Physician Compact States: Making Interstate Travel Painless


One of the biggest headaches for locum tenens can be traveling between states for various assignments. With different laws, licensing, and procedures, you can often get so tangled up in red tape that it ruins the fun and freedom of traveling for work. What if there was a way that you could go through one application process, get one license, but travel between multiple states for work. Luckily, there is! Physician compact states and a physician compact give you the opportunity to do just that! No longer will you be forced to go through the application process multiple times. Instead, you can crisscross the country and enjoy life as a traveling physician. Below we’ll take a look at the physician compact states and why you should consider applying for a compact license.

Physician Compact States: Seamless Travel

What is it?

The IMLC (Interstate Licensure Medical Compact) is an agreement between 29 states, the District of Columbia and the Territory of Guam, where physicians are licensed by 43 different Medical and Osteopathic Boards. Essentially, under this agreement licensed physicians can qualify to practice medicine across state lines within the Compact if they meet the agreed-upon eligibility requirements necessary to practice. This also helps with the use of telemedicine. If physicians have their compact license, they are able to practice telemedicine and help patients in other states. This especially helps those in rural areas. Physicians might not necessarily want to move to those states to practice. However, with the help of the physician compact license, they can practice telemedicine, which will give rural patients the healthcare they deserve via video or phone calls.

physician compact states 2

How Do I Qualify?

There are a variety of requirements you need to meet before you can start traveling across the physician compact states. The first and most important requirement is that you hold an unrestricted medical license in a compact member state. This state will then be designated your SPL (State of Principal Licensure). You also must reside in that same state as well as work primarily in that state as well. Below are a few other additional eligibility requirements:

  • Have graduated from an accredited medical school, or a school listed in the International Medical Education Directory
  • Successful completion of ACGME or AOA accredited graduate medical education
  • Passed each component of the USMLE, COMLEX-USA, or equivalent in no more than three attempts
  • Hold a current specialty certification or time-unlimited certification by an ABMS or AOABOS board
  • Must not have any history of disciplinary actions toward your medical license
  • Must not have any criminal history
  • Must not have any history of controlled substance actions toward your license
  • Must not currently be under investigation

What’s the Process Like?

One of the best things about the physician compact licensure process is that it’s almost entirely online! Using the online portal, physicians can easily apply for eligibility to work in one or more different states. You will select your state, and then submit a short application where you’ll select which states you’d like to apply for. The current application fee is $700 so you should expect to pay that during the application process. Luckily, you do not have to pay the application fee each time that you want to add a new state. Your license lasts for 1 calendar year, so you can add states as much as you want within the year. Once you obtain your license, you can legally work as a traveling physician in the states that you designated. Not only are you saving time, but you’re saving money and the hassle of applying multiple times.

What’s your experience with a physician compact license? Any tips for those looking to apply? Comment below!

Author: Troy Diffenderfer

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