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The American Board of Physician Specialties® Urges States to Reject the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

The American Board of Physician Specialties® remains steadfast in its rejection of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and strongly encourages states to consider the potential ramifications of enactment. Developed as a result of a close partnership between the Federation of State Medical Boards and the American Board of Medical Specialties, the Compact will create a private national commission that has the authority to expedite the licensure of physicians. At the ABPS, we have fundamental concerns about the power that this legislation provides to this new Commission, and are troubled that as of March 2017, 18 states have already agreed to enact the policy change.

Nearly everyone can agree that, in today’s modern healthcare environment, it needs to be easier for physicians to have access to their patients. In principle, the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact creates a path for physicians to streamline the licensure process across several states, which – in theory – would make it easier for physicians to reach rural areas and cross state lines to treat their patients. However, the problem with the Compact is its definition of a physician. Specifically, the Compact indicates that eligible physicians must hold “specialty certification or a time-unlimited specialty certificate recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties® or the American Osteopathic Association’s Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists®.”

This narrow definition explicitly excludes Diplomates of the American Board of Physician Specialties®, which is a short-sighted decision that greatly limits the accessibility of highly trained and experienced, board-certified physicians who met or exceeded national standards of excellence in order to become board certified. In effect, the Compact categorically rejects the long-established standard for physician certification, which has included the ABMS, the AOABOS, and the ABPS equally for decades.

Competition in the healthcare industry is important. It helps drive innovation, improves the quality of physician care, and improves efficiency. The Compact inhibits competition, which is not in the long-term interest of the American healthcare system.

We strongly encourage citizens to contact their elected officials and request that they do not support the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.