If you live in one of our state’s border counties, you may hold a license to practice medicine in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan or Illinois – as well as Indiana. Obtaining another license likely meant you completed applications and provided documents in a redundant fashion to secure the two or three state licenses you hold. But those days of double effort may soon be over.
In March 2010, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration awarded Wisconsin a grant to create a Licensure Portability Program. The goal is to make it easier for qualified physicians to move from state to state to deliver care.
“The cross-border practice of medicine is ubiquitous now. Physicians holding multiple state licenses are becoming the norm,” said Chad Zadrazil, program and policy analyst with the Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services. He coordinates the grant project to streamline the process of obtaining multiple licenses.
“The idea itself is quite simple,” Zadrazil added, “bring states together to develop a standard set of criteria for licensure.”
With grant funds, a multi-state task force was created, comprised of directors of state medical and osteopathic boards from nine Midwestern states. An advisory committee provides practical, non-governmental input and reviews proposals to determine how they may affect practicing physicians. This advisory committee includes representatives from various state medical societies; Mike Rinebold, director of Government Relations, represents the ISMA.
“It was a positive experience, given my background as the former director of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana and my current role to ensure that the interests of physicians and the public were balanced in this new approach to licensure,” said Rinebold. “There was a high level of cooperation among all parties involved, and the results will provide a benefit to those able to participate.”
Currently strategies are being implemented to adopt:
- A regional expedited endorsement process with a uniform application
- Compatible licensure laws and regulations
- A common online licensure verification system
The grant ends in February 2012, at which time a “Declaration of Cooperation” should be in force. That declaration will be a non-binding agreement among the state medical boards indicating each board’s commitment to pursue the changes required to become compliant with and maintain the regional licensure process.
“If this works, the idea may spread nationwide,” said Zadrazil.
“In fact, the grant was intended to create a model that all states could implement.”
Find more background on the grant here. Keep reading ISMA Reports for further details as grant work continues.