The idea of tapping into technology to expand delivery of medical care to a wider base of American citizens is not new. Many in the industry, including insurance companies, have understood the potential benefits of creating such infrastructure.
Those with experience in this area know that wrangling the technology and making it scale to the size needed to match demand is one hurdle that has held things up. Another one is the issue of extending doctor and nurse licensing to support interstate practice. As we noted in a previous post, this is something that has been a focus of lawmakers for a long time. Last year it became a reality.
Making it possible
What happened is that Wisconsin joined the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. The IMLC is a joint initiative that involves more than 20 states. Under the agreement, doctors and nurses who wish to practice within the compact states can get that clearance if they show they meet eligibility requirements.
Under the pact, doctors and nurses with primary licensure in Wisconsin are able to leverage their information to seek approval to practice in any of the other states. Previously, they would have had to file their credentials individually in each state. The process is streamlined.
Proponents say the removal of barriers should improve access to medical care by expanding the number of doctors and nurses available in rural areas and for service through telemedicine.
Clearly, membership in the compact creates opportunity for care providers and patients alike. However, the expansion of licensure could also increase the need for doctors and nurses to defend against complaints that threaten their ability to practice. To mitigate such concerns, consulting an attorney with specific skill in both health care and health care law would be wise.