It is time for consumers and patients to freely access doctors and other health care professionals no matter where they are located throughout the country. Changes in the way we live, in technology and in new developments in the practice of medicine calls for such a change. This requires a massive overhaul of our medical licensure system. The current approach, requiring health providers to obtain multiple state licenses and adhere to diverse and sometimes conflicting state medical practice rules, is a barrier to progress, quality, competition and economy. This partitioned approach also presents a concern for patient safety as state-by-state licensing and enforcement inhibits tracking down and disciplining bad doctors located in other states.
This is not just a problem affecting telemedicine. Existing practice laws in most states prohibits physicians from issuing prescriptions for their own patients if the patient happens to be located out of the state on business or on a vacation. In such cases, the patient is forced to see a local doctor to get help. Such a duplicative structure also provides a concern for patient safety as states find it impossible to access information about the local activities of a physician licensed in that state but residing in a different state.
The U.S. military and Veterans Affairs (VA) Department have already acted to fix licensure barriers. So have the European Union and many other countries. American consumers, American health providers and American taxpayers are being left behind.
ATA and other advocates of telemedicine have promoted forms of reciprocity among states. Instead, the red tape and costs have grown in recent years as states increase the paperwork and regulatory barriers that must be overcome.
We remain open to alternative approaches to resolving this problem but the time to take action is now. A comprehensive bill for all Americans is expected to be introduced in the Senate soon. ATA plans to be an active part of this process and we hope that you, too will pledge your support for change.
We encourage medical professionals, healthcare consumers and other stakeholders to show their support for a FixLicensure.org petition. The petition language is below:
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We are united in urging rapid movement toward resolving the duplicative systems for licensing doctors and other healthcare professionals in the United States. Increasingly mobile and connected consumers should not be hindered in selecting the best healthcare because of state boundaries. Likewise, healthcare systems should not be thwarted from linking specialists and clinics into an efficient and effective system of care. The patchwork of state-by-state licensing creates a mire of costly red tape and has become an untenable barrier for both providers and patients.
Resolving this problem will improve patient choice, better ensure consumer safety, cut costs and alleviate regional healthcare shortages. It will also remove a barrier to interstate commerce that restricts the growth of an important industry that helps meet bipartisan goals of health reform.
We call on Congress to fix medical licensing for 21st century America!
Signatories of this petition will be shared with Congressional leaders, State Medical Licensure Boards and Federal Healthcare agencies to show that we are united for national licensure and quality healthcare across America!
Show your support! Sign the petition now!