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Public Statements

Letter to Dr. Chaudhry and Dr. Talmage - Develop Medical Licensure Portability Proposal

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today led a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). The letter encourages the development of a comprehensive system that allows states to retain control of medical licensure and ensure the safety of patients while allowing physicians portability of their license to practice outside of their licensing state. Multi-state medical licensure is a critical component of advancing the use of telehealth technology that can result in lower health care costs and improved care. Joining Thune in sending this letter were Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

FSMB, the national association representing the 70 medical and osteopathic boards of the United States and its territories, has received several grants in recent years from the Department of Health and Human Services to study licensure portability. The letter encourages FSMB to leverage these resources to develop a proposal that satisfies the variety of complex issues associated with licensure portability.

"Licensure portability is particularly important in a rural state like South Dakota where many hospitals rely on telehealth technology to ensure citizens have access to the very best medical care," said Thune. "In South Dakota, telehealth makes it easier for physicians to see patients outside the state but within their employer's health care network; however, without a way to more efficiently license physicians across state lines, telehealth advancement is hindered. I applaud FSMB for their work on this issue so far, and encourage them to find a solution that will work in South Dakota and across the country to address the complex issue of medical licensure."

Portability of medical licensure is also important for spouses of military personnel. In December of 2012, Kimberley Thune and Barb Johnson together penned an op-ed encouraging the state of South Dakota to address licensure portability for military spouses. Governor Daugaard brought a bill before the South Dakota legislature (SB 117), which was passed unanimously out of both chambers and was signed into law on March 6, 2013, that provides expedited consideration of a license held by a spouse of a military member stationed in our state.

The text of the Senators' letter is below:

_

March 13, 2013

Humayun Chaudhry, DO, FACP
President and CEO
Federation of State Medical Boards
400 Fuller Wiser Road, Suite 300
Euless, TX 76039

Lance A. Talmage, MD
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Federation of State Medical Boards
400 Fuller Wiser Road, Suite 300
Euless, TX 76039

Dear Dr. Chaudhry and Dr. Talmage,

We write to applaud the efforts of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) on the work you are doing in examining solutions that would allow for more efficient sharing of medical licensure information that is necessary for the advancement of telehealth technology.

Like you, we are committed to the advancement of telehealth technology. We believe telehealth technology will play a pivotal role in health care delivery for generations to come, particularly in rural areas. Unfortunately, the absence of a way to more efficiently license physicians across state lines or share licensure information hinders progress in telehealth.

The advancement of telehealth technology is at an important juncture, and a solution to licensure portability is a critical part of continuing this advancement. We believe that the solution can be found if leaders in the area of physician licensure like the FMSB are willing to work with Congress and other relevant stakeholders on developing proposals that capitalize on expertise that already exists in the private sector.

We understand FSMB has been the recipient of three grants from the United States Department of Health and Human Services to study license portability, and we hope that FSMB can leverage these resources to develop a proposal that satisfies the myriad of complex issues associated with licensure portability.

Moving forward, we would like to work with your organization on the development of portable medical licensure programs that would further improve and advance telehealth. As you continue your work and develop proposals, we would like to be kept apprised of your work and work with you as you explore possible solutions to licensure portability.

Sincerely,

Senator John Thune
Senator Tom Carper
Senator Lamar Alexander
Senator Tim Johnson
Senator John Barrasso
Senator Mike Enzi
Senator James Inhofe
Senator Roger Wicker


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