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Medical Licensing Compacts Backgrounder

Medical Licensing Compacts Backgrounder

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Published by CSGovts
The cost of health care in the United States has grown an average of 2.4 percent faster than the gross domestic product since 1970 and now represents 18 percent of the total GDP, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. One challenge contributing significantly to these costs is access to health care in hard-to-serve locations. A possible solution to the challenge of providing medical services in hard-to-serve locations is a series of medical licensing compacts intended to reduce existing barriers to the process of gaining licensure in multiple states.
The cost of health care in the United States has grown an average of 2.4 percent faster than the gross domestic product since 1970 and now represents 18 percent of the total GDP, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. One challenge contributing significantly to these costs is access to health care in hard-to-serve locations. A possible solution to the challenge of providing medical services in hard-to-serve locations is a series of medical licensing compacts intended to reduce existing barriers to the process of gaining licensure in multiple states.

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Published by: CSGovts on Oct 28, 2013
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11/21/2013

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Medical Licensing Compacts Backgrounder
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CAPITOL
RESEARCH
INTERSTATE COMPACTS
 THE COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS
The cost o health care in the United States has grown anaverage o 2.4 percent aster than the gross domestic prod-uct since 1970 and now represents 18 percent o the totalGDP, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Onechallenge contributing signifcantly to these costs is accessto health care in hard-to-serve locations.Problems accessing care is especially common in ruralareas. According to the American Academy o Family Physi-cians, 21 percent o the U.S. population lives in rural areas,but only 11 percent o medical specialists practice in thoseareas. The group notes that because o this disparity, patientsin these areas are requently dramatically undeserved. Thesepatients oten do not have access to the latest research, scien-tiic breakthroughs and medicine because o where they live.Missed appointments and incomplete care can contribute toescalating health care costs.Experts expect this problem to worsen as the popula-tion grows and ages and the number o insured Americansseeking health services increases as a result o the PatientProtection and Aordable Care Act. Research publishedby the Annals o Family Medicine estimate the UnitedStates will need an additional 52,000 primary care physi-cians by 2025 to keep up with growing demands on thehealth care system.One possible solution is a series o medical licens-ing compacts intended to reduce existing barriers to theprocess o gaining licensure in multiple states. This hasthe potential to help acilitate telemedicine—the use o technology to aid in the delivery o medical services acrosslong distances—and widen access to a variety o medicalservices in underserved areas o the nation as the Aord-able Care Act is implemented. Licensing compacts alsoprovide a mechanism to ensure state regulatory agenciesmaintain their licensing and disciplinary authority, while si-multaneously providing a ramework to share inormationand processes essential to licensing and regulation across avariety o medical proessions.
Interstate Compacts as a Solution
Interstate compacts oer one approach to achieve thesegoals, and in turn, improve access to health care throughtelehealth. Compacts are unique tools reserved or statesthat encourage multistate cooperation and innovativepolicy solutions while asserting and preserving statesovereignty.Compacts, which are governed by the tenets o contractlaw, give states an enorceable, sustainable and durabletool capable o ensuring permanent change without ed-eral intervention. With more than 215 interstate compactsin existence today and each state belonging to an averageo 25 compacts, there is considerable legal and historicalprecedence or the development and use o the tool.Several existing compacts deal specifcally with licensingissues. Compacts such as the
 and the
provide precedence ormember states to honor licenses issued in another memberstate. For these reasons, a variety o medical proessionsare considering interstate compacts as a tool to breakdown existing barriers to multi-state practice.
Ongoing Medical Licensing Compact Work
 
EMS Licensure Compact
CSG, through its National Center or InterstateCompacts, has been working with the National Associa-tion o State EMS Ofcials to explore a multi-state EMSlicensure compact. It is becoming more common or EMSpersonnel to cross state lines to provide services in a statein which they are not technically licensed and do not enjoylegal recognition. Drating or this is well underway. Com-

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