Last time, we began speaking about a measure Governor Scott Walker recently signed into law which makes the state of Wisconsin a party to an agreement allowing physicians to participate in a unified multi-state licensure process. As we noted last time, the measure will make it easier for physicians to use their home state’s paperwork to obtain licensure in another participating state.
As part of the agreement, an interstate commission serves as the regulatory body overseeing the compact, including handling administrative functions connected to the compact and interpreting and enforcing the rules of the agreement. States that want to participate in the compact enact the compact under state law and thereby secure their participation, as Wisconsin has done.
One important thing to realize about the compact is that it does not take over the duty and authority of each participating state to regulate the practice of medicine within its border. There will be no board which handles mattes of regulation and discipline for physicians practicing under the interstate compact. Rather, this task will still be up to the individual state medical boards, which continue to be responsible for all matters pertaining to the regulation of medical practice and the protection of public health and safety.
Of particular importance is that participation in the compact could help expand the practice of telemedicine across state borders, particularly between Wisconsin and Minnesota. This is important, since telemedicine does present licensure issues. In a future post, we’ll take a further look at this important issue.