Lobbying groups that represent Kansas doctors are urging legislators to join a multi-state medical licensing agreement.
Kansas would join 12 other states that have approved the agreement, which would streamline the process for a physician licensed to practice medicine in one state to get licensed in other states in the compact.
Officials from the Kansas Medical Society, which represents medical doctors, say the agreement would be especially beneficial for Kansas doctors who practice telemedicine with out-of-state patients.
“The interstate medical licensure compact provides an avenue to utilize technology and resources to deliver health care efficiently and safely, and ensures that regardless of where the physician resides, Kansas patients will receive the highest standard of care,” Rachelle Colombo, the medical society’s director of government affairs, said in written testimony submitted to the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Colombo said the majority of Kansas physicians already are licensed in multiple states, and the compact would make it easier for them to expand their practices without seeking more burdensome federal licensure.
The Kansas Board of Healing Arts, which regulates medical licenses, and the Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine also support the licensure compact in House Bill 2456.
Kathleen Selzler Lippert, executive director of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, called the compact “states’ rights on steroids.”
“It allows physicians to practice medicine where they want, when they want, how they want,” she said.
Lippert also said the compact has strong protections for health care consumers. Complaints against compact physicians who practice in multiple states would be handled by the licensing board of the state or states in which the patients related to the complaints resides.
“It allows Kansans to hold physicians accountable,” she said.
Physicians in the compact would have to carry the highest standard of medical malpractice insurance required by any one state in the compact.
State licensing boards in the compact are required to report discipline and investigations against a physician to an interstate commission, which will maintain a database of such actions.
Boards may conduct joint investigations, and if physicians’ licenses are suspended or revoked in their primary states, the same thing would happen in others.
Several legislators on the House committee seemed receptive to joining the compact during a Monday hearing.
Rep. Jim Kelly, a Republican from Independence, said southeast Kansas faces a shortage of medical care worsened by a recent hospital closure, and more telemedicine and interstate practice would be a boon to the region.
“It’s a real key piece of legislation when you sit on the border,” Kelly said.
No one at the hearing spoke against the bill.