Private Organizations, Big Health Groups Push for Interstate Medical Licensure, Reports Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

Mar 14, 2016, 13:12 ET from Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

TUCSON, Ariz., March 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than a dozen state legislatures are considering the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, ostensibly to improve patient access to high-tech telemedicine and ease the physician shortage, reports the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). Under the Compact, physicians could obtain a license in all member states. The powerful organizations pushing the bills, however, apparently have a different motive.

The Compact is the creation of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), a private, tax-exempt corporation that brings in $50 million per year selling physicians "products and services" that they need only because state medical boards require them, writes Paul Martin Kempen, M.D., Ph.D., in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Its original purpose was to develop, in collaboration with specialty boards, standards for training new physicians. However, Dr. Kempen writes, "FSMB has now become part of a lucrative industry that imposes significant expense without value onto patients and practicing physicians."

Recently, FSMB and specialty boards have been pushing states to mandate their proprietary Maintenance of Certification® program that puts younger physicians on a lifelong treadmill to maintain what was previously (and still is, for "grandfathered" physicians) a lifelong board certification. This has met significant resistance because it is tremendously expensive in time and money and perceived to be of little or no value for patient care, states AAPS.

The Compact appears to be a backdoor to required MOC®, AAPS states, despite FSMB's protestations to the contrary: being board certified is part of the Compact definition of "physician." About one-quarter of U.S. practicing physicians are not physicians by this definition, AAPS notes.

Dr. Kempen documents connections through which FSMB influences state medical boards to require its products and push for the Compact.

In the same issue of the Journal Jeremy Snavely writes that "organizations registering their support of the Compact with the Arizona Legislature are a 'Who's Who' of the medical-industrial complex." Instead of helping patients receive care from a physician of choice, the Compact could instead help big organizations force patients to use physicians in their telemedicine network, Snavely suggests.

Snavely details reasons why many states have rejected the Compact, including its threat to state sovereignty.

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.


SOURCE Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)