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 June 2018, 22 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.

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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

Board certification through the American Board of Physician Specialties has served to substantiate my interest and additional training in several fields of medicine including Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, and Administrative Medicine. As a result, I have been able to serve my community in clinical, disaster response, and administrative medicine roles. Through the ABPS, I have become recognized as a leader in my various fields of interest.

Spencer Price MD, MPH, MBA
Internal Medicine, Disaster Medicine, Administrative Medicine
BCEM certification through ABPS has provided me with many opportunities. It has helped me demonstrate that I have special experience and expertise in Emergency Medicine beyond that obtained through my family medicine training. BCEM certification firmly established me as an emergency medicine specialist once I started working in emergency medicine full time. ABPS has also helped me network with other family physicians with a passion for improving rural and underserved emergency medicine practice.

Alex Beuning, MD, FAAEP
Emergency Medicine
Personal challenge and motivation compelled me to pass my ABPS board exam. Measurement and confirmation of my own knowledge base reinforced my self-confidence. The ABPS, with its history of inclusivity, has allowed me to have a voice in the organization, while permitting me to impact overall national patient safety and care through certification. Participation in exam development afforded me the opportunity to witness the rigorousness of the exam process and psychometrically sound product, while developing meaningful collegiality, professional life enrichment, and warding off burn out.

Elizabeth Maxwell-Schmidt MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine