On June 9, 2015, Steven J. Stack, MD, FACEP, was sworn in as President of the American Medical Association (AMA). Dr. Stack recently spoke with ACEP Now Medical Editor-in-Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, about the licensing and certification challenges facing emergency physicians.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 34 – No 06 – June 2015
Dr. Kevin Klauer: I’m hearing a lot of discontent from physicians regarding licensure and being able to get licensed from one state to another. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is looking at this, and its interstate licensure compact makes a lot of sense. How does the AMA feel? Should this be a national process or state-by-state determination of participation?
Dr. Steven Stack: This is one of the joys of our federal system of government, right? It’s a state’s rights kind of issue, and at the highest level, the AMA has policy that opposes national licensure and that supports state-based licensure. Part of the premise is that this is one of the ways where the states are accountable for the safety and well-being of their citizens. State-based licensure is the way we license all professions, and so that’s not going away anytime soon.
As far as the complexity, burden, and lack of coordination across states, that has to be fixed, and there’s no reason in the modern era with all the technology we have that it shouldn’t be fixed. To that point, we support the FSMB’s work on its compacting initiative, which would simplify and streamline being able to get additional licenses in other states. So if you have a primary license, which is your main or anchor license, there’d be an expedited process to apply for licenses in other states. You would still have to pay a fee, and you would still have to complete some paperwork, but through the compact, various agreed reciprocities between states that participate, and the use of the FSMB Federation Credentials Verification Service, a lot of that information can be prepopulated, streamlined, and simplified to lower the overall burden to physicians and the overall cost and still provide for state-based oversight for the practice of medicine. We’re very supportive of the work that the FSMB is doing and have tried to partner with state medical societies to advance it so that state legislatures and state boards adopt this quickly to make it easier for physicians and so that patients have better access to docs. With the growth in telemedicine and telehealth, there is a real need to get access to scarce services to more people, and telemedicine is going to be one of the ways that probably happens.