Interstate Medical License: 10 Steps To Get It

Last updated Apr 26, 2021 | Published on Apr 26, 2021

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact is an arrangement made between the participating states in the United States to expedite the licensing process for physicians seeking to practice medicine in multiple states. Initially, the process was designed for doctors, but it is also applicable to nurses and physical therapists.

Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) was introduced in 2014 and became operational in 2017, intending to increase accessibility to health care for patients in rural or underserved areas. The Compact makes it easier for physicians to obtain licenses in IMLC states and strengthens public security by increasing the states’ ability to share investigative and disciplinary data.

Currently, the Compact includes 29 states, the District of Columbia and the Territory of Guam. Participation is voluntary and not linked to any certification maintenance.

Table of Content:

Who Should Get It, and Why?

IMLC was designed to bring down the growing physician shortages, particularly in the underserved and rural areas. Hence, by expediting the licensing process for the physicians, patient access to healthcare is increased in multiple states through telemedicine and improved patient care through virtual services.

Many physicians and locum organizations use the Compact. It is easier for them to quickly get a license through the Compact and respond to the assigned task. The Compact also gives them the flexibility and portability that they wouldn’t necessarily get otherwise. In short, Compact does help physicians and companies.

Physicians, physical therapists, primary care providers, etc., who would like to take their career to the next level as locum tenens would benefit greatly through this licensure. Physicians located on the borders of two states can offer care to the patients in both states by applying through IMLC. Physicians who wish to serve in rural areas or hospitals and provide treatment can also apply for the licensure.

IMLC provides a variety of options and choices for career growth, and telemedicine is one of the tools that enable access to the providers and the life-altering care they provide.

How Can Your Career Benefit From Having This?

IMLC creates an opportunity for physicians, which they can use to advance and develop their careers. The licensing process helps fast-track a physician’s success by giving access to the states where the physician may not have practiced before. A physician can grab the opportunity to work or select a place where they want to work.

The IMLC creates options that allow the physicians to take advantage of the rapidly changing opportunities. Since telemedicine has become mainstream and widely accepted, people are also comfortable getting or finding care through telemedicine. About 60% of the IMLC applicants are reported to be practicing through telemedicine.

Physicians can take advantage of the expanding coverage through telehealth and ensure the continuation of patient care.

How To Apply For A Compact License?

If you fulfill or self-determine the eligibility criteria to participate in the Compact, the online application process is simple, and a few documents would be required. You must also submit your fingerprints to your SPL state, and they will do a background check. If everything is amenable, they will send a Letter of Qualification to you.

To apply, go to the application page, and fill up the Initial Application Form. Ensure to provide the e-mail address that you frequently monitor since they will send all the Compact-related notifications to you.

Follow the steps to become a Compact participant:

  1. Prequalify Yourself:  Confirm you are eligible since Compact fees are non-refundable. If you are unsure of the eligibility criteria, visit Compact Eligibility Requirements.
  2. Apply:  If you believe you are eligible, start the application process by going to the application page and clicking on the “Go to License Application” button.
  3. Select SPL:  You will have to select your State of Principal License (SPL). The SPL must be one of the states among 29 states participating in the Compact because they will be processing your initial application.
  4. Application Fee:  You must pay a non-refundable application fee of $700.00. You can pay The Compact fee through a credit card. They will send the receipt of your payment to your e-mail.
  5. Complete Application Form:  You must complete a short application form to participate in the Compact.
  6. Fingerprint:  Once the SPL receives your application, they will contact you and ask for fingerprints. The fingerprints will be used for background verification for any criminal records nationally. You will be given 60 days to obtain and submit your fingerprints. The designated SPL may take several weeks for the verification process to review your training and other qualifications, questioning data banks, and completing the background check.
  • If you don’t qualify, you will get a notification via e-mail, and you may discuss with the SPL the reason for ineligibility.
  • If you qualify, you will get a notification via e-mail along with a link. You must download the Letter of Qualification (LOQ) and choose the state licenses you would like to obtain. Must bear in mind that you will get licenses from states that participate in the Compact.
  1. State-License Fees:  You will have to pay an additional fee for the state you will select for the license. Visit the page “How Much Does It Cost” for fee structures for participating states.
  2. Transactions:  Once you make payments, it will direct you to the page “DocuSign” to complete the transactions.
  3. Receive Your Licenses:  The states you selected will issue your licenses, and this process usually takes a few days.
  4. Additional Information:  After issuing the license to a physician who holds a LOQ, the state medical board may request additional ancillary information. It may be required as per their medical practice act and operations. The license holder will have to fulfill this request since failing to provide may result in stringent actions by the issuing board, which may also lead to the cancellation of the license.

Cost of Participation

You will be required to pay the participation fee of $700.00 and an additional fee for the license(s) in any Compact state where you desire to practice. All the fees are non-refundable.

Check the eligibility criteria before applying since the application fee won’t be refunded if found to be ineligible after starting the application process.

In What Ways Has COVID Impacted, And Why It’s Even More Important Now Than Before?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there had been disruption of health services partially or completely throughout the world and canceled many planned procedures. Many people, who needed treatment for heart disease, diabetes, kidney issues, cancer, etc., have not received proper health care services and medicines.

To combat COVID-19, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had issued a regulation that all doctors and medical professionals will be allowed to practice across state lines to meet hospital requirements with limited cross-state privileges. It also allowed the physicians to conduct telehealth consults with patients residing in states where doctors aren’t licensed.

Therefore, finding innovative ways to provide care and treatment has become vital for non-communicable diseases, and medical staff members are reassigned to support either partially or fully.

The declaration of emergency nationally and in numerous US states mobilized many physicians to volunteer for in-person care and practice remotely via telehealth. The expanded access to interstate medical practice also benefited many patients through virtual visits.

Data also shows that people with NCDs are more susceptible to becoming seriously ill with the virus, yet many people cannot receive treatment to manage their diseases. It is essential to determine innovative ways to implement health care plans for people living with NCDs and strengthen healthcare services to prevent, diagnose, and provide care under any circumstances in the future.

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