they receive care. Patients may not have to travel as far or travel at all if they choose a care provider that obtained a license through the IMLC.

At the end of 2018, the IMLC had issued 4,511 medical licenses and processed 2,400 applications. Over 500 physicians have even obtained two additional licenses using the IMLC, helping them access new patient populations using telehealth programs. Approximately 80% of physicians meet the criteria for licensure through the IMLC.

Giving patients more options in terms of how and where they receive care will create more competition in the marketplace. Patients may decide to see a doctor in another state using telemedicine as opposed to driving several hours to see an in-state physician, especially if they live in an underserved or rural area with few licensed providers.

Care providers will also need to adjust their practices to better serve patients living outside the state. Telemedicine services will start to play a bigger role in the healthcare industry and patients will start to make use of these services.

Everyone should be able to get access to the care they need. The IMLC is helping care providers and their patients make use of telehealth services, expanding patient access to care. Healthcare providers and patients can learn more about the benefits of telehealth at intouchhealth.com.