April 12, Wisconsin Health News
A compact that aims to expedite the process for doctors obtaining medical licenses in multiple states launched in Wisconsin last week.
So far 18 states have passed legislation to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which aims to make it easier and faster for doctors to get a license in other participating states.
Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota have entered the agreement. Other states, including Michigan have bills pending in their legislatures that would allow them to join.
The compact began accepting and processing applications from qualified physicians on April 6, according to a statement from the commission overseeing it.
Mark Grapentine, senior vice president of government relations at the Wisconsin Medical Society, said there are still details to work out before the compact process is functional among all participating states. But Iowa and Wisconsin are ready to go, he said.
"It will greatly help physicians and patients who may cross the Mississippi River to either give or receive care," he wrote in an email.
Dr. Donn Dexter, vice chief medical officer at Mayo Clinic Health System northwest Wisconsin, said the compact will help attract doctors to the state, particularly in underserved areas.
It will also support educational efforts by making it easier to get a license in Wisconsin, allowing doctors in neighboring states to "come over and work and train in our community and hopefully stay," he said.
Brian Vamstad, government relations manager for Gundersen Health System, called the launch a "great step." The compact will help with telemedicine efforts, he said.
"It really will help us and others to meet the needs of communities," he said.
So far, doctors with licenses who are either living, employed or have 25 percent of their business in Wisconsin can apply through the compact to practice in any of the other participating states, according to the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission.
Eleven states, including Minnesota, aren't comfortable serving as states of principal licensure, meaning doctors solely licensed by those states and either residing or practicing there can't use the compact until policymakers approve technical fixes.
Diane Shepard, secretary for the commission, said Minnesota is close to approving its technical fix.