August 4, 2023 | By Bryan Meek, Esq., Brennan, Manna, and Diamond
As telehealth has become more prominent across the country, providers have had the opportunity to practice across state lines more easily. However, most states require that providers be licensed in their state to provide care to residents in their state. Thus, while telecommunication seemingly opens up practice opportunities for providers, licensure requirements still limit this access.
Some states do have the opportunity for out-of-state providers to become licensed in their state more easily, such as through reciprocity agreements. However, the process for licensure this way can still be tedious and take a long time.
Interstate licensure compacts, which permit providers who are members of the compact to practice in “compact” states, eases the burden of obtaining licensure in multiple states by allowing providers to obtain licensure more quickly. Essentially, the provider will obtain a “multistate” license, usually with a designated home state where they reside, which will permit them to practice in other states that are a part of the compact.
There are currently many different professional compacts that exist. More of the more well-known compacts are the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact for physicians, and Nurse Licensure Compact. However, there is also a Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (“PSYPACT”), and Physical Therapy Compact, among others, including others in the works.
However, with different providers being able to practice in more states, there comes more compliance concerns for organizations. First and foremost, it will be important to keep track of which states are members of the compact for different providers. If your practice has many different provider-types, each compact will have different states participating in the compact. For example, while physicians may be able to practice in a state through their compact license, a psychologist may not be able to practice in that state through their compact license. This will need to be regularly tracked to ensure that no provider is unlawfully practicing in a state.
Further, states that are a part of the compact may have different scope of practice rules. Therefore, while a provider may be permitted to provide a service in one state, the same service may not be able to be provided in another state. State rules where providers will be seeing patients should be reviewed regularly to determine whether a particular service is appropriate for the provider’s license.
In addition, whether your practice or providers themselves are responsible for obtaining malpractice insurance, it will need to be confirmed whether the insurance covers professional services conducted in other states. If not, additional coverage will need to be obtained to protect both the providers and the practice for services provided in those states.
The number of existing interstate licensure compacts may continue to grow, so it is best practice for those in charge of licensure and compliance to be cognizant of the states in which their providers are practicing, along with any state-specific requirements.
If you have any further questions regarding interstate licensure compacts, please contact Brennan, Manna & Diamond Healthcare & Employment Partner Bryan Meek at email@example.com or Associate Rachel Stermer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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