Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wisconsin 12th state to join interstate pact to increase healthcare in rural and underserved areas

Wisconsin has become the 12th state to join the Interstate Physician Licensure Compact, a move proponents say will expand health care in rural areas, Mike Tighe reports for the LaCrosse Tribune. Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed the law on Monday allowing Wisconsin to join the pact, which "eliminates much of the red tape and costs required for doctors licensed in one state to gain credentials in the 11 other member states."

Dr. Tim Johnson, CEO of LaCrosse's Mayo-Franciscan, part of the Mayo Clinic, told Tighe, “It will provide a significant decrease in the time, effort and expense of having every physician who physically crosses a state line or does medicine virtually go through the licensing process in each state. As we do more and more virtual medicine, the number of doctors able to do telemedicine will expand exponentially. Mayo Clinic doctors see patients in all 50 states. That becomes a big deal. It is good for patients and good for health care.”

In states that have not joined the pact, "doctors have had to follow the time-consuming process of submitting full applications and paying a substantial fee in each state where they want licenses," Tighe writes. States in the pact "will be able to licensed in what they designate as their home state and use that paperwork to gain credentials in other states."

Eric Tempelis, government relations director at Gundersen Health System, said "the next step is for the Interstate Medical Licensure Commission to determine criteria under which states will accept other members’ licenses" in an attempt to whittle a process that takes months to be completed in a few days, Tighe writes. Tempelis told Tighe, “Once started, it will make it easier for doctors to be licensed, and it will be easier for hospitals to hire doctors and get consultations from other states. In rural and underserved areas, that is where this could be a huge change." (Interstate Physician Licensure Compact map: Blue states have joined the pact. Orange states have introduced legislation to join the pact)

No comments: