The Future of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

Many states realize the value of accessible interstate licensing during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated states getting physicians to hospitals as quickly as possible to help patients and assist full-time, permanent staff. For this reason, many states chose to temporarily reduce and, in some cases, even eliminate in-state licensing requirements and accept any state’s medical license to speed up the process.

These changes mirror a licensing solution that has existed for the past six years, which became operational four years ago, called the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), “an agreement among participating U.S. states to work together to significantly streamline the licensing process for physicians who want to practice in multiple states.” The IMLC helps improve access to care for patients and access to licensure for qualifying physicians.

Now that so many states and healthcare facilities across the country have realized the benefits of making multi-state licensing more accessible for clinicians, many working in healthcare are wondering what the future looks like for the IMLC. Currently, 33 states, the District of Columbia and the Territory of Guam are Compact member jurisdictions, with Ohio being the most recent state to join the Compact. But before looking ahead at what the future holds, it is important to understand what exactly the Compact is and how physicians can take advantage of it right now.

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How physicians can take advantage of the IMLC

Licensed physicians who currently hold a full, unrestricted medical license in a participating state may designate that state as their State of Principal License (SPL). If they either primarily reside in an SPL, are employed to practice medicine in an SPL or at least 25% of their practice occurs in an SPL, they can apply for a compact license. For a complete list of SPLs, you can view this map. Physicians who wish to take advantage of the Compact must hold an unrestricted license in an SPL to apply for licensure in another member state. Some other restrictions do apply, so be sure to check out the IMLC’s frequently asked questions for physicians if you have any concerns.

Once a physician has met all the requirements and obtains a Letter of Qualification from their SPL, they are able to apply for a license in any of the member states. Fortunately, physicians are able to apply for licensure through the Compact in as many member states as they need, making the Compact especially beneficial for those physicians who are working locum tenens and interested in working several assignments in different places within a short period of time.

Looking ahead

Ideally, states not currently participating in the IMLC will work toward enacting legislation that will make them member states. The pandemic taught us just how important license portability is during times of crisis. As we begin to move past the pandemic, portability will remain just as valuable. Although we witnessed firsthand over the past year how much it can impact highly populated areas such as New York, license portability can also help increase access to care in rural and underserved areas and empower physicians to make a difference where they’re needed most, when they’re needed most. IMLC legislation is changing, and LocumTenens.com will continue to keep clinicians up-to-date with those changes.

How LocumTenens.com can help physicians navigate the IMLC

Did you know the IMLC Commission receives an average of 800 questions month about how compact licenses work? This isn’t surprising, as navigating licensing requirements can be difficult and confusing. LocumTenens.com recruiters are available to assist you and answer questions throughout the entire process. Because you’ll be working with a dedicated recruiter, you’ll receive answers to all your questions much more quickly than you might otherwise, and we’ll take care of all the tedious application details so all you need to take care of is your patients.

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