Removing Telehealth Barriers With National Licensing

February 8, 2017 by InTouch Health

Our new President is billed as a pragmatist, not a politician. That’s why healthcare leaders are calling on Mr. Trump to make medical license portability the law of the land.

In an open letter to the President from Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) CEO Humayun Chaudhry, the organization urged swift passage of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which would simplify multi-state licensing and improve healthcare access, especially in rural and underserved communities. FSMB also asked the President to remove barriers to telehealth services, including those provided to military personnel and veterans.

President Trump has pledged to improve Veterans Affairs services, but he can’t fault the VA for its policy on medical licensure. The department already allows physicians to work in any of their facilities, even if they’re licensed in just a single state.

Mr. Trump has vowed to eliminate unnecessary regulations – and many would argue that state-by-state medical licensure falls into that category. If a New York physician wants to get licensed in nearby New Jersey and Connecticut, she must provide much of the same information and pay a hefty fee and yearly renewal for each application.

This places a special burden on Alaska and Hawaii – states that don’t share a border and are geographically distant. Patients in these states are often forced to fly to the lower 48 for care because many specialists feel it’s pointless to get licensure when their practices are thousands of miles away.

We’ve all heard about the organization Doctors Without Borders who provide free medical care around the globe. In the U.S., we urgently need doctors without state borders. National licensure would make doctors’ lives easier by eliminating red tape and expenses – and would improve patient care by making telehealth transparent nationwide.