Gov. Walker signs law speeding up licensing for out-of-state doctors

Law makes process for licensing out-of-state doctors faster

Out-of-state doctors will have an easier time treating patients after a Wisconsin bill was signed into law Monday.
Both hospitals in our area are welcoming the change.

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law today at Mayo Clinic Health System in Sparta that enters Wisconsin into what’s called the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. Speeding up the licensing process for out-of-state doctors looking to practice in the state.

With new technology always evolving, doctors can now communicate with patients across state lines with a simple push of a button.

“The doctor doesn’t have to travel back and forth, so doctors can see a lot more patients, from a lot broader geographic area from the convenience of their own clinic, their own office,” said Dr. Tim Johnson, CEO of the southwest Wisconsin region of the Mayo Health System.

Currently doctors must be licensed in each individual state they are practicing. Earning that license can be a lengthy process.

“It can take anywhere between two months and six months, depending on the physician and where they are coming from,” said David Campbell, manager of the Sparta Gundersen Clinic. “

The new law signed by Walker today allows doctors to be licensed more efficiently across state lines, allowing doctors to use telemedicine more often.

“What the compact allows, is that if you are licensed in one state, and that state is a member of the compact, for all intents and purposes, you are licensed in all of the states in the compact,” said Johnson.

“(The licensing process) will be down into a matter of weeks, maybe a month, so we’re cutting down the time immensely,” said Campbell.

Cutting down the licensing time also makes it easier to attract more doctors to the state, giving patients in Wisconsin more access to better health care.

“It will allow us to get physicians in here quicker and easier, which we think will be good not just when they are here, but I think it’s just one more step in helping to recruit good primary care physicians,” said Walker.

“Access is always an issue for our patients, so the quicker we get a new physician on staff, the patients can then be seeing that physician,” said Campbell.

The bi-partisan bill passed both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature earlier this year on a near unanimous vote. Only one no vote was cast in each the Senate and the Assembly.

Wisconsin joins 11 other states in the compact, including Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.