Point of Care: Interstate Licensing
Cross-state Licensing is Critical for NETCCN Covid-19 Deployments
🗓 Posted October 11, 2021 by Carol O. Rogers, Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) Co-director
Telehealth visits escalated during the early and worst days of the pandemic during the spring and summer of 2020. And many states, along with the CDC, temporarily waived the rules requiring clinicians to hold a valid license in the state where their patient is located. This would all seem to make the most common of sense. But by summer of 2021, some states rolled back those waivers, just as the Delta variant was causing surges in many states. As the National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network (NETCCN) provides surge support where requested across the country, the issue of licensing has now become a stress point. Medical licensing among doctors, nurses and other medical professionals has long been a state-run activity. With the advent of telemedicine and the ability to connect patients in one location with a doctor who might be tens or hundreds or thousands of miles distant, the need for flexibility as well as changes from state-only to cross-state licensing agreements has risen to the forefront. There are state compacts as well as waivers that allow for cross-state medical care by licensed professionals, but it can be difficult to keep up with changing laws, regulations, and waivers. We’ve conducted some initial research into websites from credible organizations that provide current information on these compacts, agreements, and waivers and have curated an annotated list of resources that provide information on the current state of affairs.
List of Current Resources for Cross-State Medical Licensing
Health and Human Services (HHS): The federal government has taken steps to make providing and receiving care through telehealth easier. These are temporary measures under the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration.
Legal Considerations: A summary from HHS (not all inclusive).
Center for Connected Health Policy: State-by-state lookup for cross-state licensing laws from the Center for Connected Health Policy, part of the National Telehealth Policy Resource Center project funded by the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, Health Resources, and Services Administration, DHHS. Also see: The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers (NCTRC) website.
Interstate Medical Licensure Compact: A voluntary, expedited pathway to licensure for qualified physicians who wish to practice in multiple states.
The Nurse Licensure Compact: Authorizes eligible nurses to practice across multiple member states while maintaining a single license.
Federation of State Medical Boards: This resource (updated October 6, 2021 as of this writing) documents the states that are modifying their requirements for telehealth in response to Covid-19.
American Medical Association: Cross-state licensing process now live in 30 states according to AMA.
Rural Health Information Hub: Legal considerations for implementing telehealth program in rural communities, where access to health care is challenging on the best of days.