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AMA Supports Telemedicine Licensure Across State Lines

AMA

On November 21, 2014, the American Medical Association (AMA) issued a strong vote of support for the interstate compact,  drafted and release in April by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and its State Medical Boards Appropriate Regulation of Telemedicine (SMART) Workgroup for the utilization of telemedicine in the delivery of healthcare. Named the, “Model  Policy for the Appropriate Use of Telemedicine Technologies in the Practice of Medicine,” the act would create a streamlined yet rigorous procedure for physicians to obtain licensure in multiple states. This is a big step for licensure portability supporters across health care disciplines, including the behavioral and mental health disciplines.

AMA President-Elect Steven J. Stack, MD, had these words to say in a much-anticipated news release, “We encourage more states to sign on to the compact so that we can ensure standards of care are maintained, whether treatment is provided in-person or via telemedicine.”

It is now anticipated that the AMA will work with interested medical associations, the FSMB and other  stakeholders to ensure rapid adoption of the FSM compact and the creation of an Interstate Medical Licensure Commission to oversee the process.

As we outlined in our two previous articles about the FSMB Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) Releases Model Telemedicine Act, Sparking Considerable Discussion and the FSMB Model Act Update , this compact is significant in the battle toward obtaining national licensure.
 
The FSMB licensure compact promises to:

…develop a comprehensive process that complements the existing licensing and regulatory authority of state medical boards, provides a streamlined process that allows physicians to become licensed in multiple states, thereby enhancing the portability of a medical license and ensuring the safety of patients.  The compact creates another pathway for licensure and does not otherwise change a state’s existing Medical Practice Act.

The compact also calls for:

  • Physician eligibility requirements
  • “… affirms that the practice of medicine occurs where the patient is located at the time of the physician-patient encounter, and therefore, requires the physician to be under the jurisdiction of the state medical board where the patient is located.”
  • Procedures for application, fees, a renewal process, etc.
  • Establishment of an Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission to oversee the licensure processes

Psychologists

Psychologists may also be interested in comparing the FSMB compact with that if the Telepsychology Licensing Compact, proposed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (AASPB). Their Model Act for Telepsycholog is open for comments until November 30, 2014. See the details in ASPPB Interjurisdictional Telepsychology Licensing Compact: News about Practicing Over State Lines and take a few minutes to give your comments here.

To get a quick sense of the issues and earn 1 APA-approved CE hour, listen to this recorded webinar: Advocacy Webinar: Frustrated by Telehealth Licensing Laws?

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